The recent postponement of the 2019 general election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is a gross institutional failure, just as the judicial and educational institutions, among others have failed Nigerians. It will now take a 1993, June 12 like election, for Nigerians to believe in whatever result INEC has to offer.
Six month ago, INEC had claimed to be ready for the 2019 elections with a budget of over #235.5 billion of which a whooping sum of #85 billion was allocated to logistics . Yet, about 48 hours to the postponement, we all thought this was justifiable when viral pictures of aircraft carrying materials to be used for election were circulated on the internet; Nigerians hopes were heighten once again for a peaceful march into the February election, but this was soon cut short by INEC. It started as a rumour with many Nigerians castigating Sahara Reporters and PremiumTimes for a story that seems controversial and was regarded as fake news, until it was confirmed true at 2:48am, 16th February, 2019, by the INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu.
INEC as the core stimulant of our democracy failed us. This time it was less than six hours to a crucial election, amid tensions. While many consider this justifiable to ease the political tension (as a result of the Kaduna crisis on eve of the election), in a sane society election should not be postponed on the day of the election; Nigeria might just be an exception. While we were focused on curbing electoral violence, vote buying and other electoral vices with dogs and security personnel, no one expected that the postponement dial will be clicked.
From a triangulated perspective, Nigeria has a record of altering election dates or announcement of result based on logistics, insecurity and economical factors (from 1993 till date), if it is not inconclusive, it rather controversial. The only changing face in our electoral process seems to be the high level involvement by patriotic Nigerians, aside that our electoral institution has fared below average, with new tricks yielding old results of electoral misconducts.
On a second thought for whatever logistics issue INEC has got to battle with, a postponement is far better than an annulment. Postponing the election would avail them the opportunity to re-strategize on logistics to avoid disenfranchising any individual or community as a whole; if INEC had taken the bigger risk with a possibility of an annulment, there would be crisis, which could cause loss of lives, properties and infrastructures. While this might sound unrealistic, prevention they say is better than cure.
In all, the level of patriotism shown by various Nigerians on their social media platforms, our corp members at various service point as ad hoc staff and those who stayed glued to their television all night, starving themselves of comfort is worthy of commendation.
Amidst this saga, the only positive takeout for everyone of us is the increase in the level of Nigerians involvement in political activities. This is positive for us all as Nigeria draws near a revolution. As we hinge towards this sociopolitical revolution I urge every Nigerian to fasten their belt for a tougher ride. Nothing good come easy. Our institutions has failed us, but as a people we must stay true to ourselves. The only way is to keep up the pace.
God bless Nigeria.
Tomori Uriel is a political analyst and journalist, he writes from University of Ilorin.