The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has just postponed
the 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
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 few hours to the Election can be described as the least
The decision has indeed made the average Nigerian to loss faith in the
Commission, and as well doubt the capacity of the body to conduct a 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 been before now tagged to be better that the Prof.
Attahiru Jega led body under the Good luck Jonathan’s administration, but
recent elections conducted by the body has proven that this may not be the
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 erros 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.
Texts messages were hardly 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, fact remains that
persons who never applied were trained. One will then ask, why all the
Secondly, after the conclusion of the training exercise, INEC didn’t
publish the names of the successful applicants not until a day to
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 getting at late hours, the
information about his or her succes?
The Almighty Commission made Nigerians believe that they were set for the
game, not until a few hours later, Nigerians were intimated that the
election has been postponed. By this time, many Nigerians have 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 holidays for, or perchance
the government may wish to surprise us just the way INEC did. A Press
Conference was promised anyways.
INEC, perhaps, did not consider the burden of transportation cost on the
shoulders of the affected Nigerians, and the general effect it’s 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 in the main day. Simply put, INEC has failed even
before the election.
Recent events show that INEC had not been even 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 is a Yenagoa Based Legal practitioner.