Some stakeholders in the education sector have expressed disappointment over the sudden postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the INEC Chairman , Prof. Mahmood Yakubu , had a few hours to the polls, announced the shift in the election date from February 16 to February 23.
He also announced the shift of the governorship , state assembly and Federal Capital Territory Area Council elections from March 2 to March 9 .
“Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan , and the determination to conduct free , fair , and credible elections, the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible , ” Yakubu had said .
Reacting to the development , the Academic Staff Union of Universities described the postponement as a rude shock and a dent to the country’ s image .
The union’ s National President , Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi told
NAN that the development would further reduce the integrity of the nation before the international community.
“ We have not really gotten details of what led to this sad development . It is not yet clear to us what could have really led to this sort of dent to our country’ s image .
“ We shall be issuing our statement on this as soon as we are through with our findings on what led to this national disgrace.
“ But for the moment , I will say this is coming to us as a big surprise as it does not portray us as well a country when it comes to planning .
“For an election of this magnitude whose preparation had been underway for over three years now to be cancelled a few hours to the main process , is to say the least , a huge waste of resources as well as an embarrassment before the international community, ” Ogunyemi said .
Prof. Solomon Akinboye , a one time Head , Department of the Political Science University of Lagos , on his part, described the postponement as a national calamity .
According to him , the development has caused Nigerians across all works of life a huge setback economically , socially and otherwise .
“ The implication of this development is negative in all ramifications .
Look at observers from the international community. Some of them have been here days to this election . They decided to push aside , all other engagements just to ensure the success of this same election .
“ Does it mean they are idle ? What will be their thought about us ? What will happen next ? Should they continue waiting till the new date ? Look at a person in the caliber of former President Sirleaf -Johnson of Liberia . Even if she decides to stay on, don’ t you know the economic implication? .
“ Some will be forced to go back to their respective countries and therefore the consequence will be that the integrity of the process may not be guaranteed.
“ It is as sad as disappointing that this is happening now , as economic activities are already being affected adversely .
“ I was thinking that Prof. Yakubu would have sustained and even improve on Prof. Jega’ s legacy but with this kind of development , that is not going to be after all. ”
Akinboye , who is currently the institution ’ s Dean , School of Postgraduate Studies , noted that INEC ’ s reasons for cancelling the polls were not acceptable , adding that the only reason it could have tendered would have been underfunding .
“ But fortunately, the government ensured that the commission was well equipped financially and so it should not even talk about logistics challenges .
Dr Olubunmi Ajibade, Senior Lecturer , Department of Mass Communication , also of the University of Lagos , described the development as a show of national shame.
He said that it showed a lack of preparedness on the part of INEC .
According to him , until late Friday, Feb. 15, President Muhammadu Buhari in a broadcast , was still urging Nigerians to go out and vote for their preferred choice , meaning that he was also not anticipating the postponement .
“ This whole development is unfortunate and sad . Again it shows that as a nation , we do not plan well .
Meanwhile , a competent source at King ’ s College Lagos , told NAN that only the Federal Ministry of Education was in the position to decide the next line of action with the postponement of the election .
Students of Unity Colleges were given a break to be with their parents during the election , to resume on Tuesday, February 19.
“ Our students were released on Thursday , February 14, to be back on Tuesday. But with this postponement now , we do not know what is going to happen .
“ We are expecting further directives from the Federal Ministry of Education on the next line of action, otherwise our earlier directive of resuming on Tuesday stands , ” the source told