By Mercy Okafor – Friday February 15, 2019.
The Nigerian Presidential Elections built for Saturday, February 16, 2019, has been postponed, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, charged with electoral activities in Nigeria has said.
Rotimi Oyekanmi, the chief press secretary to INEC’s chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, noted the commission had taken a decision after a crucial meeting attended by the chair and twelve (12) national commissioners.
Speaking to National Telegraph amongst other news organs at about 2:40AM Saturday February 16, 2019, in Abuja, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chair of INEC said the commission met on Friday, February 15, 2019 and reviewed its preparations for the 2019 General Elections earlier scheduled for today.
The statement continued that INEC has decided to shift the Presidential and National Assembly elections to Saturday, February 23, 2019.
Prof Yakubu went on that the commission would later toady be meeting with key stakeholders at the International Conference Centre in Abuja to discuss issues surrounding the development.
“Following a 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, INEC boss said.
Prof Yakubu added that “Consequently, the Commission has decided to reschedule the Presidential and National Assembly Elections to Saturday, February 23, 2019.
The Governorship, State House of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Elections has been rescheduled to Saturday March 9, 2019, National Telegraph has gathered.
The postponement, Prof Yakubu opined would afford the Commission the opportunity to address identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of the elections.
“This was a difficult decision for the Commission to take, but necessary for the successful delivery of the elections and the consolidation of our democracy, Prof Yakubu has said.
This announcement from INEC that comes five hours before the polls could be traced back to the past weeks. Many persons converged on INEC offices with thousands of electronic smart card readers and voter cards destroyed.
A source at INEC told National Telegraph there have been shortages of election material in some thirty-six (36) states, including key cities like Abuja, Lagos and Calabar.
Incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari running on the ticket of the All Progressives Congress and erstwhile Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party took center stage of the campaigns, dominating media coverage despite seventy-three (73) registered presidential candidates in all.