Election Postponement: Inec's Commitment To Fairness Must Not Be Influenced
Since the commencement of the Goodluck Jonathan's administration, Nigeria has been witnessing unprecedented regression in all sectors.
The speedy fall in the nation's economy, the reign of corruption without any form of consequence or remedy, insecurity in northern Nigeria, inflation and peaking youth unemployment, drastic fall in social welfare and disregard for the rule of law among several others.
It should be noted that one such strange developments is the postponement of elections. For the first time since the dawn of democracy in 1999, the National Assembly election was postponed by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011. Here we are in 2015, the general election has been postponed ostensibly because of "security challenges" in the north east.
It is clear that fear of failure at the polls by President Jonathan has made him to mount undue pressure on INEC to shift the poll.
The sudden concern that the elections will be affected by the threat of the Boko Haram attacks in North East is untenable. Over the last the last two years, over 13, 000 Nigerians has been killed, over 100, 000 displaced. For over eight months, schools in Borno have been shut down without hope of resumption, more than 200 school girls kidnapped since April 2014 among others, thus, why has the Presidency not shown such concern over the years?
It is very unfortunate that the Nigerian Government under Jonathan gives little or no priority to the people that elected them in to power; the failure of the PDP led government to tackle problems confronting the nation and the postponement of the elections against the will of Nigerians further attest to the incapability of this administration.
The independence of INEC shouldn't be subjected to influence from the incumbent power or any external force. If a political party which is afraid of election due to its failure isn't ready for election, such should not interpret its failure to pressure on INEC to postpone elections. INEC was designed to independently conduct free and fair elections for Nigerians. This foundational goal shouldn't be found wanting in the practices of the Commission. Thus INEC should uphold the faith we Nigerians have in it as a fair judge ready to make our voices count through votes. The Commission must strongly rebuke any further form of pressure and influence in order to safeguard Nigeria's democracy.
Even as we prepare and look forward to the new dates (March 28th and April 11, 2015), it must be clear in our minds that even if the dates are changed, the choices we make and the candidates we want to vote for cannot be changed. Let's remain steadfast and determined towards change in Nigeria- postponing election date changes nothing but merely postpone the evil day. Let's avoid violence of any form, collect our PVCs, mobilize and motivate our friends and families to collect theirs.
Our change is certain, Nigerians must remain strong and March4Buhari.
Rt. Hon. Razak Atunwa
Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly.