April 4th, 2011
As Nigerians, we must face the reality that
the INEC Chairman has spoken and it matters not whether his
reasons for postponing the April 2nd parliamentary election
to Monday are realistic or not. Why, because we are in a
What is clear is that we need an environment where this
crisis could be managed effectively. There is no doubt that
on a psychological and spiritual level, this sudden
occurrence is a major event that threatens to harm the faith
we have in the system.
INEC, on behalf of the general public should effectively
manage the threat posed by this huge matter as it relates to
the element of surprise, and we all expect a short decision
time for this to be done.
Jega has told us that he saw what was happening in the last
few hours as a crisis which needed to be quenched, that is a
process of transformation that needed to climb above
existing failures. As for the chairman, this issue need not
be maintained but corrected immediately for change sake.
According to Jega, if the change is not proceeded with the
episode could become more of a national humiliation and
fiascoóno one wants such doom.
To the credit of President Jonathan, instead of remaining
outside the nationís capital (as he was reportedly in his
home town), mistakes we have seen before, even among leaders
in the western world; he returned to the capital
immediately, and took the first instant step required in
risk management, which involves assessing would-be threats
and discovering for the people the best ways to avoid
further complications to this threat.
In the broader context of managing this political crisis
every INEC worker and those involve in executing the
elections must immediately be trained in crisis management
skills in addition to other skills and techniques required
to pinpoint, assess, understand, and cope with any serious
situation, especially from the moment it first occurs to the
point of when the regaining procedures start.
According to the Nigeriaís electoral commission, some States
have already began voting, therefore the sacredness of those
completed ballot papers in todayís parliamentary vote, must
This is not the time for casting blames or passing emotions
across personnel or stakeholders at this time. There will be
time for that!
Because the conduct of elections falls through the 4th, the
9th and the 16th of this month, Jega must show not through
apology, but through competence that within this short
period of time, that all regional constituents, INEC
facilities, finances and above all its reputation does not
remain in crisis.
Jega must realize that good crisis management is an art in
decision making required to reduce or mitigate the effects
of this current episode, something needed now while the
incident itself is unfolding.
Jega should realize right now, while corrective decisions
are being made workers and management as well as the INEC
institutions are under stress, therefore there is need to
watch out for more mistakes such as missing key pieces of
information that are needed now.
Essential planning is needed now in order to best position
INEC for the coming elections beginning April 4th. so as to
reduce further chaos and doubts over what could happen next
in terms of maintaining proper logistics.
Jega must help the workers or those involve in the electoral
work engage in a series of positive behaviors (e.g. Restful
sleep, take a break, support personnel, releasing muscle
tension , good food habits, sit in a comfortable chair,
These tips are important to enhance better time management
as they relate to quick manning of the polling units,
focused entering of the results in the sheets, upholding the
integrity of the ballots as well as preserving the effective
overall control of the voting process.
This is a very critical and sensitive time for all of us and
we must avoid planting into the consciousness of some people
words of apprehension, upheaval, manipulation, or division.
What Jega needs now in this short period is an unwavering
support from all Nigerians as we join together to fight this
sudden uproar, and if the transmission of free, fair and
credible elections is what we yearn for letís take Jega for
his stressful words, and with this little delay the
credibility of the elections will be fully or almost
ensured. God bless Nigeria.
John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D., DABPS; FACFE; is a Licensed
Clinical/Forensic Psychologist; Diplomate of American Board
of Psychological Specialties; Fellow of American College of
Forensic Examiners (For Psy); Former Interim Associate Dean
and an Assistant Professor of Psychology, Broward College -
North Campus, Florida. firstname.lastname@example.org