Saturday, 07 February 2015 18:21

Implications Of Postponing 2015 National Elections

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The word on the street is that Mr. Jega and his Independent National Elections Commission (INEC) are planning to postpone the 2015 elections that would be starting exactly a week from today. It is painful to listen to such talks. But a postponed and eventually free and fair election is better than the one held on schedule but is not free and fair. So if Mr. Jega’s team is not ready, they should be given the time they need. The worst of both worlds is if after it is postponed and it turns out that it was not free and fair.

Mr. Jega must understand that he is guaranteeing a free and fair election if he gets the postponement.

One of the reasons alleged for the postponement is that many voters have not received voting cards. Clearly if voters do not have cards they cannot vote and if they do not vote it could not be a national election and the winner cannot claim any mandate. Every person who is qualified and wants to vote must be allowed to vote. Every vote must be counted. That is what mandate is.

This brings us to the heart of the matter. In a previous essay I asked if there is anything that Nigeria cannot bungle. We are about to bungle the 2015 elections. If we move the election back six weeks what other things would be moved out six weeks? Everything? Something’s? Which ones? Will the transfer of power be moved out six weeks assuming it is necessary? That would make sense. But would the current office holders have the authority to stay a day longer than the constitution allows? Would it be fair to shorten the current office holder’s time for transition? Those who can, please help us out with these questions. Where are lawyers? Where are our political scientists? Is the dean of constitutional law studies, Professor Ben Nwabueze here? Professor Umez are you in the house?

Let us go to the peripheries. Who is authorized to postpone elections? The President? INEC board? The legislature? Under what circumstances? For how long? How? Simple majority? Two thirds? Voice vote?

By the way, both the Senate and the House have not met in a very long while. And we do not know who the Speaker of the House is.

Going further out we come to the outer part of the peripheries. When did Mr. Jega know that he would need additional time? Just last week? Those of us who have been involved in managing serious projects understand “the Critical Path,” where show stoppers lie. Does Jega understand this tool? Developed such a tool for use in managing these elections? Distributing voter cards must be on this path. How come? If INEC knew that this would happen, why did it not present this to the president or the legislature or whoever has the power to do something about it including the postponinig of these elections? And if it did not know how can we be sure that six weeks would be enough? Are we facing further postponements? Or are we going to postpone and get elections that are not free and fair.

The worst of both worlds.

There is a silver lining in all these. It is that it provides political parties the time to really look at the voters’ list thoroughly. Every smart party and mangers of political candidates should take the extra time to find fictitious names on the register, every duplicate names, every name of the dearly departed on the list, etc. If one wants to see how to do so check my previous essay titled If I Were Managing These Elections.

Nigeria, we hail thee,

Our own dear native land,

Though tribe and tongue may differ,

In brotherhood we stand,

Nigerians all are proud to serve

Our sovereign Motherland. 

Nigeria will survive and be stronger despite Nigeria’s incompetency.

Long live one united, and strong Nigeria. 

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Boston, Massachusetts

February 7, 2015

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Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba  currently lives in Medfield, Massachusetts.