How Postponing The Elections Has Helped The Country

How Postponing The Elections Has Helped The Country

 The 2015 Elections postponement was received with widespread cynicism when the news broke. Buhari said it was a fraudulent attempt to subvert the electoral process and that INEC had been gravely compromised.

Tinubu described the situation as democracy at gun point. Many Nigerians felt disappointed too.

Aminat says, "It looked like the government was trying to pull a fast one. You know we thought the security issue was just a pretext and that they were actually worried they would lose the election if it happened at the time. A lot of people were disappointed in the decision. I was disappointed too."

Yomi says, "I think it was the way the whole thing was done. It was done in a very shady, suspicious manner. You can't blame people who were upset about the postponement. The government should have communicated with the people well to explain its intentions instead of making it look like it was making a dirty strategy."

The INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega said the polls were shifted for security reasons, but many people didn't quite see it from the perspective of those in the crisis areas. They thought, well our own side of the country is safe so let's go on with the elections.

READ ALSO: INEC Cannot Guarantee That March 28 Election Will Hold - Jega

This month, there was a cartoon on social media that illustrates our reaction to the insurgency in the north. The cartoon shows four people in a boat that's leaking on one side as the boat sails on. Two of the men are busy at the leaking side draining the water that's got into the boat, while the other two sit at the good end of the boat comfortably. One of them says, "Sure glad the hole isn't at our end."

That's how many Nigerians apparently think about the crisis in the north.

When Boko Haram first started, it was horrific to read about bombs, shootings and all those stuff. A lot of people were disturbed to see the bloodshed on TV and newspaper covers. There was intense public concern for the people in the north.

But today, the thing is not as evocative as it used to be. Now when people are watching the evening news and they're talking about Boko Haram killing people, it doesn't even register anymore. They just go on eating their food or having a chat with their kids. A lot of people don't consider anymore that this isn't just a piece of news on TV. These are real people with real families who have lost their lives.

Assuming the insurgency was happening in the west and the rest of the country, would we have wanted to carry on with elections knowing that we would be affected? Would we have agreed to go and vote knowing that someone might throw a bomb at our polling unit on that day or come there and shoot people to death?

Chioma says, "If the problem was happening to us too and INEC tried to run the election anyway, we would even be the ones to protest. We'll say INEC is insensitive and nobody would even step out of their house to vote. The day would have been a flop. So we should look at it from that angle. Our fellow Nigerians in the north wouldn't have felt safe to go voting if the election had been held that time with all the terror going on."

Aminat says, "A part of our country is in flames and we're clamouring for elections to continue. It shows we didn't care about our compatriots in the north. Are they not Nigerians like us? We didn't do the right thing at all. We should have been more considerate."

President Jonathan said after the poll shift, "Nobody is saying we must wipe out Boko Haram completely before conducting elections. We said that security wise, there are certain things that they need so that they can consolidate on the security architecture, so that we can conduct elections. But in the next six weeks, security advancements will be made."

READ ALSO: Jonathan Douses Fears Of Another Poll Shift

Security advancements are obviously being made right now. The army has been really successful lately. They're retaking towns. They're winning battles. From the reports from the warfront, the enemies are in the run. The deferment is apparently paying off because the army and its allied forces have since launched a major offensive in the region, and now it looks like they have the upper hand and we're winning the war against insurgency.

Another thing the shift helped to do was to cool the tension. Before the elections the buildup was soaked with tension. It was like there was going to be a war. People were a lot worried about the elections and what would happen after the elections.

Yomi says, "The signs were not good. There was clearly going to be crisis. I was already making plans to ensure I and my family stay at home throughout the election period. At least I hoped we'll be safe in our house. The tension was too much."

"It wasn't just the north that was in danger then," says Chioma. " The whole country was on the brink of  chaos. I'm so glad we're having some ease right now, and it's because the elections were postponed."

Some people said the government planned to fire Jega, create an interim government and put off the elections indefinitely. But the government has assured that the new date is unchangeable and that those rumours are false.

President Jonathan said, "Let me assure Nigerians that a new government will be formed on . They shouldn't be perturbed about rumours that we're planning to send Jega on a terminal leave and other rubbish that is being circulated.

"The rumours that I will not hand over or that I'm scheming to prolong my tenure are insinuations. They're not true. It's quite unfortunate that so much wrong information is floating in the system."

Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has noted that it would use the opportunity offered by the postponement of the elections to organize extensive hands-on training on the use of card readers for its ad hoc staff.

Recently, the Senate also summoned INEC Chairman, Mr Attahiru Jega over the postponement of the country’s general elections. The Senate sought a clarification over the postponement of the poll.


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Khadijah Thabit (Copyeditor) Khadijah Thabit is an editor with over 3 years of experience editing and managing contents such as articles, blogs, newsletters and social leads. She has a BA in English and Literary Studies from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Khadijah joined in September 2020 as a copyeditor and proofreader for the Human Interest, Current Affairs, Business, Sports and PR desks. As a grammar police, she develops her skills by reading novels and dictionaries. Email:

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