By Chinedu Eze
The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has attributed the current logistics challenge the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is facing leading to the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections by one week to the neglect of the organisation
The President of NSE, Adekunle Mokuolu, in a statement made available to THISDAY yesterday, explained that the organisation had made a free offer of assistance to INEC but the commission rejected it.
“On December 27, 2018, I wrote a letter, on behalf of the Council of the NSE, to the Chairman of INEC, titled: ‘Offer of institutional support for the 2019 general election.’ In that letter, Nigerian engineers threw their professional expertise at the feet of INEC, offering to give technical advice and render other ancillary services for free, using our vast branches network across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria.
“In our view, such collaborations, coming from a non-partisan and non-governmental professional organisation like NSE, would have sufficed to eliminate any incidences of logistics and operational plans failure. Logistics infrastructure can only be delivered by engineering. Unfortunately, that letter was never acknowledged,” he said.
NSE observed that the rescheduling of elections is fast becoming a recurrent element in the recent account of Nigeria’s democratic trajectory.
It cited February 7, 2015, when offer of assistance for free relied on the advisory from the security agencies to reschedule the presidential and National Assembly elections by six weeks.
“Again, on Saturday, February 16, 2019, just hours to the commencement of the polls, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu of INEC announced postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections.
“Assuming that the reasons of failure of logistics and operational plans adduced by the INEC Chairman are genuine, it is the view of the NSE that the rescheduling of elections is sad, avoidable, embarrassing and has occasioned an enormous waste of financial resources and monumental depletion of our national economy. From calculations by the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Nigeria has lost approximately $1.5 billion for grounding its economy for one whole day,” it said.
It suggested that in moving forward therefore, “we implore governments at all levels to take advantage of the expertise of Nigerian engineers, and indeed, other indigenous professionals in the governance of our nation, to avoid the kind of embarrassment and wastages seen in the recent postponement of the February 16, 2019 election.”