By John Sawok
A lot of Nigerian leaders and heads of Ministries Departments and Agencies as well as legislatures thrive in incompetence and mediocrity because they always get away unpunished, regardless of the magnitude of damage their actions has cost the nation.
They run the government and its organisations handed over to them just like a man would handle the most trivial business. They neither consider themselves accountable to citizens nor show any sign of penitence when they fail. They talk tough as if the failure they plunged us into was a milestone that was part of the plan.
Like the proverbial saying ‘They are empty dark clouds that brings forth no rain and they speak great swelling words of vanity ‘.
The day an Inspector-General of Police (IGP) disobeyed a President’s instructions, I was so certain we would be having a new IGP that evening. I was utterly disappointed in myself because six months later, he was still flying his flag and very much in charge. Few months later, the police force under the same leadership was declared as allegedly having over 40,000 ghost workers, I said to myself, this is the final blow.
At N20,000 per head per month, that would come to N800 million per month, or a whoping N9.6 billion per year! If he is not dismissed, he would resign himself. Definately not in Nigeria. The man remained kampe, and was spitting fire the next day. What a nation! Not even the National Assembly made an attempt to investigate the allegation. No investigative panel was set up. Life just continued and our chief of security still in charge. N9.6 billion, no investigation, no disciplinary action. We must all be crazy. Those with any modicum of conscience throw their hands up in the air and whisper, “that is Naija for you”.
The recent pronouncement of INEC that election had been postponed for one week got me astonished and bewildered. I still remain perplexed as I pen these words.
The announcement came on the election date itself, about 2 a.m on 16 February 2018. The very day of the election, the President was already in Daura and the Vice President in Lagos, ready to cast their votes in the morning. The magnitude of this failure, just like some past elections we have had to postpone in the past is a shame, with serious consequences on the nation. I wouldn’t even expect a national exam to be postponed in this manner. Not even a common entrance for primary school children. The consequences on the nation are great.
The first consequence is cost. People have spent money to travel to their voting stations which would run into billions of Naira. The Nation had spent billions to deploy INEC staff, Youth Corpers, police, the military and all those directly or indirectly involved. All now a waste.
Additional funds would have to be expended to keep them in their present location or redeploy them back to their station and redeploy them for the new date. Some people may have to travel again which is twice the cost on them. Not many people have the Government purse in their custody and can just draw resources from the national purse at will without any impact on their personal resource. Imagine the International observers that travelled to witness the elections. It’s such a national disgrace. A shame to our nation because one organisation refused to plan well, or planned to fail.
INEC was busy stubbornly fighting with the National Assembly for a 250 billion Naira budget instead of diligently coming up with logistics plan for the elections. All he said was, elections have been postponed. Very easy for him to declare but a joke, a National joke that speaks of the competency of our election umpire.
The second issue is the disruption to individual, National and International activities. People that have planned their weddings, burials, birthdays etc for next week will have to cancel. Tickets purchased for these events, local and international will have to be changed for a fee or lost. Schools that had to go on election breaks may likely continue for another week. It will be difficult for schools to meet up with the calendar with these postponments. Imagine the cost on parents and challenges the institutions would be saddled with. Especially boarding houses that may have to extend their programme by one week to meet up with the curriculum.
There have been suggestions that the elections were primed to fail by INEC internal, and other external forces. But this must be investigated! A class action suit must be filed to deal an unforgettable blow to INEC and other known forces involved. Someone or group must do something beyond the verbal gymnastics on social media. We just must go beyond this kind of charade!