Logistic challenges behind Nigeria elections delay

Nigeria’s electoral commission says the presidential election has been postponed for over a week due to unspecified challenges.

FILE: Placards with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari, are displayed during a campaign rally at the Sanni Abacha Stadium in Kano, on 31 January 2019. Picture: AFP.

NIGERIA - Most Nigerians will wake up on Saturday morning to the news that The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed the general elections by a week, less than five hours to the start of the polls.

Nigeria’s electoral commission says the postponement is due to unspecified challenges amid reports that voting materials have not been delivered to all parts of the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking a second term of office but is facing a stiff challenge from the main opposition candidate, former vice president Atiku Abubakar.

According to the commission, the presidential and national assembly elections, initially scheduled for Saturday, 16 February, will now be held on February 23. While the governorship and state houses of assembly elections will take place on 9 March.

The announcement of the postponement came after most Nigerians had gone to bed with no idea that they will wake up on the day of the election with the shocking announcement that the poll has being shifted by a week.

The Independent National Electoral Commission chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, cited logistics challenges in some parts of the country as the reason for the shift.

“Following a careful review of the implementation of this logistics and operational plan and the determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the election as scheduled is no longer visible.

“The commission has decided to reschedule the national and presidential assembly to 23 February. This was a difficult decision to take but necessary for the successful delivery of elections.”

The commission has vowed to give more details at a briefing later on Saturday.

In 2015, Nigeria delayed the election by six weeks over insecurity.