"Now, Prof., this issue of PVC or PCV or whatever you
people call it; how far with the distribution?"
The INEC Chairman had a good laugh. "Sir, it is called
PVC, that is, Permanent Voter's Card."
"OK, Prof., that's OK. Now back to my question. How is
the distribution so far? The election is a few weeks
Jega scratched his long gray beard. "Oh, sir, on the PVC, so far so good! We have been able to distribute over 30 million of the cards to registered voters across the federation." Jega was all smiles as he said that to his august visitor. The way he smiled, you could tell he expected the NSO to give him a pat at his back for a job well done. Unfortunately, Dasuki had other ideas under his sleeves.
He said Jega, "Prof., don't you think with the large
number of registered voters we have in the country, that
30 million you mentioned as the cards given out, is
just a miserable pittance?"
"No, no sir!," said Jega, standing up. "I can assure you
that the Commission is working round the clock to ensure
that between now and the 14th when the first election
will hold, over 80% of registered voters will receive
their PVC. That I can assure, sir."
Dasuki shook his head. "That can't be, Prof. Between
now and the 14th, I can't see any magic you're going to
perform to meet that target you have set."
Jega looked intently into the eyes of Dasuki. "Sir, I
know what I'm saying. Just wait and see. This is not a
matter of guesswork. We shall meet the target,"
Professor Jega reassured the NSO.
Obviously, the NSO was not buying into all that Jega was
labouring to impress on him. He could not see the
Commission handing PVC to 80% of registered voters
before the first election day.
"Now listen to me, Professor Jega. As a way out, have
you considered the idea of postponing the elections,
say, for three months to allow your Commission to do a
thorough job? You know failure in this election will
spell doom for this country. Prof., I know you don't
pray for that."
The INEC Chairman was nonplussed. He didn't know what to
say to Dazuki's suggestion that the election be
postponed! To him, that was suicide!
"Prof., I'll help you out since you appear confused,"
continued Dasuki. "You know the law, but you're afraid
of what the public would say once you announce a
postponement. I think you should rather err on the side
of truth than to do nothing and allow the country to
burn, all because you're afraid to act. You can postpone
the election for three months to give you room to tidy
up things. The law permits such limited postponement. So
I leave you to consider what I have said." End of
The NSO had just flown a kite to see how it would go
down well with the rest of the country. However he was
sure Jega knew what to do with the very important issue
he had come to discuss with him.
The main opposition party, APC, reading mischief to the
idea of postponing the election, has cried foul! Even
the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, in his recent
visit to Nigeria has warned that for no reason should
anyone contemplate on postponing the forthcoming
elections. I agree with him. I can still remember how
the June 12, 1993, presidential election was annulled
even though the election was declared Nigeria's freest
and fairest. I ask: How many rivers must we cross before
we can learn our lesson? The answer is blowing in the
air. I think a word is enough for the wise.
Sly Edaghese, Lagos.