We are in the future and it is Saturday November 5th 2016. The US Federal Election Commission (FEC) Directors are currently engaged in heated debates with the US government, major electoral parties in the US and other relevant stakeholders, discussing the need to postpone the forthcoming elections scheduled for November 8th 2016. Perhaps at this time, Russia may have been extremely dissatisfied with the US government’s meddling with its affairs in Ukraine and reignited another Cold War – Cold War II, causing a strain on the US government’s resources and serious security concerns to the general US public; or perhaps, the strain is propelled because the threat posed by ISIS has increased to unprecedented heights. Consequently these developments would lead the FEC to postpone the presidential elections by six weeks, with the FEC citing security concerns as a reason for doing so. Now wake up!!! Bad dream right?
This was how I felt when I learnt of the postponement of our presidential elections. Some might say, “This is Naija, what do you expect?” Well the truth is I had hoped for better. I woke up that morning convinced that the outcome of the meeting would be a rebuttal of the rumour which had gathered momentum 72 hours prior. Even as the meeting commenced, I boasted in discussions saying “Shame will prevent us from postponing these elections”. Hours later, shock and horror! – not only did the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, Attahiru Jega, postpone the elections, he also gave the flimsy excuse of security concerns being an issue. To add salt to injury, you just had to have read the publications on the Nigerian Vanguard Newspaper on Sunday, February 8th to comprehend the complete mismanagement of the electoral process not just under Jega’s stewardship of INEC, but also under the incumbent administration. In other parts of the world, these allegations would have been a gross indictment on all responsible for the preparedness of the elections; heads would have been sacked, replacements put in place within hours and a thorough investigation conducted immediately, hitherto the peacock prances proudly.
Furthermore, in a CNN interview, a week prior to the announcement of the postponed elections, the Nigerian Ambassador to US, Professor Adebowale Adefuye, refuted the CNN reporter’s claim of insecurity in the all of North-eastern Nigeria citing that there are 774 local government areas in Nigeria and 10 or less local government areas were in the control of Boko Haram. Hence there was no reason for the elections not to take place, after all provisions had been made for displaced individuals to vote. Yet we are being told now that insecurity was the reason for postponing the elections. Let’s assume, for a brief moment, that insecurity was the reason for the postponement and that the allegations of gross mismanagement was not – i.e. let’s assume that INEC was 100% ready. Did it not occur to our leaders that even Afghanistan and Iraq conducted elections despite their current plight? Do our leaders actually observe the developments in other parts of the world before making decisions? Better still, do we have no shame?
Some may not agree but to postpone a presidential election that should be planned for four years prior is laughable and unforgiveable for whatever reason. I sincerely pray that the elections hold on March 28th because after all, “This is Naija”.
P.s: My heart goes out to all those couples who would have preferred to have had their weddings on February 14th but instead have been robbed off such a beautiful date. Perhaps in four years’ time our government will do well to stay clear from February 14th.