By Ambrose Ehirim
The postponement of the February 14 Presidential and Legislative elections did not come to Nigerians as a surprise; it was expected as the speculations about shift in date had already gone viral within the Nigerian social media, even though the Attahiru Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission, the INEC, was in denial about the voters card and distribution, in addition to the security forces engaged in combat with the bloodthirsty cannibals, Boko Haram, and the inability to guarantee voters' safety on the northeast that is home to the terrorist organization. Jega had long before now been convinced and totally sure that he had it gripped in his hands and have calculated with certainty his January 24, 2014 announcement date for February 14, 2015 presidential and legislative election schedules was firm and would not be changed despite the doubts in his accuracy. He had assured Nigerians that there'd be no way elections would not be held on Saturday, February 14, 2015 until the late, late hour, when he had realized the impossibilities of the guaranteed February 14th date to which he hurriedly went on air to announce Saturday night, February 7, that there's a shift, and it would take another 6 weeks before such election could be possible, rescheduling the first part of the elections to Saturday, March 28. I had questioned Jega's pronouncement with certainty that his calculation for Februarey 14 would not be changed, not even considering the effects of Boko Haram and the instability overwhelming the northeast, the Islamic Jihadists terrorists stronghold.
Jega had assumed one year notice to general elections was adequate and appropriate from his scheduling in what would be the decision for Nigerian electorates on who becomes the next president of Nigeria if Goodluck Jonathan is not reelected in which he also had guaranteed the best outcome in the history of Nigeria elections, beginning the First Republic. From that announcement to hold elections on February 14, Jega also came with lots of assurances that past electoral mistakes had been corrected, putting INEC platforms into perspective that gets the job done for freer and fair elections through time -- with references from the Anambra State Guber elections seen as smoother than previously held, and, as an example, to much better results in the future.
Jega was wrong. Jega was not only wrong; he had knew there was no way he could meet up with the February 14 date, while he kept lying about it's certainty and a guaranteed historical election; to be marked as the freest and fairest election ever to be held in the country. With a date suddenly moved, all about Jega and his declarations, and his authenticity toward the Presidential and National Assembly elections are now questionable with the errors difficult to be erased.
The Wiki Link tells us Jega was born on January 11, 1957, and had attended Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, earning a degree in political science, and later proceeded to Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, where he wrote his thesis, earning his doctorate in political science before returning back to Nigeria and joining the Political Science Faculty at the Bayero University. He was nominated by President Jonathan in June 2010 as the new Chair to the INEC, in a meeting (National Council of State) presided by the president himself with former heads of state Shehu Shagari, Ernest Shonekan, Olusegun Obasanjo, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar in attendance. At the meeting was also the Senate President David Mark, then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Oladimeji Bankole, and a majority of the state governors. Jega was unanimously approved, and had replaced the outgoing Maurice Iwu.
Jega takes over and had gone to work to implement electoral reforms with much anticipations the 2015 elections would have no hiccups by the time it arrives and from the assumption of Jega's clean slate.
While Jega was so sure of an election that would hold on a date he had guaranteed, his thinking did not direct him to a certain disturbance in the country where militants had called home and have continued with the quest in their agitation for an Islamic republic, on the premise nothing else could be held other than the Islamic faith and the doctrine of Mohammed, their Messiah, observed through bloodletting in which the militants haven't stopped, and in which they have consistently carried out their terrorist activities with sustained accuracy, indicating the groups' organizational effectiveness.
Not even President Jonathan's last attempt from exhausting all of his options when on May 14, 2013, the president used his executive privileges to enact an executive order, the "Doctrine of Extraordinary Measures" for national interest giving the military and security details orders on the guidelines of the "Rules of Engagement" to combat Boko Haram, with the backing and support of numerous union heads and the people in general as the bloodlust Islamic Jihadists threatens the security and sovereignty of the nation.
Before the bloodthirsty cannibals, the Boko Haram Terrorists resurrected from a number of previous attacks of previous governments, they have not been known until eruption of the Sharia Debacle in 2000 during the Obasanjo administration. Henceforth, Boko Haram started to cause the havoc that would not allow any political play into the nation's political landscape except Sharia and why Islam matters to the republic from around which those who object becomes target as opposed to Islam.
Jonathan's "Doctrine of Extraordinary Measures" was just another slap on the face, and adding insult to dishonor, Boko Haram would strike in numerous occasions even when a new chief of defense staff had been appointed to handle the case of the Islamic Jihad murderous nihilists. Jonathan had appointed Air Vice Marshall Alex Badeh as the Chief of Defense Staff January 2014 with all hopes that Badeh who happens to come from the northeast should be able to identify with his Boko Haram kins and resolve what had been a national nightmare, with reports of who had been the brains behind the funding and operatives of the terrorists. Keeping hopes alive and reason why Nigerians should applaud him, Badeh assured the nation that Boko Haram would be history in three months of his appointment as Chief of Defense Staff. Within 72 hours Badeh had run his mouth of containing Boko Haram, a market in Borno State was bombed and a Catholic church in his hometown, allegedly his parish in Adamawa, also bombed to send a strong message to the air marshall that it wasn't time for kiddie stuff, that they had meant business and should be taken seriously.
With the bombing of the Catholic church in Adamawa, Badeh had nothing else to say, had no other options, at all, until the worst of cases started popping up. More bombings which questioned the strength of the Nigeria military continued apace through the kidnap of the Chibok Girls that received a global attention and a time for global concerns to act swiftly in rescue of the over 200 plus-girls abducted from their dorms in the woods of Chibok. Every other tactic failed and a new hashtag was born, #BringBackOurGirls.
In my article June 8, 2013 titled "Jonathan's Doctrine of Extraordinary Measures and Nigeria's Political Future," I had said Boko Haram was far from over because the capitalist class, the bunch with the cash that keeps the operation of the terrorists alive still have the influence and resources to train and arm the insurgents even with a US bounty of $7 million on information that would lead to arrest of their leader Abubakar Shekau.
Again, we understand Jega's INEC has shifted the elections to March 28, and the question remains what I had asked way before the social media catapulted what was wrong in Jega's date and a realistic terrorists in the northeast where the elections are still questionable and why the elections may not finally hold.