MORE questions continued to be raised than answers as Nigerians bemoan postponement of the general elections earlier schedule to hold this month. There are various conspiracy theories, insinuating that President Goodluck Jonathan, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Service Chiefs are hobnobbing for egocentric agenda over the elections.  There are also claims that the elections may either be rigged or there could be imposition of an interim national government.
Those in the ruling party and the federal government have argued that rescheduling of the general elections was in the best interest of the nation and was never driven by any ulterior motives.
There could not have been a better avenue to clear the cloudy issues surrounding the postponement than a nationwide presidential media chat, hosted by the President himself which was broadcasted live. President Jonathan used the opportunity to assured of the citizens that a new democratically elected government will be sworn in on May 29 and he remained committed to the sanctity of the new election dates.
The president further reassured Nigerians through his Spokesman, Ruben Abati that  he would continue to give the greatest possible support to INEC and other relevant federal agencies to ensure that the rescheduled elections are successfully conducted.
While we expressed our misgiving and doubting the ability of our military to make Boko Haram a thing of the past, the National Security Advisor (NSA) retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki assured the citizens that elections will not be postponed again as the military are expected to destroy all camps of terrorists within six weeks.
Notwithstanding that he was cynically criticized, Colonel Dasuki, during a speech in London on January 22 was the first official of the administration to canvass the postponement idea, he had based the call on shortfalls in the distribution of the permanent voter cards and other security implications.
Debunking allegation of attempt to impose an interim government in the country, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke said “the contraption called ‘Interim National Government’ is alien to Nigeria’s constitutional framework and the arrangement should not be promoted by well–meaning Nigerians under any guise or circumstance. Nigerians are therefore enjoined to continue to rely on the Constitution, which contains adequate provisions on how the democratic process can be activated to elect their leaders from time to time.”
Conscious minds were pre-informed before the official announcement of the postponement that in addition to difficulties in distributing voter identity cards by INEC, the rampaging activities of the Boko Haram insurgents had reached such an astronomical extent that a fair conduct of an election in the troubled North-East region requires extra-ordinary security measures. And this is exactly what the security chiefs had promised to provide, thus wrote INEC chief, Attahiru Jega urging a delay on the grounds that the military could not provide nationwide election security because all available resources were being deployed to the northeast to fight Boko Haram.
Despite sustained military offensives in flushing out of terrorists from their camps through combined efforts of Multinational Joint Task Force comprising Nigerian, Chadian, Cameroonian and Nigerien troops, the Boko Haram still carried out another attack in Gombe on Saturday February 14, 2015, the initial Election Day that was rescheduled. Certainly, if the election was held, the attack might have been more deadly and probably would have affected other communities and towns if it was not shifted.
Sentiment aside, the increasing security challenges require more cautions. The adjustment of the dates of the conduct of election is necessary to guarantee reasonable level of security as well as allow other voters who have not collected their permanent voter cards do so before the re-scheduled dates for elections. However, the government should not use this as a pretext to manipulate the election process to give any undue advantage to some politicians to edge out others. The consequences of such actions may severely threat political stability and oneness of our dear nation. This is the major fear of Nigerians.
There was Nigeria. There is Nigerian and there should be Nigeria after the elections. Therefore political leaders in the ruling and the opposition parties must understand that their actions will go a long way towards sustenance of democracy in a united nation.
After the elections, winners and losers must emerge and our nationhood will continue. It is necessary to warn unpatriotic individuals and militants who are threatening to cause confusion and civil unrest during and after elections if their preferred candidates lose, such reckless and inciting statements should be avoided for national peace.
Sovereignty and togetherness of multi-ethnic Nigeria at this critical time requires all hands on deck for free, fair and transparent elections.