2nd April, 2011
12 noon: The long anticipated first Saturday of the 2011 election had arrived. The anticipation, palpable in the last few days had reached fever pitch from the bloggers to the social network users to the man on the street. Even though for various reasons (including chronic procrastination) I was not able to register in January, I followed the build up like everyone else, watched the debates as many others did, and argued over the candidates with others. There was a polling center just down the road and people had been waiting eagerly for the election materials to arrive and for voting to begin. Some had be waiting for more than 3 hours. Going through status updates on my Facebook account there was a feeling among people that the election would be free and fair and our votes will count this time.
1 pm: Accreditation had taken place but voting was yet to begin as the materials had not yet arrived. a helicopter flew past. Maybe their bring the materials from Abuja… or it is just another VIP coming to town. Then the rumors started coming. I came across a status saying that the elections had been cancelled, then on Sahara Reporters, then on more status updates and tweets and then on Reuters. The fellow who broke the news at the polling booth was literally mobbed with abuses. How can he be playing the ‘April fool’ prank on the 2nd of April. But then the prank turned to fact. Prof. Jega was unable to organize elections properly. Then the rumors as to what happened then began to fly: ‘The materials were to come from Japan, and they came in late because of the earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear wahala. in fact they came in at 9:00am this morning to Abuja and were then flown in by chopper.’ As expected foul play was suspected from the PDP who were not ready to play (and lose) fair and square and sought postponement in order to properly rig it. Other resorted to the usual ‘Nigerian’ apathetic optimism and comic cynicism with statements like ‘we will get there’ or ‘so this is what we wanted to the Americans to learn from from Nigeria on how to conduct elections?’ (in reference to Jega’s predecessors laughable comment)
4pm: I came across another update on Facebook:
New Word in English Dictionary:
Jega: /v/ je-ga. The act of stupidly wasting the time of a lot of people whilst keeping them under hot sun. E.g the groom Jegged his bride for another girl!, Why are these embassy officials making up Jega without telling us anything?, After Jegging for 3 hours I finally got on a bus.
The elections had been postponed to Monday and Prof. Jega has created one more public holiday in 2011. Exams on campus will be cancelled surely along with other thing that Nigerians had to do on Monday. I believe this setback will not not dampen spirits and people will come out to vote on Monday the 4th. Let hope we don’t get Jegged again.
*As it seems the election have been postponed again to the 9th. We are watching.