by Bashorun Dele Momodu
Today is certainly a very sad day in Nigeria. Our country men and women woke up early and headed to 120,000 polling units nationwide. They were determined to exercise their rights to vote for candidates of their choice. I saw the old and the young. I saw the able and the disabled united in the mission to perform their civic responsibilities and enforce the power of their votes. They stood in the scorching sun. They queued dutifully and endured the pain, hoping that for once, we will get it right. They never anticipated how incompetent and unprepared INEC was.
Meanwhile, the inability of INEC to deliver voting materials to polling stations across the country has led to the postponement of the elections to Monday, 4th April, 2011. According to media reports, voting materials could not be airlifted from London due to shortage of cargo flights. In the light of the foregoing, I do not believe INEC is prepared to conduct a smooth National Assembly elections on Monday, 4th April, 2011.
First, from my experience in global publishing operations, there is not much that can be achieved in the delivery and nationwide distribution of the voting materials within the next 48 hours. Second, there is no point disrupting commercial activities on Monday. Hard-working Nigerian citizens must not be made to pay for the mistakes of INEC. Nigerians must go to work and must not be kept in perpetual suffering till Tuesday. Also, students who have schools to attend and exams to write must not be disturbed by the election. Clearly, INEC needs time to prepare and must not be in a hurry to conduct fresh National Assembly elections when it can easily start on a clean slate with the presidential elections next Saturday, 9th April, 2011. Alternatively, the National Assembly elections can be postponed to next week Saturday when the presidential election was initially scheduled to hold or conducted as the last in the schedule of elections.
It is too risky to go ahead with the National Assembly elections on Monday. If INEC runs into any complications on Monday, it will have adverse effects on the presidential election on Saturday. The National Assembly elections are more tedious than the others because they involve more candidates and thus require more logistics. If INEC goes ahead with the elections on Monday, by the time it concludes the whole process of collating results and addressing complaints, we will be looking at Thursday if not the weekend itself. INEC will be too fatigued to deal with the presidential election on Saturday.
National Conscience Party (NCP)