Election postponement paralyses business activities in Ilorin


By Matthew Denis and Mike Adeyemi

Business activities across most parts of Ilorin, Kwara State capital was paralysed following the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled to hold last Saturday.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed the election to Saturday 23rd of February and 3rd March, citing logistics issues for the development.

A visit by Pilot Business to the commercial centre of the state capital, Ibrahim Taiwo road by 10am revealed that most of the shops were under locks and key.  The roads were deserted and vehicular movement was minimal.

The situation was similar in areas like Sawmill, Unity, Muritala, Ahmadu Bello Way, Ajase-Ipo road, Asa Dam, Surulere, Oja-Oba, Fate and Tanke among others.

Similarly, when our reporter went round the major markets within the metropolis, it was discovered that there were lull in business activities.

The major eateries along Unity road did not also open to customers while the privately owned motor parks in the area were deserted at the time of the visit.

However, some business operators who spoke to this medium expressed disappointment over the election postponement by INEC.

A businessman, Mr. Uchenna Thompson expressed frustration over the development, saying that the country was shut down for nothing.

A restaurant operator at the Post Office area, Chineye Fast Food, Mrs.  Okafor Fidelis bemoaned her loss.

She said: “INEC has failed us and this particular development has adverse economic effect on business activities. In my case, people have been coming to order for food but we couldn’t meet up with their demand because we were not prepared to open for business today because of the election.

Also, the Kwara State Chairman, Road Transport Employees Associations of Nigeria (RTEAN), Alhaji Olayinka Abdulrahman Onikijipa said the situation affected operations of commercial motorists in the state.

“The situation affected our members, particularly those that are into interstate operations,” he explained.

A trader at the popular Yoruba Road market, Ilorin, Mrs. Funke Akande, lamented the huge loss suffered by traders across the state.

Akande said that the election postponement adversely affected the trading sector in the state.

She noted that the postponement would affect the economy adversely in terms of money that the government, political parties and ordinary Nigerians had already expended on logistics.

According to her, the government would have diverted such money to address issues in the area of infrastructure, health, education and payment of workers’ salaries.

On their part, Kwara bakers said they recorded a loss of N15million in one day to the postponed election.

Speaking with this medium on the issue, the Kwara State Chairman Master Bakers Association, Alhaji Fatahi Alaba, berated INEC over the development.

“In compliance with government order, we did not open shop for business but unfortunately, the election was postponed. In Ilorin alone, we have over 350 bakeries whose daily production capacities are worth millions. This development had bad economic effect on us and we are still counting our losses,” he further lamented.

On his part, an Ilorin Insurance expert, Judo Samuel has described the economic loss of the suspended Saturday election to the Kwara State economy as monumental.

She said the cost implication of the postponement on the citizens who abandoned their daily businesses and livelihood just to discharge their civic rights is huge and monumental.

“If it is to be valued in term of monetary loss, it is a big loss to the Kwara State economy”, she noted.

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