👤 Uthman Muhammed, DENISAURUS News
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has postponed the Presidential and National Assembly elections by a week.
Nigeria’s electoral commission chaired by Mahmood Yakubu announced the decision to hold off the election as voters were getting ready to go to the polls.
This is not the first time elections have been postponed in Nigeria. In 2011 and 2015, elections were not held on the day it was meant to hold. In 2015, under the incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan, the elections were delayed by six weeks.
Despite, the hold off, the Peoples Democratic Party, went on to lose the elections to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress. President Muhammadu Buhari, a former General, then became the first candidate to defeat a sitting President through the polls in Nigeria.
This time, the shift of the polls hours to the election on Saturday might not favour the former General, who has gone on to condemn the election body for the delay.
His main rival, Abubakar Atiku has also condemned INEC for the delay. Both are urging their supporters not to be deterred by INEC’s decision.
Professor Yakubu who blamed “logistic and sabotage” for the last minute shift announced February 23 as the new date for the Presidential and NASS elections.
He said the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections will now hold on March 9, instead of March 2nd.
While some social media critic are calling for the resignation of Professor Yakubu for failing to deliver elections as expected, others want the blame on Amina Zakari who they believe is in charge of logistic.
But this paper can authoritatively state that Okechukwu Ibeanu was put in charge of the operations and logistics committee, after some members of the opposition laid claims that Mrs Zakari was a relative of President Buhari, who could be used to manipulate the results.
2019 Campaign Is Over
DENISAURUS News understands that though elections have been shifted by a week, the closure of campaign from Thursday remains operative.
Professor Yakubu, who was advised from holding the elections on Monday, 18th February, explained bad weather is also to blame for the shift.
He said: “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 the 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 five to six days to reconfigure about 180,000 SCRs earlier programmed to work only on election day Saturday, 16th February, 20l9. It is for this reason that the commission decided to adjust the election dates to Saturday 23rd February 2019 for Presidential and National Assembly elections and a consequential adjustment of Governorship, State Assembly and FCT Area Council elections to Saturday 9th March 2019,” he added.
“The net effect of these is that there is usually roughly a one-month window for the Commission to print ballot papers and result sheets and either fly or transport them to several destinations until they finally get to each polling unit. Unfortunately, in the last one week, flights within the country have been adversely affected by bad weather. For instance, three days ago, we were unable to deliver materials to some locations due to bad weather.
“We therefore had to rely on slow-moving long haulage vehicles to locations that can be serviced by air in spite of the fact that we created five zonal airport hubs Abuja (North Central), Port Harcourt (South-south and South-east), Kano (North-west), Maiduguri and Yale (North-east) and Lagos (South-west) to facilitate the delivery of electoral logistics.
“Apart from these logistical challenges, we also faced what may well be attempts to sabotage our preparations. In a space of two week, we had to deal with serious fire incidents in three of our offices in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia State, Qu’an Pan Local Government Area of Plateau State and our Anambra State office at Awka. In all the three cases, serious disruptions were occasioned by the fire, further diverting our attention from regular preparations to recovery from the impact of the incidents.”