Thursday, April 12, 2007

Every time I call Nigeria, I am told that they have a public holiday. I always find it strange and wonder how anyone can actually get work done in a country that is constantly on shut down.

As if there weren't enough bloody holidays, OBJ just declared another one. On Wednesday, the Federal Government informed all Nigerians that Thursday and Friday will be public holidays. Banks and other "essential services" are, however, exempt. The government explained that the previously unscheduled holiday was announced to give people time to travel in order to vote in Saturday's state-level elections.

Something smells fishy.

Remember that Atiku is trying to get a decision from the Supreme Court as to whether or not he can participate in the upcoming polls. It was only on Tuesday that Nigerian newspapers reported that the Supreme Court would issue a verdict on Thursday. Well, one can speculate that the Court will be unable to issue a decision because, yes, you guessed right - the nation is on holiday. The Court will also be unable to release its decision on Friday because, yes, you guessed right, again, it will be a public holiday.

I have always heralded the courts as being the one part of the government structure that can and has the ability to be unbiased and I would be extremely pleased if the decision is released, regardless of this two-day 'holiday'. Nothing happened today, but the Court has tomorrow to do the right thing.

If they choose to not announce their ruling until Monday, that will leave only five days to the April 21st election. Assuming that the Court decides that Atiku can participate in the polls, INEC will most likely be unable to hold the elections as planned because it probably needs more than 5 days to reprint ballots and circulate them to the necessary polling stations.

However, if the Court decides that Atiku can not participate in the polls, well, only God knows what will happen. I fear that there will be violence, but hope that tolerance and patience will prevail instead.

I wonder why OBJ continues to take steps that appear manipulative of the demoratic process and quite frankly, desperate. Honesty is always the best policy and as a man who claims to be a born-again Christian, he should be more conscious of his decisions and more aware of their potential consequences on Nigeria, now and in the future. Even if these elections happen as planned without major incident, they will forever be plagued with a cloud of suspicion. Not something an emerging democracy needs.

I guess this is the legacy OBJ has chosen to leave in his wake - desperation, manipulation and impromptu public holidays. He will be leaving these and other questionable elements as an example of how to conduct elections in Nigeria. An interesting example and legacy, indeed.

2 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Nels said...

I swear to you, you took the words right from my keyboard. I have always wondered just how Nigeria could afford to call public holidays all of the time. I remember in the '90s, when Nigeria one some football tornament and they called some long ass period of public holidays for celebration. No respect for time whatsoever. I wonder how many billions would be lost if that was done over here.


I know business people over here that complain mercilessly about the lost productivity regarding their businesses back home. And these are relatively small businesses. So, larger companies must be splitting their skulls open.

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