By Chris Zumani Zimba
As many may know, 16th February 2019 was the official day when Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and most populous country with more than 150 million citizens was scheduled to conduct its presidential and general elections. After serving his first four year term, President Muhammadu Buhari of ruling the party is pitted against his main opposition rival, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). But few hours before the start of the national vote whilst Nigerians slept, the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced last Saturday that it was not yet ready to hold and administer the vote due to logistical challenges beyond its control. Instead, INEC decide to postpone the presidential elections by a week until 23rd February 2019. This means that Nigeria’s 119,973 polling stations remain closed until next weekend; a move which has attracted local and international criticism with both main political rivals condemning the move.
The fact remains that Nigerians must be supported and allowed to delay their presidential elections if the key stakeholder (INEC) openly says they are not ready to administer the presidential vote. The delay can be for a week, weeks, month, months or a year. If someone is eating and about to vomit, allow them to stop eating if he/she says ‘wait, I need to stop eating now because I feel like vomiting’. It is humanly wrong to brutally force such people to keep on eating because they risk being choked to premature death. For Nigeria, forcing them to vote when the institution responsible to administer elections and announce the final winner says the opposite is politically catastrophic and crude national suicide. A delayed well prepared and credible national vote is far better and safer for Nigeria than an ill prepared and facade one that has the potential to breed huge political grievances, countrywide protests, national disunity and civil unrest. The problem is that most Africans and Africa are voting for the sake of the West or donors and not themselves. For example, why are Nigerians subjecting themselves to a BURTAL four year term limit system as if it is in the USA?
Chris Zumani Zimba is a prolific Political Scientist, Analyst, Author, Blogger, PhD Scholar, Researcher and Consultant. Besides being the CEO and Managing Consultant at Chrizzima Democracy University (CDU) in Zambia, he analyses African politics weekly on Voice of the Cape Radio, South Africa every Wednesday at 16:20hours CAT. So far, he has authored more than 10 political and academic books as well as published over 100 well researched articles. Sometimes, he lectures Political Science-Part Time with University of Zambia (UNZA) and University of Lusaka (UNILUS) outside his usual commitments.