Posted April 5th, 2011

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By: Kazeem Olowe

April Fools' Day is celebrated in different countries around the world on the April 1 of every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools' Day, April 1 is not a national holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day when many people play all kinds of jokes and foolishness. The day is marked by the commission of good humoured or funny jokes, hoaxes, and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, teachers, neighbors, work associates, etc

Although, the day is usually first of April but the INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega made his own April fool on 2nd of April, 2011. Jega who is the chief executive officer of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is aware of the fact that Nigerians needs a free and fair elections and are desperate to have one; used his position of office to fool the whole nation with his “trial election”

The National Assembly elections which was scheduled for 2nd April 2011 was billed to start with accreditation of voters between 8am and 12noon while the voting proper starts at 12.30 pm. As stipulated the exercise started as early as 8am with the restriction of movement of vehicles nationwide and patrol vehicles of security operatives were noticed moving from one polling unit to another. Report has it that accreditation started as early as 8.50am in some part of the country while people were complaining lack of INEC staff and materials in many parts.

To exhibit his skill in fooling millions of people, Prof Jega who is a Professor of Political science made a nationwide broadcast around 1pm on Saturday April 2nd calling off the NASS elections due to logistics reason. He said the election has been postponed till Monday, 4th April 2011.

He said all of the materials are already in the country and some have even reached the states. He said the disappointment was caused by a vendor who was supposed to deliver the materials by Thursday (Why waiting till Thursday?). According to him they did not deliver on Thursday because they said several Boeing 747's were being used for the relief efforts in "Japan and Libya" and this affected their transportation plans. They assured the materials would arrive by Friday (A day to our national election and he kept on saying all is well). Aircraft were already on standby at airports to transport the materials across the country (Does he know that Nigeria has a compact area of 923,768 square kilometers and 356,376 square miles; 36 states; 774 local government; 9752 political wards and Tens of thousands polling boots?)

He said unfortunately, the materials did not arrive in Lagos until 9:00am this morning (Election day: He kept mum and people said he knew what he was doing).

After fooling millions of Nigerians by calling off the elections in the first day, the INEC boss appealed for calm but unfortunately, our most revered Prof Jega fooled and disappointed Nigerians again by shifting the election again till Saturday April 9th 2011 on account of stakeholders wish; after meeting with the representatives of political parties on Sunday.

The move threw most Governor into confusion as most of them started reversing their work free order for Monday April 4th 2011. Lazy workers were complaining for lack of preparation for work on Monday morning due to previous work-free order from state governments.

Some Nigerians perceived that Prof. Jega’s April fool is still on as they keep asking question on how Prof Jega will get the logo and names of some political parties that are missing on the ballot paper fixed within a week considering the time he used to prepare the first one and the “Japan and Libya” issue; bearing in mind that the ballot papers are not printed in Nigeria!.

Are we going to get another April fool from Prof. Jega? ….. Only time will tell

Kazeem Olowe

Public Affairs Analyst

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