Nigeria: INEC’s many errors

February 16, 2019 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , POLITICS

IIP photo

 

By

Ebi Robert

 

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has just postponed Nigeria’s General Elections to the 23rd of February for the Presidential, and 6th March, for Governorship and others, following a press release issued under the designation of the Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, on the 16th day of February, 2019, the same day fixed for the Presidential Election.

 

While this is not novel, being that the Commission had in past elections taken the same avoidable decision, this unexpected decision by the INEC just a few hours prior to the Election can be described, in the very least, as disappointing.

 

The decision has indeed made the average Nigerian lose faith in the Commission, as well as doubt the capacity of the body to conduct free, fair and credible elections, since it is unable to handle simple logistics. Again, it preaches further the many mistakes of the Commission in the face of the Election.

 

The Yakubu led INEC has before now been tagged to be better that the Prof. Attahiru Jega led body under Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, but recent elections conducted by the body have proven that this may not be the case.

 

First, a fat budget was proposed for the election which was approved; a date for the Election was fixed, and in its usual manner the Commission called for eligible Nigerians to apply to work as adhoc staff for the forthcoming election. The application was rumoured to be online and handwritten for others, but since this was not clearly spelled out, some applicants were made to dwell in errors before they were eventually directed on which directive was right.

 

Applicants eventually succeeded in applying, but when it was time for the actual training of staff in preparation for the exercise, many of the applicants who applied with the hand-written format were not aware because they were not adequately informed of the call for training.

 

Text messages were barely sent despite the fact that the phone numbers of the applicants were provided. Instead, some persons who didn’t apply in the first place got trained because they somehow got the information about the training even before some of the applicants could. Although other applicants were privileged to get the information, the fact remains that persons who never applied were trained. One will then ask, why all the formalities?

 

Secondly, after the conclusion of the training exercise, INEC didn’t publish the names of the successful applicants until a day prior to the election, proper. This was undoubtedly the case of the Yenagoa City Local Government area of the Commission.

 

The question is: How prepared could a presiding officer be for the task ahead, when the same probably may be at such a late hour, the information about his or her success?

 

The Almighty Commission made Nigerians believe that they were set for the game, though not until a few hours later, Nigerians intimated that the election had been postponed. By this time, many Nigerians had already travelled to their various polling units in preparation for the big game. The decision of INEC implies that those affected Nigerians will have to return back to their places of work after the postponement. After all, there won’t likely be a declaration of public holiday or perchance the government may wish to surprise us just the way INEC did. A Press Conference was promised anyway.

 

INEC perhaps, did not consider the burden of transportation costs on the shoulders of the affected Nigerians, and the general effect its decision will have on Nigerians at large. INEC, I doubt does not know what it means to disappoint a state, not to talk of a whole Nation as one constituency.

 

The decision by INEC will make many Nigerians who have already lost hope in the process to give up completely in the exercise. This may most likely affect the turnout on the main day. Simply put, INEC has failed even before the election.

 

Recent events show that INEC had not even been prepared in the first place, and with this level of preparedness, one wonders how such a body will deliver a free, fair and credible election to the satisfaction of Nigerians, observers and of course, the International Community.

 

 

 

 

Ebi Robert

Ebi Robert is from Nembe/Egweama in Bayelsa State of Nigeria; a state in the Southern part of Nigeria. He is a legal practitioner, poet, essayist, freelance writer, novelist and editor. He is the author of the African Drama “An Empty Kingdom” published by ‘Patridge Africa’ and ‘Bulkibon Books’. He has written many poems and contributed to many International Books as well. The award winning writer propounded ‘Advisory Oposicion’, a concept which article was also published in the Tuck Magazine. Ebi Robert is an International Advisor with International Authors, USA. He is also the Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors, Bayelsa State chapter and as the well the founder of THE DELTA LITERATURE. He is also the Acting Director of Peace December, Bayelsa State Chapter, a Non Governmental Organization based in the US.

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