© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
INEC reschedules Saturday’s general elections for February 23
THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for today till February 23.
The postponement, which was announced by INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, just five hours before voting was scheduled to commence nationwide, came after several hours of meeting by the leadership of the electoral body in Abuja.
The INEC Chairman said that the elections had to be postponed due to logistical challenges.
“Following careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan and the determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections, the Commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible.
“Consequently, the Commission has decided to reschedule the Presidential and National Assembly Elections to Saturday, 23rd February 2019. Furthermore, the Governorship, State House of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Elections is rescheduled to Saturday 9th March 2019.
“This will afford the Commission the opportunity to address identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of our elections.”
Yakubu said it was a difficult decision but became necessary to consolidate Nigeria’s democracy.
It was gathered that when President Muhammadu Buhari was briefed on the situation and the possibility of the postponement, he was angry and said that the INEC chairman should resign if he knew he could not conduct the election this Saturday, a reliable source told The ICIR.
The source at the Presidential Villa told our reporter that Buhari was livid with the news of possible postponement of the elections and had observed that the INEC chairman could not put the government and country to shame by postponing the polls in the 11th hour, swearing that he would go and vote at 9.00 am on Saturday.
News of a possible postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections emerged on Friday night, particularly fuelled by the marathon meeting of INEC leadership. Earlier, reports from many states indicated that the distribution of voting materials had not gone well in many states.
As at the time the INEC leaders were meeting in Abuja, a source said that it could boast of having delivered all sensitive and non – sensitive election materials to about half of the 36 states.
It was gathered that INEC considered postponing the elections for two days, until Monday, February 18, to allow it some time to distribute voting materials to all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
Some governors, The ICIR learnt, had complained that voting materials have not been delivered to their states.
All along, INEC had told the world that it was ready for the election.