The System Or The Jinx?

I do not know what a jinxed country looks like but I am willing to accept that a country that finds itself pulled back from the threshold of greatness each time it is one step away, could not be a bad case of a jinxed country.

I found myself thinking about this elusive thing called jinx again and what, if it is to blame, it has done to our country all these years, forcing us, the citizens, in the words of former President Ibrahim Babangida, to witness its rise to greatness only to see it sinks back to a level of wretchedness. It is painful.

We must be wondering, and it is no small wonder, if the postponement of the 2019 general elections by INEC in the unholy hours of last Saturday morning, February 16 was the work of the evil genius called jinx wrecking havoc on us. It is difficult to understand why what was billed to be so right suddenly turned out to be so imperfect. We hurt, all right.

We went so far with the preparations for hitch-free elections and came down this hard with hitches once again. February 16 was to be the big decision day for the 84 million registered Nigerian voters. We were all keyed up to perform our civic duty as good and responsible citizens.

Some Nigerians could not even indulge themselves in the luxury of sleep that night. A vigil became compulsory because the weight of the decision we were about to make through the ballot boxes was so heavy that it banished sleep from our tired eyes aided by the thump, thump sound of anxiety.

We were counting, not just the hours, but the minutes before the polls opened that morning. And then the news dropped on us with the soft grace of a hundred tonnes of bricks wrapped in a sack. It is painful.

We may be amused or irritated in equal measure by the way the politicians are trading blames over the INEC decision to shift the polls from February 16 and March 2 to February 23 and March 9 respectively.

We may be entertained by the many decidedly outlandish conspiracy theories that the politicians weave in their rage and the vain attempts to blame someone or a group of persons for what happened.

But however hard they may try, the inescapable fact is that our country is still unable to distance itself from making a right royal mess of eating yam pottage. Nigeria is bedevilled with a system programmed to hobble our progress as a nation and as a people. So, we rise so often and fall just as often. It is painful.

The failure of an institution, such as INEC, to meet the expectations of the people is its primary responsibility. But the commission is part of the Nigerian system. And that system has never quite acquitted itself in the eyes of the citizens. The fact that this was not the first time the commission acted this way to save itself and the country itself from a worse calamity than disappointment points to something deeper and beyond the commission itself. But we do not want to know.

Sure, when it happened in 2011 and 2015, we thought we would never walk that path again. We thought we had learnt our lessons and gradually consolidated on the conduct of the 2015 general elections.

I think we forgot two things. One, we forgot that this is Nigeria where the indefinable thing called the Nigerian factor easily makes the best laid plans go awry. Two, we forgot that our leaders never gave a thought to why it happened in 2011 and 2015 and how it could be prevented from happening again. Our problem is that we never stop to interrogate why things go wrong. Perhaps, our general elections are too important to be left to the politicians.

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