Nigeria’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the early hours of today postponed the general election originally scheduled to hold today,16th February 2019. The new date for General elections has been set for the 23rd of February.
Though there were rumours yesterday that the elections would be postponed, it wasn’t confirmed until INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu announced to the media at around 3 am that the rumors were true. “Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan, and the determination to conduct free, fair, and credible elections, the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible,” he said.
The governor and state assembly elections were also moved to March 9, 2019, from its original date of March 2, 2019.
As expected, the announcement has generated reactions from Nigerians, especially on Social media, ranging from incredulous to outright anger.
INEC, with its ₦189 billion budget and four years to prepare, managed to behave no differently from a Nigerian tailor who collects ₦15,000 for your wedding outfit but switches off his phone on the day he is supposed to deliver. It is the exact same behaviour.
— gidimeister (@gidimeister) February 16, 2019
Anyway nothing tells the international community how open we are for business than these spur of the moment billion dollars in sunk cost decisions. It’s lovely
— Abike (@Jollz) February 16, 2019
Why aren’t we hearing that INEC partners with DHL or FedEx etc in logistics for our general elections. Is that too much?
What’s all these buffoonery?#NigeriaDecides2019
— I am Timi B (@dillikonko) February 16, 2019
This postponement doesn’t stand alone. It’s a culmination of who we as a nation have become. No consequences, nothing. A whole INEC seems to have planned with no contingency plans. As someone said make we kuku postpone Nigeria.
— Tolulope Adeleru-Balogun (@tolulopeab) February 16, 2019
INEC had Thursday or Friday morning to cancel the election or even earlier, they had to wait for most of us to travel, mine was 4hrs😣 some people did more.. Thunder is actually just having mercy #ThisIsNigeria
— Oga Web Designer🇳🇬 (@samCodeNg) February 16, 2019
The INEC chairman has blamed “logistics and operational glitches” for the postponement of the elections, and is set to meet the stakeholders in the elections today for updates on the next steps to be taken by the electoral body.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who is contesting for a second term in office, and was already in his hometown of Daura in Katsina state when INEC announced its decision has called the postponement “deeply” disappointing.
Though the immediate cost of INEC’s decision on the Nigerian economy isn’t yet known, the unpreparedness of the electoral body will surely affect Nigerians who had to travel to various locations to vote, and also those who owned market stalls etc. There are fears of voters apathy now; voters who had planned towards today to vote could be unmotivated to vote next week for fear of being disappointed again.
Nigeria still has reasons to hope though.
This goes deeper than a postponed election. It’s a symptom of a disgraceful, shambolic, rotten and ineffective system of governance and accountability.
Personally, I have a renewed sense of purpose — it’s on our generation to fix our country and build the future we deserve.
— Yele Bademosi (@YeleBademosi) February 16, 2019