Pulse.ng logo
Go

Pulse Opinion Nigeria's election postponement and the evil that lies ahead

Originally slated to hold on February 14 and 28, INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega stated that the body had to reach the decision because the nation’s security agencies had said that they would be too busy fighting the insurgency brought on by Boko Haram to provide protection during the elections.

  • Published:
INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega play

INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega

(Peoples Daily NG)
President Goodluck Jonathan play

President Goodluck Jonathan

(Facebook)

Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday, February 7, 2015, announced that the country’s general elections have been postponed by six weeks.

Originally slated to hold on February 14 and 28, INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega stated that the body had to reach the decision because the nation’s security agencies had said that they would be too busy fighting the insurgency brought on by Boko Haram to provide protection during the elections.

The insurgency in the North-East has been ongoing for years and despite six years in office, the proclamation of a "State of Emergency" and two period extensions of same, Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has failed to win the war against terror in Nigeria.

The most glaring example of the insincerity of the government in postponing the elections is the case of the Baga Massacre of January 2015. About 2,000 people were reportedly killed over a four-six day period, yet there was no word from Jonathan or his suddenly vociferous National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

It was Dasuki who made the initial call for the postponement of the polls and who also informed Jega that no security could (would) be provided for the polls if he insisted on conducting them in February.

The Director General of the National Orientation Agency, Mike Omeri said during an interview on January 26 that it wouldn’t be fair to hold the election if half of the 68 million registered voters cannot vote. He added that a postponement of perhaps six weeks could be a fair alternative. The elections were eventually postponed for six weeks.

Mr. Omeri also proceeded to employ scare tactics announcing that female suicide bombers intended to detonate explosions while people were voting. Is this the way for an official of a country’s government to react to intelligence reports? Should he strike fear in the hearts of citizens or inform the necessary security agencies? Why exactly is the DG of the NOA speaking on sensitive security matters?

Jonathan’s Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe stated on Friday, February 6, while denying his boss’ interest in a postponement, that “…in 2003, 2007, and 2011 the elections were held in April, and the hand over date was not affected," suggesting pre-knowledge of an imminent poll shift.

This came after supporters of Jonathan, led by known Presidential mouthpiece, Edwin Clark, on Thursday, February 5, demanded the postponement of the elections or Jega’s resignation.

On February 7, before INEC announced its decision on whether to postpone or not, soldiers, complete with armoured tanks, flooded the streets of Nigeria’s major cities apparently to prevent an uprising.

This makes it seem that Jega was not given a choice in the matter and it’s amazing that the same soldiers who could not be available to provide security on February 14 were suddenly available to harass citizens and prevent protests a week before that time.

The postponement has been announced and will apparently stand but beyond the blatant disregard meted out to Nigeria’s democracy and its citizens, a pertinent question must now be asked; Why?

Why did the Federal Government so desperately want a poll shift? Is it so that the court cases seeking the disqualification of All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Muhammadu Buhari can be concluded? Is it a plot to develop more advanced rigging techniques? Are they planning to use Nigeria’s army or perhaps the newly constituted multinational force to cause havoc? What exactly is the next step?

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo warned in a letter written in December 2013 that President Jonathan was training snipers to further his re-election bid and in the light of recent happenings, it seems that Obasanjo’s warnings must now be taken seriously.

What sinister plot lies ahead of this six-week extension? What exactly do Jonathan and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stand to gain from it? What fears should Nigerians begin to harbour in advance?

Jega stated during his address that though there are ‘sufficient grounds for cynicism’, Nigerians must “keep hope alive.”

Unfortunately, as one Twitter user pointed out, hope is not a strategy.

 

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Nigeria?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +2349055172167, Social Media @pulsenigeria247: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng. More information here.