Prof Attahiru Jega, show your best Crisis Management skills in the next 24 hours.
As Nigerians, we must face the reality that the INEC Chairman has spoken and it matters not whether his reasons for postponing the April 2nd parliamentary election to Monday are realistic or not. Why, because we are in a crisis now.
What is clear is that we need an environment where this crisis could be managed effectively. There is no doubt that on a psychological and spiritual level, this sudden occurrence is a major event that threatens to harm the faith we have in the system.
INEC, on behalf of the general public should effectively manage the threat posed by this huge matter as it relates to the element of surprise, and we all expect a short decision time for this to be done.
Jega has told us that he saw what was happening in the last few hours as a crisis which needed to be quenched, that is a process of transformation that needed to climb above existing failures. As for the chairman, this issue need not be maintained but corrected immediately for change sake.
According to Jega, if the change is not proceeded with the episode could become more of a national humiliation and fiasco—no one wants such doom.
To the credit of President Jonathan, instead of remaining outside the nation's capital (as he was reportedly in his home town), mistakes we have seen before, even among leaders in the western world; he returned to the capital immediately, and took the first instant step required in risk management, which involves assessing would-be threats and discovering for the people the best ways to avoid further complications to this threat.
In the broader context of managing this political crisis every INEC worker and those involve in executing the elections must immediately be trained in crisis management skills in addition to other skills and techniques required to pinpoint, assess, understand, and cope with any serious situation, especially from the moment it first occurs to the point of when the regaining procedures start.
According to the Nigeria's electoral commission, some States have already began voting, therefore the sacredness of those completed ballot papers in today's parliamentary vote, must be protected.
This is not the time for casting blames or passing emotions across personnel or stakeholders at this time. There will be time for that!
Because the conduct of elections falls through the 4th, the 9th and the 16th of this month, Jega must show not through apology, but through competence that within this short period of time, that all regional constituents, INEC facilities, finances and above all its reputation does not remain in crisis.
Jega must realize that good crisis management is an art in decision making required to reduce or mitigate the effects of this current episode, something needed now while the incident itself is unfolding.
Jega should realize right now, while corrective decisions are being made workers and management as well as the INEC institutions are under stress, therefore there is need to watch out for more mistakes such as missing key pieces of information that are needed now.
Essential planning is needed now in order to best position INEC for the coming elections beginning April 4th. so as to reduce further chaos and doubts over what could happen next in terms of maintaining proper logistics.
Jega must help the workers or those involve in the electoral work engage in a series of positive behaviors (e.g. Restful sleep, take a break, support personnel, releasing muscle tension , good food habits, sit in a comfortable chair, etc.).
These tips are important to enhance better time management as they relate to quick manning of the polling units, focused entering of the results in the sheets, upholding the integrity of the ballots as well as preserving the effective overall control of the voting process.
This is a very critical and sensitive time for all of us and we must avoid planting into the consciousness of some people words of apprehension, upheaval, manipulation, or division.
What Jega needs now in this short period is an unwavering support from all Nigerians as we join together to fight this sudden uproar, and if the transmission of free, fair and credible elections is what we yearn for let's take Jega for his stressful words, and with this little delay the credibility of the elections will be fully or almost ensured. God bless Nigeria.
John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D., DABPS; FACFE; is a Licensed Clinical/Forensic Psychologist; Diplomate of American Board of Psychological Specialties; Fellow of American College of Forensic Examiners (For Psy); Former Interim Associate Dean and an Assistant Professor of Psychology, Broward College - North Campus, Florida. [email protected]