Now That INEC Has Moved Elections, What Next For My Event?
Saturday, February 16th 2019 is a day Nigerians will not forget in a hurry, or then again, maybe we will, given our collective penchant for moving on very quickly to the next outrageous scandal, but we digress.
By Friday, February 15th, Nigerians were fully prepared to vote. Businesses had shut down, people had traveled to their hometowns, even us good folks at Bounce News had checked into a hotel near the office so there'd be a smooth reportage of events. The stage was set, but alas the concert would not hold.
At 3 am, less than 5 hours to the opening of the polls, INEC announced; despite its repeated reassurances of a smooth election to be held on schedule, that the voting exercise had been postponed to the following Saturday (February 23rd) due to ''logistical reasons''.
What would happen to the people who had already incurred travel costs in journeying to their hometowns to perform their civic duty? People like the trader in Benin who had borrowed money to cook food and sell to voters on queue in the hopes of making a quick buck, and worst of all, folks who had moved their events to February 23rd thinking elections would have been over by then?
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It was like something out of a bad movie, and Nigerians responded accordingly expressing shock and outrage at INEC's insensitivity.
''What will happen to those who have events on February 23rd?'' seemed to be the collective sentiment in the wake of the postponement.
According to Mosunmola Nicole Akinwamide, CEO IPC Events, potentially over 10,000 vendors would have lost their income channels on the weekend of the cancelled elections, and possibly the coming weekend. Also out-of-town wedding guests who had made prior travel arrangements as well as couples who had made prior honeymoon arrangements are just some of the folks who would record losses in the wake of the postponement of the elections.
However, all hope is not lost for those whose events would now have to be rescheduled following the election postponement.
According to Akinwamide, people with events scheduled for the 23rd could consider moving their events to later in the evening, or the following day being Sunday.
Meanwhile for Ifeoluwa Olaniyan, CEO of Goldpillars Events Company, once you can keep your emotions in check, there's no cause for alarm.
''The only issue really is the emotions that would be affected but once you can get it together, everything else can be sorted out'' the planning guru shared with Bounce News.
He's one to speak given the fact that he was in the exact same situation in 2015. All had been set for his wedding till INEC changed election dates last minute-ish and put a dent in plans that had been carefully laid out for months.
So, what to do?
''Get in touch with your hall and find out the next available date. You can either move it forward, or backward. After that reach out to your vendors and be sure they're available on the same dates.''
According to Olaniyan, given the fact that the postponement was a national issue which everyone was aware of, there should be no major issue with rescheduling or refunds.
So what happens in a case where a vendor has an event scheduled for your new date?
''Vendors sometimes sublet. If your vendor is one that can handle more than one event in one day and your event falls on the same as your new date, then you're fine. Your event can be the 2nd or 3rd event without any hitch, but in a case where a vendor can only handle one event per day and your new date falls on a day when they already have an event, then they can sublet it to another contractor and supervise''.
Once a new date for the venue and vendors have been secured, the next step would be to contact your guests, and inform them of the new dates, says Olaniyan.
For Uche Okoedion of Class Eventz, contact your vendors quickly and consider moving your events to either Thursday (before the elections) or Sunday (after the elections).
According to Okoedion, the chances of having an available date for rescheduling are higher on Thursday or Sunday compared to another Saturday.
That said, go forth and rock the life outta your event!