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Opinion: A Nation of False Outrage

On the morning of 16th February 2019 – a day that had been slated for the general elections to hold by INEC for almost four years – Nigerians woke up to the news that the elections had been postponed due to, although not clearly stated in the letter released by INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, logistics and operational issues.

Independent National Electoral Commission

There are two things we do well as a people; laugh and rage. And oh, did we rage. From politicians – who themselves are privy to the inner workings of Nigeria’s complex terrain the ordinary Nigerian has no wind of – to journalists, to celebrities, to paid social media influencers; the entire nation was agog with disillusionment and anger.

How could INEC do this to the thousands of Nigerians (both at home and in the diaspora) who had traveled miles to their hometowns to be able to cast their vote?

Why wait until the early hours of the morning when “most decent Nigerians have gone to bed”, to inform the electorate that they will no longer be voting?

How could INEC leave thousands of NYSC corp members they had employed as ad hoc staff stranded at various polling units across the country?

And, of course, there was plenty of comedy to go around.

Finally came the theories and antithesis about the prominent political parties having a hand in the postponed elections. In these days filled with paid influencers and media aides and youth leaders who have sold their consciences to the highest bidder, it is sometimes difficult to separate the truth from the chaff.

But now what happens?

We rant and rave and still nothing changes. Our people are getting poorer while the rest of the world leaves us behind.

Anger is a valid emotion but emotion alone will not lift Nigerians out of poverty; it will not help us align our potential as a resource-blessed, people-rich, creativity-packed nation to a reality of such.

We laugh so much at the very things that are killing us. We call it a defense mechanism, but often times what it is, simply put, is a prison cell.

We have been saying “Enough is enough” for decades now, but when will it truly be enough?

The power is in the hands of the electorate. I hope that you brave the odds, the setback and betrayal and go to the polls on the 23rd of February. I hope you vote your conscience, because the power to change this dear nation rests with you and I.

Featured image source: Dawn

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Ibiene Bidiaque

Ibiene loves poetry and good books. She is the author of a collection of poems and short stories, 'Loving Gladys' (2020).

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