The 2015 Nigerian presidential elections have just sailed through and we wish to examine the victory of democracy, what the lessons from the elections could be and the loop holes created by the Independent National Electoral Commission and even the Nigerian people.
Majority of Nigerians have spoken and decided who they believe will bring the desired improvement which they seek. This is a step that we are so proud of as it is a sign that Nigerians have become democratically matured and realised the importance of using their votes to make things turn around.
As we also join the voices of many to congratulate the winning party and the winning candidate , APC and General Muhammed Buhari, we also send out congratulatory messages to the entire Nigerians for ensuring a peaceful electoral process and maintaining relative peace in the face of the many presumptions that a chaos may erupt forcing the country into military rule.
Having said that and as you await the write up by our team lead on Bella Naija which further explains the dawn of true democracy in the country, we would like to address some of the loop holes created by the INEC in the 2015 elections which we will like for them to look into and ensure that the same errors are not committed in 2019.
Before we continue, we will like to state that we do believe that the Chairman of the INEC, Professor Jega has done quite a good job because uneasy lies the head that wears the crown and I can only imagine the sleepless nights that he had to face trying to make sure that he doesn’t ruin the trust which the people have placed in him. The diplomacy which he displayed at the collation of results when Orubebe tried to ruin the day with his ramblings, is quite commendable and a trait which most Nigerian leaders need to emulate in their dealings with affairs that bother the people.
However, our problem with the system is the insensitivity to time in planning these elections. The commission is fully aware that they were to conduct an election this year from the very day which the last election was conducted in 2011. One would have expected that they party as much as they needed to and come back to work at least by the end of 2012 to start working towards the 2015 elections and right the wrongs that were done at the 2011 elections.
We understand that there was a change in power from Professor Maurice Iwu to Professor Jega but that is no excuse for the delay as a system of continuity should have been in place. To avoid the rush and the delays, the registration of the TVCs should have been done in 2012/2013 and the collection of PVCs by the middle of 2014. The decision to use card readers should have been made even before the Ekiti elections last year and the card reader tested at that point to determine the functionalities of the machine.
Information reaching us states that some of the INEC officers had no clue that they needed to take off the nylon off the face of the card readers which caused a delay in the use of the card readers forcing many to utilise the incidence form which in my opinion was a waste of technological resources. Also, INEC needed to have properly invested in training of its staff and the Corpers who were to assist the core staff in conducting the elections.
We must salute the corp members who took time out to truly serve their country not minding the risk involved. They deserve to be celebrated and indeed, we may not know each and everyone of you but we do celebrate you and if you could share your images with us via firstname.lastname@example.org, we could scroll it on our instagram page and give you a shout out.
We urge the INEC to take a break after the Gubernatorial elections scheduled for April 11, 2015 but resume on time to begin to effectively plan the next line of action for 2019 so that we will have a better elections than we had this year. Teach your staff the importance of punctuality to avoid long wait by the people and familiarise themselves with the materials which they need to use in conducting the elections.
Avoid tribal and religious discrimination and see this as a victory that we have all won as a people and let us look forward to progress and an improvement.
Once again, congratulations to the incumbent Government for giving democracy a chance to rule, congratulations to the winning party and the winning candidate and congratulations to all Nigerians.