While Nigerians and the international communities were prepared and ready to ensure a free, fair and credible elections are conducted throughout the nation-Nigeria, especially, the Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled by the Independent national Electoral Commission-herein after referred to as INEC-, to hold on the 16ht day of February, 2019, then, came the shock by INEC’s announcement of the postponement of the said elections to the 23rd day of February, 2019, with a week extension likewise with a week extension for the gubernatorial, House of Assembly and the Federal Capital Territory Area Councils’ elections. This postponement has generated a lot of disappointment and dismay in the electorates some of whom have sacrificed their: time, resources, among others in order for the elections to take place. I am with the humble appeal to Nigerians not to allow any cause for alarm.
Definitely, the said postponement is without its negative impacts in Nigerians, Nigeria and the international communities. For instance, some electorates have traveled from one location to another in order to cast their votes. Movements across Nigeria have been restricted earlier and all ceremonies have been put on hold and or postponed such as wedding ceremonies, and some other official ceremonies. Students across educational levels too have been given few days holidays for perhaps fear of post-election likely violence. Accredited individuals both domestic and international too have expended a lot of finances and other resources in readiness and preparation for the conducts of the elections. Now that the elections have ben postponed, then, some persons and political parties would have to suffer in one way or the other.
Also, it was expected that INEC would have had adequate deliberations in the scheduling and conducts of the elections. I also feel disappointed at INEC for the late decision to postpone the elections. At least, two-days’ notice would have saved some costs and efforts. I understand that INEC would not be happy with this decision of postponement too, notwithstanding, INEC for subsequent elections should be futuristic, proactive and sensitive in the conducts of elections.
Nevertheless the negative impacts, I humbly appeal to Nigerians not to be discouraged from electing the leader or candidate of their own choice. Franchise is their constitutional right. They should not give in to any reason to avoid voting on the postponed date. There should be no vote buying, voter’s card commercialization by selling, etc.. There should be no violence, destruction of lives and property-whether those of government or privately owned.
I equally wish that INEC would extend the time for Nigerians who have not collected their Permanent Voter’s Cards to do so either with three days or two days’’ extension.
Finally, I urge Nigerians and all persons involved in the conducts of free, fair and credible elections in one way or the other not to be discouraged. We should strategise more in ensuring free, fair and credible elections. We all should not allow any cause for alarm in the interest of Nigerian development and democracy. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria, God bless Nigerians!