In Nigeria where, according to BBC News, elections have historically been “marred by widespread fraud and intimidation,” citizens were looking forward to voting for their future elected leaders on April 2. Those elections were postponed at the last minute and such postponement elicited a very angry response from Nigerian voters.
Why were the elections postponed?
A procurement blunder of biblical proportions – the voting materials didn’t arrive from vendors in time for the elections! In announcing the postponement, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman Attahiru Jega declared “It is an emergency” according to another BBC article.
This procurement failure has caused many Nigerian citizens to lose faith in their entire democratic system, as they are reportedly finding “it hard to believe any assurances [Independent National Electoral Commission chairman Attahiru Jega] gives, after he expressed confidence last week that all would be well.”
Worse yet, this debacle led to violence. According to Indepth Nigeria, the botched elections “claimed three lives and several people were also wounded on Ekeremo Creek in Bayelsa State…The incident occurred when some youths exchanged gun fires with men of the Joint Task Force.” Additionally, an official presiding over elections at a polling booth “was nearly lynched by the irate crowd [and] regretted that the police officers posted to the polling unit were not armed,” according to New Nigerian Politics. “The security operatives, who tried to rescue him from the angry crowd, were, however, overpowered.”
All because of poor procurement performance.
Of course, officials are blaming vendors and seeking revenge. According to New Nigerian Politics, INEC “has commenced moves to penalize some of its vendors whose failure to supply electoral materials resulted in the postponement of elections.”
The BBC reports that many Nigerians are “wondering how such a fiasco could have occurred and how the contract for printing the ballot papers and result sheets was awarded, and to whom.” However, INEC is being protective of the identity of those vendors. Jega’s Chief Press Secretary said that INEC “was adhering to the terms of the contractual agreements between it and the vendors which stipulates that INEC should not engage in a media trial before meting out the appropriate penalty to the vendor involved” and that disclosing the name of the vendors to the public “will not help the process of penalising anyone who has breached the agreement.”
Everyone who works in procurement makes mistakes. I’m just hoping that no mistake you ever make turns into a disaster like the 2011 Nigerian elections!
Hat-tip to Hassan Mohammed for introducing me to these developments.
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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