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Citizens count cost of poll shift, relive forced holiday


Empty Oba Akran road, Ikeja on Saturday. PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

The anticlimax that came with the 2:45a.m. announcement that election had been posted on D-Day was not anticipated or expected. Up until that moment, the stage seem set for the take off of the first round of general elections on Saturday but it was no longer to be. Like a pin punched at a balloon, all expectations of a poll for Nigerians to decide their next leaders got deflated.

Hours after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) made the postponement official, many streets, roads and highways remained empty. Still stunned by the sudden decision, many citizens decided not to venture out of their homes while shops remained locked. It was an unusual holiday never before experienced.

The road from Pen Cinema to Ikeja on Guinness axis (Oba Akran) that used to be very busy was deserted while the numbers of vehicles speeding past the Agege Motor Road could be counted on fingertips. At Ikeja, the usual hustling and bustling was suspended with few persons moving around while commercial bus drivers and tricycle operators made a slow gradual return to the road for business.

This was so because many had prepared for a total shutdown in compliance with the 6:00a.m. to 6:00p.m. restriction on movement for the elections. There was therefore little reasons to be on the road and make immediate arrangement to set out in the city that never sleeps. A young man simply addressed as ‘doctor’ described the situation as an embarrassment.

“Everybody had prepared to vote only to hear the announcement this morning that it has been postponed. Why did they wait till midnight before telling us this? “My child schools outside Lagos and I know the amount of money that brought him home as transport fare. Now I am compelled to look for another fare that would take him back to school on Monday and return him home by Friday, while it would be repeated again next month, with what the economy is saying in this Buhari time.”

A civil servant, Adigun Edun said he was shocked by the information that election had been postponed. “I was flabbergasted, when on calling a friend after seven in the morning, only to hear that the election had been postponed. “This postponement will no doubt offset many people’s plans. If we were notified on time, we would not have gone into some commitments that involved spending money, which has affected many people’s expenses,” he lamented.

One of those terribly pissed by the postponement is Ukeoma Cynthia, a 26-year-old would-be bride, who said the new date this weekend has clashed with her wedding date and that she and her husband is yet to fix a new date.

According to her, shifting a date away from February 23 may not be suitable looking at the Catholic Church calendar and the commencement of Lenten period where Catholic faithful are not allow to hold wedding or any other ceremonies.“We could have had this wedding in December but my husband who resides in the U.S. couldn’t come and his work place gave him only two weeks break. Really this country is sick,” she wailed.

In this article:
2019 ElectionsINEC
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