Saturday, 16 February 2019

Postponement of Elections Unacceptable..Ebun Adegboruwa

In the dead of the night when most Nigerians were asleep, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, announced the postponement of the general elections earlier scheduled for February 16 and March 2, 2019. This is totally unacceptable, for several reasons.

First, INEC should not have waited till the dying minutes before announcing the postponement, since it was well aware of all its handicaps long before now.

Second, the cost of this postponement is too humongous for the nation. All schools have been shut and pupils and students sent home compulsorily, with the attendant cost to the parents in traveling expenses. All the nation’s borders had been closed, resulting in huge economic losses. Movement of persons and vehicles had been restricted such that even after the postponement, most people still remained indoors. It became a forced holiday.

Third, election observers had arrived from their various countries and destinations and so many ad hoc personnel of INEC, especially the hapless youth Corps members, had been deployed to various locations. Many of them slept in the open, without any arrangement for their comfort and welfare.

Fourth, many Nigerians took the pains to travel to their various places of domicile, where they registered, in order to be able to exercise their civic rights, to participate in the elections, spending money and time for this purpose.

Fifth, the National Calendar had been adjusted to fit into this day, on account of several assurances from INEC, even as of yesterday, that the elections will hold as scheduled. It has imposed a National frustration, upon the citizens.

The responsibility for the postponement of this election goes to the government and INEC, for this global embarrassment to our nation. It has portrayed us in the eyes of the international community as unserious. That is why the National Assembly must step in to demand a comprehensive audit of INEC, and inaugurate a commission of inquiry to probe the real causes of the postponement.

The postponement has unwittingly eroded the credibility of the elections and the capacity of INEC, in spite of the huge resources committed to it and the length of time available for planning and logistics.

It is against all the above and many more reasons that I find the postponement of the elections as unacceptable.

Nonetheless, I appeal to all Nigerians to be patient and give room for a proper election at the times rescheduled for it by INEC. No sacrifice should be too great for us as a people, in order to get our to the destination of our dreams, whilst we await the immediate action of the National Assembly on this clear act of gross incompetence.

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