Nigeria’s INEC Votes Incompetence

Nigeria’s INEC Votes Incompetence

The general elections have been postponed: February 23 for presidential and National Assembly elections and March 9 for governorship and state assembly elections. Once again, Nigeria has shown our level of incompetence but I give INEC credit for simply saying that it was not ready instead of blaming one clandestine intelligence report.

“The Independent National Electoral Commission met on Friday, 15 February 2019 and reviewed its preparation for the 2019 general elections scheduled for Saturday, February 16, and Saturday, March 2.

“Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plans and its determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections, the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the election as scheduled is no longer feasible.

“Consequently, the commission has decided to reschedule the Presidential/National Assembly elections to Saturday, 23rd February 2019. Furthermore, the Governorship/State House of Assembly/Federal Capital Territory Area Council elections are rescheduled to Saturday, 9th March 2019.

“This will afford the Commission the opportunity to address identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of our elections. This was a difficult decision for the commission to take but necessary for the successful delivery of elections and consolidation of our democracy.

“The Commission will meet with key stakeholders to update them on this development at 2 P.M at the Abuja International Conference Centre.”

Until Nigeria begins to build institutions, where processes and standards are enshrined, we will not make progress. Since 1999, we have done this many times and yet every four years, we continue to struggle.

Yet, for me, the biggest paralysis is this idea that federal-level (presidential and national assembly) elections must hold before state-level elections. Largely, you have a feeder system where the triumph of a political party at the federal-level will cascade into the state-level elections. When it was evident, last night, that today’s election would not hold, I had expected a flip where people vote for their local leaders before opportunities for the national ones. But that will not happen as they have shifted everything to maintain the pattern.

Finally, what has happened to Festus Keyamo? He does not write anymore like a fine lawyer many have known him for. Blaming PDP does not help his mission. Festus should know that leadership is not simply holding a microphone!

“We condemn and deprecate this tardiness of the electoral umpire in the strongest terms possible….

“We have earlier raised the alarm that the PDP is bent on discrediting this process the moment it realized it cannot make up the numbers to win this election. We are only urging INEC not collude with the PDP on this.

“We are truly worried because as early as Friday morning, some known PDP Social Media influencers unwittingly announced this postponement, but quickly deleted the message and apologized to the public that it was fake news,”

This is a big shame and something good planning could have prevented.

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In 2011, Jega postponed the national assembly elections, while accreditation had started in many polling units. Then in 2015, it was for “intelligence report”, at least it was announced earlier enough, so wasn’t much of a surprise. Then in 2019, elections postponed few hours to commencement.

Go through the INEC’s statement, they didn’t actually apologise, just a simple statement, telling anyone who cared to listen that they weren’t ready; so deal with it!

A party in power will argue that four years is too small to bring transformational leadership in a country, and now INEC has consistently demonstrated that four years is too small to plan for elections without excuses. They asked for fat cheque and got it, they never complained of money, there was excess money; perhaps they were surprised that they could get such amount of money for their operations, and so “logistics” slipped out of their collective memories…

We frown at our headmasters over “meddling” and “interference”, and yet we keep letting them know that we don’t actually know how to get anything done. INEC has become another NNPC, a perpetual inefficiency has become its second name.

As for Keyamo, nothing much, people initially overestimated his intelligence.
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