NIGERIANS are determined to save their country. They may never get credit for the efforts they make to get the country going, but there are instances when the Nigerian spirit is too obvious to ignore. March 28 was one of such days when the patriotism of the Nigerian was put to test. Nigerians excelled.
While the ineptitude of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, stood between them and voting, Nigerians saved the day. Stories of late delivery of election materials, the late decision to revert to manual accreditation, hours after the smart card readers were not meeting expectations, did not produce the agitations that would have been expected. Nigerians wanted to vote and nothing could stop them. The elderly, some on wheelchairs, all trooped out.
INEC officials arrived late or without adequate materials, they waited. Card readers did not work, they were patient. They refused to be instigated by the inabilities of INEC, now blamed on its logistics partners, to get the materials to the destinations.
Neither the sun, nor the downpour, could disperse the long queue of voters. They improvised electricity when darkness came and saw through processes that produced the atmosphere that held the country together. Commendations for the setting go to the people, whose major peaceful conducts eclipsed the few violent incidents in some places.
If Nigerians were unwilling to accommodate the lapses that attended the elections, we would have had a different situation. It is also important to note that the people were able to take their own decisions to be peaceful, not following some of the most inflammatory messages that preceded the elections.
We are again on the verge of glossing through the activities of INEC and adding them to national lamentations that are meant to remain unaddressed. When would we have elections without complaints about late arrival of materials? Would INEC staff ever be trained enough to do their work? Are Nigerians content with the quality of service INEC provides each election season?
However, nothing would be done to correct them until elections are seen as serious affairs that should be accorded importance for their central roles in the enthronement of democratic governments. No explana-tions are adequate to ameliorate the impact of INEC’s lapses.
While INEC should be praised for the introduction of the smart card reader that made rigging harder, it should accept responsibility for the lapses at various polling booths, which the people overlooked because the most important thing to them was casting their votes.
Our electoral processes should be built on more certainty than the temperament of the people which could be different on a different day.