* Mixed reaction trails INEC’s postponement of presidential/NASS elections.
By Kasarachi Azuka, Asaba
“No wedding ceremony, no burial ceremony, no party, no celebration and no election. What a ‘holy Saturday’ in Nigeria!” was exactly how a resident of Asaba, the capital of Delta State, put it while reacting to the sudden postponement of the presidential and national assembly elections slated for Saturday, February 16, 2019.
The resident, who simply identified himself as Victor, said the postponement of the election was a huge loss to Nigerian masses.
According to him, some Nigerians who were to hold their various events on this day, had to cancel such in anticipation that the elections would hold. Now, the elections could not hold thereby destabilizing them. The worst of it is that with the postponement, they have been put to confusion on what to do as to what other day to choose since every citizen is subject to the nation’s authority”, he lamented.
Frank Okafor, a university student and Asaba resident, told Silver News:
“I am not happy right now because INEC is not trusted. If the electoral umpire is trusted, she wouldn’t have postponed this election.”
Okafor who said he had fully prepared to participate in the civic exercise however said he didn’t lose anything by the postponement “As for me, I have not lost anything because today is my free day. I know some people lost much even in terms of revenue. I urge them not to give up but stick to their position and be ready to cast their votes any other time they are called upon to do so.”
“But as for INEC, chairman, I am saying that he should resign from that position because of his inability to conduct election for this country. It doesn’t make sense that you postpone election few hours to the election”, he stressed.
Onyinyechi Nwabudike, a restaurant owner in Asaba in her comment, said “They (INEC and FG) know what they are doing. Imagine what their action has done on the masses today. Some people had already travelled because of this election. Now, do they except somebody that has travelled for the sake of this postponed election to travel again next week for same?”
Nwabudike who was attending to her customers when newsmen visited, said she was not aware that the election was cancelled but that when somebody drew her attention to that around 7am, she then rushed to her restaurant and began to cook.
Honestly, it was a distraction because it made me not to put myself in order for my day’s business. By now (10am), I would have made not less than N3,000 gain”, she fumed.
Also, another resident, Dominic Adewole described the situation as disheartening, adding that INEC’s action was a call for anarchy in disguise and a clear indication that the country “is in the hands of unscrupulous elements that have no interest of the electorate at heart except for their own pockets”. He called on Nigerians to take their destiny in their hands swiftly.
However, few individuals believe that INEC acted for the good of the country. Collins Ovire said the electoral umpire acted in good faith because some states have no materials for election while in some, INEC offices had been burnt down.
“He had wanted to go on with the elections in 20 states but the United States of Amercia said they shouldn’t but shift it with one week. It was good he postponed it to save the country from the crisis that would take place after the election”, he posited.
Another resident, Victor Sorokwu appealed to Nigerians to be patient with INEC. “The federal umpire has a very cogent reason for taking the decision to postpone the presidential and NASS elections.”
He said that for a general election to be general there is need for the uniformity of the election. “One third of the state to have been reported to having failure of logistics is a very significant reason for the postponement”, he noted.
“With one week in lieu, INEC should be able to cross their Ts and dot there Is.Nigerians should be patient with INEC. I am confident that the electoral body will deliver on the national assignment” he maintained while saying he did not feel there action led to wastage of resources.
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Cairo Ojugboh, told journalists in Asaba that “this is not the first time there would be postponement of election in this country”. He urged Nigerians to bear with the change.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had also expressed shock on the postponement but urged its members and supporters to remain resolute by working to achieve the plan and purpose, to ensure that the party at all levels win the elections.