Rescheduling of elections is fast becoming a recurrent element in the recent account of Nigeria’s democratic trajectory.
On February 7, 2015, citing an advisory from the security agencies, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under the Chairmanship of Prof. Attahiru Jega, rescheduled the Presidential and National Assembly elections by two weeks. Again, on Saturday, February 16, 2019, just hours to the commencement of the polls, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu of INEC announced postponement of the Presidential and NASS elections.
Assuming that the reasons of failure of logistics and operational plans adduced by the INEC Chairman are genuine, it is the view of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) that the rescheduling of elections is sad, avoidable, embarrassing and has occasioned an enormous waste of financial resources and monumental depletion of our National economy. From calculations by the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Nigeria has lost approximately $1.5 billion for grounding its economy for one whole day.
On December 27, 2018, I wrote a letter, on behalf of the Council of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, to the Chairman of INEC, titled “Offer of Institutional Support for the 2019 General Elections”. In that letter, Nigerian Engineers threw their professional expertise at the feet of INEC, offering to give technical advice and render other ancillary services for FREE, using our vast Branches network across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria. In our view, such collaborations, coming from a non-partisan and non-governmental professional organisation like NSE, would have sufficed to eliminate any incidences of logistics and operational plans failure. Logistics infrastructure can only be delivered by engineering. Unfortunately, that letter was never acknowledged.
Engineering is a global body of knowledge which many nations of the world have utilized to their advantages to achieve advancement in the standard of life and ease of governance. A nation that continues to neglect its domestic capabilities leaves itself open to all manners of interference such as the ones in the guise of expatriate advice from foreign election monitors.
In moving forward therefore, we implore governments at all levels to take advantage of the expertise of Nigerian Engineers, and indeed, other indigenous professionals in the governance of our nation, to avoid the kind of embarrassment and wastages seen in the recent postponement of the February 16, 2019 election.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Engr. Adekunle Mokuolu, FNSE