Nigeria’s electoral commission revealed that it had planned to shift the general elections by only one or two days, but was advised to give a week-long period for new preparations.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the vote just 5 hours before the opening of polling stations, citing logistical and operational challenges. The presidential poll will now be held on 23 February.
INEC then held a briefing with election stakeholders on Saturday, where they said the challenges would have affected voting time in some regions hence locking out some voters from casting their ballots.
“Faced with these challenges, we initially thought that we only require a maximum of 24 hours to resolve the logistics issues involved and complete our deployment for the election. This would mean shifting the elections to commence on Sunday 17th February 20l9.
“However, given d restriction of movement during elections, that could affect many votes who worship on Sundays.While the Commission was considering the following Monday 18th February 2019 as an option, our lCT Department advised us that it would require 5-6 days to reconfigure,” INEC said.
Most Nigerian urban were turned into ghost town for the better part of Saturday as millions had traveled upcountry to cast their ballots.
There are concerns that the push in elections may affect voter-turnout as the Nigerians that had traveled may not fancy making second journeys.
The postponement was met with regret by both top parties All Progressives Congress (APC)and People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Both however urged their supporters to remain calm and come out to vote on 23 February.