By Mukhtar Zubairu Sirajo
The report that the Independent Natinal Electoral Commission Chairman (INEC), has hinted at the possibility of postponing the 2019 general elections on account of threats of violence must have come to not a few Nigerians as the shocker of the year, not only because the Commission had hitherto been giving assurances of its readiness for the polls but also because of the significance and crucial nature of the elections to the development of democracy in the country and its continued peaceful coexistence.
Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi has been appalled by the news and had actually been expecting either a rebuttal or at least a clarification by the Commission, neither of which has so far happened.
Senator Makarfi believes that even the idea of putting off the election, for whatever reason, is condemnable, because it toys not only with the feelings and aspirations of Nigerians but also the survival of the democratic dispensation. That, coming from the body that is constitutionally saddled with the responsibility of organizing and conducting the elections makes it more alarming, for it point towards a reluctance, lack of capacity or complicity, or all, to thwart Nigeria’s march towards an enduring democracy. It clearly does not inspire confidence that those in charge are prepared to midwife free, fair and credible polls.
It is Senator Makarfi’s conviction that the most important thing it takes for the elections to take place successfully is for the electoral body and the security agencies to play their part with utmost neutrality and objectivity that would inspire the confidence of all. The success of the polls depends largely on them and thus the fate of the country is in their hands. They must therefore stop daydreaming and wake up to the challenges facing the country and their own roles in confronting the challenges.
Senator Makarfi calls on the actors on the political stage as well as all Nigerians not to take the INEC statement lightly but remain vigilant, calm and peaceful, and do all it legitimately takes, to protect and preserve Nigeria and its democracy, eschewing violence, no matter the provocation.