- Traders in popular Lagos market have condemned the postponement of the presidential elections
- Investigations by Legit.ng revealed the dissatisfaction of business owners and the situation of the market after the decision made by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
- Some of the traders who spoke with our correspondent informed that businesses suffered a huge setback and others said, the postponement resulted to low profit
Traders in a popular Lagos market have reacted to the postponement of the 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections.
Findings by Legit.ng at Mile 12 market in Lagos showed the mixed reactions of most traders and a reasonable response from others.
According to the traders, the postponement did not come as a surprise rather, it appeared like a norm in the polity of the country.
A trader who sells food items like rice, beans and garri said the postponement was expected; adding that the authorities in charge of the electioneering process are to be blamed.
He said: “The electoral bodies are to be blamed not the present administration. The postponement of the election is a big disappointment in the political system of the country. How can an election that was planned for four good years be postponed? It is painful that this country keeps dragging backward despite our God-given resources.
“Prior to the day of the election, most traders have sold off their goods before the weekend so as not to suffer loss. We had hope to purchase new goods immediately after election, only for some of us to get the gist late; six hours before it commences. It is pathetic. Because we sold our goods at an affordable price; but when it was then postponed we didn’t really make sales as some of us had almost empty the shop some days before the election.”
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), called for an emergency meeting before the fixed day which led to the postponement of the elections.
Also, the presidential election which was scheduled Saturday, February 16th, has been shifted by a week to Saturday February 23rd while the governorship polls had been moved to March 9th, 2019.
Aggrieved traders, who spoke with our correspondent, explained how this development by the electoral body has affected their businesses on a daily basis.
“On a daily basis, we make sales because health they say is wealth. A week to the election, we recorded huge profit because most buyers came to purchase the goods in large quantity. As soon as election drew nearer some businesses closed for the week but immediately we heard of the cancellation, we were confused.
“Some shops were opened after the postponement but I will tell you everywhere look like a graveyard. The market was dry and quiet as people were still scared to go out and carry out their daily tasks. I couldn’t come out because what’s the point of coming out. They have already disrupted our business activity for the day.
“For our business, weekend is the period we sell a lot because that is when most buyers shop for the new week ahead and at this time we record profit from N30,000 upward daily. But the postponement of the election was a huge loss to traders,” Mr. Kelechi, a foodstuff dealer at the market told Legit.ng.
A meat seller at the market, identified simply as Mr. Ibrahim opined that the postponed elections was frustrating and not encouraging.
He said: “The type of goods I sell is a perishable one, if one do not preserve it well, it will get bad and we will be at a loss. The news was shocking and discouraging as this has become a usual practice in the country by the same electoral body. After four years of adequate preparation, an election will just be postponed without proper consideration of the effect it will have on the economy.
“As for me, as soon as I heard the news, I came out to sell my goods which is the normal thing to do as I sell on Sundays too and I can’t sit back in the house, I need to fend for the family and meet the needs of my family.
“We should not forget that the decision resulted to poor sales at the market as some traders came out late rather than come out in the early hours of the day which is the time buyer’s troop into the market by weekends.”
Similarly, a fresh fish dealer, Mummy Segun revealed to Legit.ng why she came out few hours after the postponement of the election.
“We were in shock when the news broke, it is disheartening. Some of us got the news from the radio in the early hours of the scheduled date but fish sellers who sells both roasted and fresh fish do not have a choice but to come out to sell our goods or else we will be at the receiving end. Prior to that day, we had decided to come sell our goods from Sunday but we still came out that same Saturday so as to avoid setback at the long run.
“I must confess business has been dull after the election was postponed; some traders who come to purchase goods from us said they were scared of spending the cash they have now as they are not sure of what would be the outcome of the rescheduled elections.
“Before now I sell over two cartons of fish daily but now, to sell a carton of fish is difficult because people now go for the available (quantity) and not quality. They prefer buying in cheaper rate than expensive rate. So, we are at a loss this period. Traders all over are facing a tough time to stay in business. It is not easy for us at all.
“The reason for the recent market condition was due to the fact that some people traveled to their different location in the country where they will be able to exercise their franchise. And the ones that didn’t travel are spending their money wisely now; they just buy goods to fill up the stomach and not to get satisfied,” The mother of two lament.
While some are counting their loss, others see this development by the electoral body as an opportunity to make good sales.
A trader, who sells provision items at the market, says the timing was wrong and businesses in the country were affected to an extent.
“The time at which the decision was taken by INEC was wrong. We never expected such from them but notwithstanding we are sure the conduct would still hold. I would say the profit realized that day was low compared to other days before election. But we are grateful to God whatever the outcome may be.
“Now, business has return to normalcy but buyers are very cautious of their spending. The fact being that there is low circulation of resources in the country as the previous weeks has been all about election campaign and rally. The truth is, the economy of the country is dying on a daily basis, and we just hope the turnout of the election will bring about a positive change in the country.
“So far, sales have been encouraging. We normally sell from Monday through Fridays but even after the election was postponed, we make sales but the gain was low compared to previous months. We are really finding it hard to survive as traders in this part of the world as nothing seems to be working in the system of government. But no matter the situation of the country, we are confidence of a better and greater Nigeria,” Alhaja Balikis explained to our correspondent.
Further discoveries by Legit.ng showed that the acceptance by some was impressive as others rejected the excuse by the electoral body. They are optimistic that things will turn out for the good of the populace in due time but others fault the late decision made.
Kenny, a buyer at the market who was seen buying foodstuff, described this decision as a laudable one by the electoral body. In his words, the fair in complexion guy understood that: “A lot of us don’t know what the electoral body has seen before arriving at such conclusion at the last-minute. It is a welcome development because it would have been worse if the decision was made after the elections have been conducted. It would have been a failure as a country that will require answers to questions that will be raised by world leaders.
“I won’t say the election has affected the prices of goods in the market because the food prices are not fixed but I would say, the electioneering activity so far has affected our economy to a large extent. The funds used could have done a great lot to the growth of the economy.
“I commend the officials who quickly locate the problems and are ready to fix things before they get out of hand. So, this is a welcome development at the right time and it is for the good of the people in other to make their votes count.”
Another buyer in the market opined that the rescheduling of the election won’t have taken place if the electoral bodies are committed to the discharge of their duties after four years.
Mrs. Njoku said: “The electoral body has failed in proper delivery of their service after four years of adequate preparation. Apart from the effect on the economy, the decision will affect the people during the time the exercise will commence proper. Their decision is faulted and the people are not happy. On that fateful day, most people will be reluctant to go out and cast their vote.
“Seriously, they are to be blamed, it has been a usual practice for them every election year. We just hope this won’t repeat itself in the years to come.”
In another development, Legit.ng had a chat with a trader who sells second-hand wares at the market. He made an appeal to Nigerians, encouraging them to support the decision, to carry out what is expected of them and expressed optimism that the rescheduled election would be free, fair and credible. Adding that, the country will be great again.
“Immediately the news broke, most Nigerians were disappointed with the authorities concerned. But, this is our country and we have to join hands to bring about the development that we crave for; together we can achieve this if we support one another.
“We complain a lot and later, nothing seems to change. It’s time to stand up and make our vote our voice. The deed has been done, let us move forward but make sure on the rescheduled date of the election, let us come out and make our votes count. The government cannot do it alone; they need our support too. This decision by INEC was made so as to have a free, fair and credible election,” Mr. Livinus told Legit.ng.
Legit.ng also spoke with some traders who pleaded anonymity; they urged everyone to be calm and not discouraged towards the rescheduling of the election, expressing confidence that the electoral exercise would be peaceful.
Street Gist: Will postponement of election have any effect on the outcome? via Legit TV