© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Business activities put on hold in Lagos over last minute rescheduling of elections
BUSINESS activities across most parts of Lagos State on Saturday, was partially suspended following the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled to hold today.
As at 10:45 am, youths were seen playing football on major roads while most shops remained under lock.
This was the situation from Ikorodu to Agege, Ifako-Ijaiye, Alimosho, Ikeja among others.
Few people that conducted their normal business activities shared their disappointment over the rescheduling of the elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Businessman, Emmanuel Allison, wondered why the announcement was made few hours to the election proper.
He frowned at the electoral umpire, stressing that the commission had four years to plan for the conduct the elections.
“The problem is Nigeria has refused to change and it does not want to change. The leaders of this country are too backward. How can you tell me election has been cancelled by midnight. Are they not aware of there challenges? If they must postpone it, it should have been done at least a day before.
“The country has been shutdown because of this election. Imagine, many people travelled, if you visit the airport yesterday, you will understand, even the major roads because people really wanted to vote but you will see that next week turn out will be low.”
Another Lagosian, Agbakuru, 69 years old, said INEC had hidden agenda for rescheduling the elections at the 11th hour. He blamed the commission for poor capacity to organise a successful poll.
“I woke up this morning that it was cancelled. I decided to ask that same question, why? I was told materials have not gotten to the states. How long have they been planning the election? You told the general public you were ready and now you are giving a different impression…do they have a different plan?” He queried.
“We all had hope it will start and end today. Let’s know if we have the old or the new president,” Agbakuru said.
A member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), who preferred anonymity, said the announcement of postponement should have have been made early enough rather than the last minute.
“I don’t feel alright at all about this. Some people did not come out at all to their shops because of belief the election will hold.”
However, Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Iju Ishaga Area, Owolabi Disu, said as long as the postponement would ensure peaceful, free and fair poll, there was nothing wrong with the decision.
According to him, it is better to postpone the poll and achieve a free and successful election than to hold shoddy election.
However, the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate in Lagos State, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, urged Lagosians to continue with their normal activities without fear.
Sanwo-Olu, through his verified Twitter handle, @jidesanwoolu, advised the electorate to ignore fake reports on why INEC postponed the elections.
Sanwo-Olu said: “Hello Lagos. As we wake up to the news of @inecnigeria’s rescheduling of the elections, I ask that we remain calm and go about our businesses without fear. Amidst all the theories flying around, the safety of your lives and property is paramount.”
The presidential and National Assembly elections have been shifted to 23rd February while governorship and state assembly would hold on 9th of March.