If there’s one thing the Buhari administration has taught us over the years, it’s always to expect the worst possible outcome. Due to several reasons, such as the unreasonable high costs of living, insecurity and corruption in public offices, many Nigerians have feverishly waited for 2023 as they’d finally have a chance to hopefully kiss the current administration goodbye and bring a new one into power.
This is why the recent statement on January 9, 2023, from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, of the possibility that the 2023 general elections might be cancelled or postponed may push many people into a season of prayers, fasting or sacrifices in hopes that this doesn’t happen.
What’s their reason for possible cancellation/postponement?
Over the past years, INEC has faced different trials and tribulations. From dealing with arsonists targeting their offices to being unable to operate in over 40 local governments as they are under terrorist control.
INEC believes that this issue hinders the chances of a free and fair election and till a solution is found, the upcoming elections are at risk of being cancelled.
We’ve seen this before
Unfortunately, we can’t call this the first time elections have faced the threat of cancellation and postponement. On April 2, 2011, former INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega called off the voting process in some areas and postponed the elections altogether. His reason was the logistics issue they encountered, as some parts of the country couldn’t get electoral materials on time.
In 2015, INEC postponed the national elections (National Assembly and presidency) initially scheduled for February 14 and 28, 2015, to March 28, 2015, and the state elections to April 11, 2015. This was mainly due to security reasons as some parts of the country, particularly in the northeast, were being ravaged by Boko haram insurgents. So, INEC thought it was best to give security bodies time to secure the area well enough to hold elections.
Sadly, 2019 wasn’t different from other election years as the elections were also postponed, but this time due to logistics issues caused by bad weather and arsonists’ attack on INEC offices.
Although INEC has come out to say they are ready to deal with possible challenges, it’s not difficult to see that a pattern has developed through the years. Regardless, we can only hope that INEC finds a way to clear every hurdle in its way, as the people are ready now more than ever to exercise their electoral rights finally.