It is no longer news that the highly anticipated Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled to hold this Saturday, the 14th of February has been postponed by six weeks. It would have marked the climax to all the politicking and electioneering campaigns that have been in full swing these past few months. But beyond that, it would have made for an interesting and intriguing mix of water and oil in the mold of something as serious as the elections of the most populous black nation in the world taking place at the same time as the celebration of lovers day which can be arguably described as mundane. When the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced last year that the Presidential and Legislative elections would hold on the 14th of February 2015, a day widely celebrated in many parts of the world as St Valentine’s day, many received the news with mixed feelings.
I received the news with amusement and immediately began to speculate on how the events of that particular day would unfold seeing that the elections would almost certainly throw a spanner in the works of what should have otherwise been a memorable day for many valentine’s day celebrants, especially considering the fact that finally it falls on a weekend! A Saturday when most people don’t have to go to work, and so the excuse of being too busy or working late would not have arisen. A Saturday when family, friends and lovers can have ample time to spend together without the attendant pressure of work and the general restlessness that accompanies activities during weekdays. Saturday is perhaps the best day to celebrate any event at all including valentine. And so quite a number of people, particularly the ladies felt hard done by the “insensitivity” of INEC in scheduling a serious national event of far reaching implications on a day reserved for the sentimental and mushy stuff. To them, there is absolutely no correlation between elections and valentine.
On the other hand, a substantial fraction of the male population were ecstatic. INEC had just presented them with a leeway! The best gift ever after they appeared to have been boxed into a corner by the prospect of having no excuse not to spend time with or splurge on their partners. The men needed little or no explanation in gaining the understanding of their significant other even if grudgingly. There was no point fighting a lost cause, the elections would most likely take up the whole day and no boyfriend, fiance or husband could be blamed for that. The odds were against the ladies…the “Association of Boyfriends, Fiances and Husbands” had this in the bag already (or so they thought) and even though promises had been made to make it up at a later date, the realists among the ladies knew better than to hold their breath for that, sadly accepting that val’s day 2015 was already a bootless errand and they would have to wait another year to reap the benefits of the day. But, like every other thing in Nigeria, nothing was set in stone.
Fast forward to the 7th of February, 2015, exactly a week to the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the rumors of the election postponement became a reality. It turned out that INEC had one more card left to play. The elections had been shifted by six weeks due to the lack of guaranteed security by the Nigerian Army. Suddenly, a lifeline was provided, the “Valentinos” and “Valentinas” had their day back! The hitherto unhappy owners of hang out spots, restaurants and shopping malls couldn’t believe their good fortune. The miserly or broke boyfriends/husbands now find that the tables have been turned, and worse still they have less than a week to make things happen. The men have been lamenting and cursing under their breaths at the “unfortunate” turn of events, but it appears to be too late now.
February 14 is only a few days away…the expectant are expecting. It sure will be interesting to see how things play out as I suspect that there will be no scarcity of drama and intrigue from the fallout of an unrequited love or thwarted valentine’s day shenanigan. Let the show begin already!