Nigeria: Meet Couples Whose Weddings Were 'Postponed' By INEC's Polls Postponement

23 February 2019

Their weddings were set for February 23, but little did they know it would not come to pass. Daily Trust Saturday reports the experiences of Nigerians affected by the postponement of the 2019 general elections.

Four couples, four weddings. Everything was in place for the joining of Miss Ora Idakwoji, Miss Safiya Umar Iyaji, Mr. Ezekiel Wakili, and Mr. Muhammad Aliyu with their partners today, February 23. But this was not meant to be as the bombshell came early in the morning of February 16, when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the 2019 presidential election a week ahead.

Elections have been rescheduled before, but never on the D-day. In 2015, Nigeria's presidential election scheduled for February 14 was postponed till March 28 by INEC, then headed by Professor Attahiru Jega. In October 1991, Atiku Abubakar and Dr. Bala Takaya were vying for the SDP gubernatorial ticket in Gongola State, now part of Adamawa State. Two days before the election, General Ibrahim Babangida banned the two candidates from the gubernatorial contest. The list goes on. In 2011, elections were postponed in some states. National Assembly elections were scheduled for April 2 2011 when they were postponed.

So, unfortunately, weddings may have been delayed before. But this is not an experience to get used to because new couples are never prepared for such on one of the most important days of their lives. One example is the wedding of Miss Ora Idakwoji (now Mrs.), which had to be rescheduled to Thursday, two days after.

"Marrying on a Thursday is the first in the history of the Living Faith Church in Durumi area of Abuja," she told Daily Trust Saturday. "We could not wait till after election, because we do not trust Saturday again in this period of election." So, they had to start calling up friends and family to inform them about the new development. Also, they had to speed up plans. The lady baking their cake had travelled during the period, so they had to book someone else. This meant paying double the usual amount. To add to the rush, they had to finish their marriage class, so they did a marathon of five hours at a stretch with the pastors. It was the only way, if the wedding must take place as scheduled.

"Many of our friends and family said they could not make it because of their personal businesses and other engagements, since the wedding was on a working day," Mrs. Idakwoji explained.

Another disappointed bride is Safiya Umar Iyaji who described the shift in the election date as heartbreaking. They had distributed their wedding cards and booked a hall for the reception, only for them to be left in limbo. But unlike the latter couple, they are taking things slow for the moment.

The implication, however, for them is as plain as day. Change in plans means extra cost. For instance, they may need to reprint invitation cards for dignitaries who will grace the occasion. At present, they have made an effort to keep friends and family posted on the new wedding date through social media platforms, phone calls, SMS and other channels.

Mr. Wakili, a groom-to-be is presently worried about perishables they have stocked for the occasion. They include items such as tomatoes, pepper and several more. This does not make him smile since the wedding date has been lifted to April 13.

So, it's different strokes for different couples. Mr. Aliyu said the election's postponement has had a psychological effect on him. There is the financial burden it has created for them now that their wedding has been shifted to March 2 to enable them make proper arrangements.

"Our friends and family were not happy when we informed them about the change in plans. However, they sympathized with us and promised to give their support. Only God knows why things turned out this way," he said.

Many people had their plans disrupted. Some in the area of their businesses, others for one festivity or the other. Then there is the matter of the nation's resources put injected into the project, including the camping of INEC officials, who included National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, overnight. There is also the risk factor, because a lot of Nigerians travelled to their states to vote. So, the postponement of the 2019 general elections has given Nigerians many stories to tell.

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