2019 Nigerian general election postponement: The popular reactions and fears of Nigerians

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – On Saturday, February 16, 2019, many Nigerians woke up to the news that the Nigerian general election that was to commence that morning has been postponed. This last minute move by the election organising agency in Nigeria INEC made a lot of them unhappy.

The popular pains and fears of the people surround the following issues:

Misleading voters

Owing to the law that voters can only vote where they registered for their voter’s card, a lot of voters have had to travel out of the city or district where they reside and work to enable them participate in the polls.

Now, with the postponement of the election till next weekend just few hours before people were to come out to vote, a lot of them have to decide between travelling back down and returning to vote next weekend again or staying put till then. Of which, this will either mean a lot of expense and absence from the things they have left behind.

Disappointing local businesses

Several local businesses had geared up to rake in a lot of sales during the polls, especially food vendors. A lot of these people have had much confidence that election would hold as scheduled. They anticipated a heavy inflow of people into their respective areas, so they prepared adequately.

They increased production level and quantity in anticipation, only to be met with the disappointing news of election postponement. That means they are very likely to have lots of unsold food and this might amount outrightly to significant waste and loss.

An opportunity for election rigging

The popular opinion out here about the postponement of the election is that certain political powers and interests are at play trying to facilitate series of secret election rigging schemes.

The two major political parties in the country All Progressives Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are suspected to be the ones pulling the strings. This makes sense since the main players in the national governance belong to or support either of these parties.

Incompetent INEC leadership

Poor planning and preparation for the election is the logical reason why the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has failed to hold the election as initially scheduled.

In a society where high ethic and moral are strongly demanded from leadership, the leaders at INEC should be stripped of their office immediately with available legal means or allowed to resign honourably.

According to a recent report, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the electoral commission, officially highlights bad weather and logistics, as well as law suits against the commission as reasons for the postponement of the election. But he makes no mention of a likelihood of incompetence and sabotage among the ranks of officials at the commission, even if Nigerians are claiming that the whole thing was a result of collection of bribes and political partisanship by official of the commission.

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