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By Kolade Malik Ademola

Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan and the determination to conduct a free, fair and credible elections, the Commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible”Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Hon. Chairman, INEC.

Contained in a statement released by the INEC chairman on February 16, 2019 at about 2:45 am, few hours to the commencement of the Presidential and NASS election in Nigeria, an inconsequential reason blurs our sight and allows the hands slip past our grip to grasp democracy. The decision to then push back the election by a week is good news for the government and INEC, but bad news for the Candidates who currently have a zero balance in their accounts consequence of the disbursement of money to their respective party leaders or political cabals for the supposed vote buying today February 16, 2019.

In reference to the 2015 postponement of elections which traversed from the FeBuhari to the March4Buhari hashtag, the announcement of postponement came two weeks before the elections, which made the electorates, candidates and the relative people involved to be already prepared for it and similarly, raised the question that “isn’t Nigeria a big joke?” In the same vein, following the postponement of the 2019 Presidential and NASS elections that came few hours prior the elections, I find myself asking the question, “isn’t Nigeria the biggest joke?” But away from all these – the candidates who are now on zero balance, and Nigeria being the biggest joke – it is pertinent to discuss, in relation to the two major parties involved, who gains and who loses from this postponement.

Report obtained after the postponement indicated that, President Muhammadu Buhari himself ordained the INEC Chairman to further with the elections, but I guess the president has forgotten that the Commission is independent and thus is not subjected to subsequent commands from him. Though as acclaimed by the President that he is unhappy about the postponement, but critically accessing the situation, he stands a chance to lose in the oncoming election except the President wants his integrity soiled in the mud. How?

An average Nigerian who closed the sales of his or her business because of the election; an average Nigerian who travelled miles home just to exercise his or civic right; an average Nigerian who doesn’t understand the fact that INEC is an independent body which is not subjected to the commands of the federal government would now breed grudges against the president for abetment of the postponement. This on one side has derailed the integrity they have for Mr. President, and thence, come next Saturday, February 23, 2019, many may not be encouraged to exercise their franchise, the zeal has been killed, and the few who would do may not do so in favour of the President. This is not entirely certain, but an assumption on my side as a writer.

Conversely, as it is well known with Nigeria about election rigging, if the president desires another four years in office, this is the perfect opportunity to achieve that. In my opinion, the postponement gives the presidency the avenue to rig the election. Away from the fact that the INEC wants to organize a free, fair and credible election, the postponement has made a gross percentage of the electorates to lose the virtue they have on the commission. This therefore has left loopholes, a chance the presidency can utilize to its benefits.

In regards to the opposition party, and the supposed virtue lost in the ruling party as a result of the postponement, it is pertinent to say that if not intensely, the opposition party may get what I would like to term “consequential vote.” The conundrum that has risen to this postponement may/will be the campaign note of the opposition party for the next few days before the rescheduled date of the elections. Considering the fact that Nigerians – those in support of the ruling party may feel abashed consequence of this postponement, the opposition party has this as their stronghold to gain the interest of a few who have been dampened with this postponement.

In conclusion, the great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid. Thence, either the postponement came or not, as a voter, you have been vested with the power to do something stupid again – either make the wrong or right choice. But albeit this, as a voter, the choice you make is never wrong. The choice you make is only wrong if you are paid to make the choice. With that, Nigeria’s turnaround for good don’t lie solely with the electorates, it actually lies with the candidate emerged – to fulfill the promises made during the electioneering campaigns. Furthermore, I would educate the electoral commission that the body that postponed the election is independent, and as such, has not made the postponement on the accord of the Federal government or the ruling party. In a similar vein, as the notable saying goes that “delay isn’t denial,” though democracy has been postponed, but it doesn’t incite that it cannot be achieved.

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