Election Postponement: Counting The Cost, Against Backdrop Of APC’s Famed Frugality

The Oasis Reporters

February 16, 2019

Professor Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman.

One constant refrain of the criticism against the former People’s Democratic Party, PDP government is the accusation of being spendthrift and corrupt, even without sufficient or substantial proof in the court of law.
In 2015, Nigerians decided to vote out the PDP government in favour of the General Buhari image and perception of fighting corruption, being frugal and having integrity.

Four years after, Nigerians have seen the difference between the APC and the PDP and therefore many of them have decided to vote General Muhammadu Buhari out, in favour of Atiku Abubakar, of the PDP.
Barely four hours before the commencement of the voting procedure, and as the nation slept, a jolting announcement was made by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the nation’s Electoral umpire that the commission had decided to postpone the vote, owing to logistics reasons. This was an election they had a clear three and a half years to prepare for.

Tega had prepared to wed his heartthrob, Eduvie in Warri, Delta State on a Saturday closest to Valentine day, which fell on February 16, before the INEC proclaimed that day as presidential and National Assembly election day. He dutifully shifted the wedding to the next available Saturday which would be February 23, 2019. Now the electoral commission has postponed the election to that same day, whereas Tega had already printed cards, booked hotel rooms for guests and paid upfront for the reception hall that one has to book for, months in advance. All his plans are now in dire financial jeopardy.

“For those telling us that Buhari is a frugal manager of Nigeria’s resources, can you tell us how much was wasted by this postponement? “, queries a social media commentator.

He went on further to ask, “How much did Nigeria lose as a result of closing down the country since 3PM on Friday?
Has the INEC staff in charge of this failed logistics been arrested for sabotaging the peaceful transition of government in Nigeria?

“For those who cry that our political climate is saturated with money and over monetized, can you tell us the financial implication of this on politicians and their political parties that had mobilized polling agents and booths to the 774 LGAs in Nigeria?”

Another commentator writes in response to the calls for the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu to resign, “ he has acted within the confines of the law, that’s true.
But how sensible are the confines when people’s sensibilities and economy are not being seen as factors ?

INEC knew that they would resort to this tactic to save Buhari from a disgraceful outing. Foreigners had flown in from all over the world to Nigeria as Election Observers and Reporters. They allowed them to come in first and deploy staff. Four hours to the election they came for, it was abruptly postponed.
Should the foreigners fly back home and come back after one week, or stay in the country for an extra week while canceling all other engagements ?

What about Nigerians who traveled back to their stations to vote in various states where they registered, should they extend their stay or come back never to vote again ?

Consider it. Think of the extra costs. Nigeria is still in the doldrums of inefficiency because failed officials are not being sanctioned or held accountable”, he added.

“My Constituency has 145 polling units and I know that our party’s polling agents accredited by INEC received their transport money yesterday by 9 PM and late at night. INEC, like a thief in the night, postponed the election”, continued the first commentator.

How much does it cost Nigeria, to have a soldier on the road? Or to fly election materials ahead of schedule and now, to pay security men to safeguard them or fly them back to Abuja? Now they will be on the road till next week or will they be demobilized and re-mobilized close to next weekend?
How about the school children?

Some people had shifted their socio-religious engagements from today to next week, only for INEC to force them to postpone again!
Who bears these cost?
All these equal to; a country that does not run on budget and planning”!

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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