This morning, February 16, 2019, Nigeria and the international community woke up to the disconcerting news that the 2019 presidential and national assembly elections had been postponed for one week. The National Association of Seadogs notes with deep concern that this announcement came few hours to the commencement of voting.
The fact that Nigerians had made very significant investment in time, money and logistics to ensure that they exercise their civic responsibility calls for more than flitting scrutiny of the underlying reasons adduced by the electoral supervision body.
We note further that prior to this postponment, at several interviews and public forums, INEC and it's chairman has continuously assured Nigerians and the international community that it was fully, 100% prepared to conduct the elections and that on no account will it be postponed. This sudden volteface and its enormous national economic cost, to our nation, with a GDP in excess of $450 billion US Dollars and personal cost to the over 60 million Nigerians who registered to partake in this election cannot be overlooked.
These situations, viewed against the backdrop of the N143 billion spent on the election and 4-year lead time to organise it, is a national embarrassment and a global public relations nightmare, especially, given the number and status of local and international observers who have berthed in Nigeria for election monitoring.
INEC must ensure that the integrity of already deployed sensitive election materials and assets be expediently preserved. Beyond this, INEC must assure Nigerians that the issues that led to this postponement will be addressed within the next one week. It is pertinent to mitigate this unfortunate exposure of Nigeria to international ridicule.
Insinuations that elections have been postponed on previous occasions are no mitigants because the trajectories are parallel. The postponement in 2015 gave ample time for broad based consultations and was predicated on security concerns raised by the National Security Adviser and not logistics incontinence of the electoral body.
The NAS therefore calls on INEC to raise their bar of performance. INEC must be aware that the hard fought democracy, including the future of Nigerians yet unborn, rests squarely on it's capacity to successfully execute the 2019 Election in a free, fair, credible and transparent manner.
Finally, the National Association Seadogs would like to enjoin Nigerians to remain peaceful and resolute in keeping faith with carrying out this all important civic responsibility.
No matter the times and challenges, we must make our votes count!
National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity)