In the early hours of today, February 16, 2019, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the postponement of the general elections which were supposed to take place today.
The new dates for the elections have been set for February 23, 2019 for the presidential and House of Senate elections, and 9 March, 2019 for the Gubernatorial and House of Representatives Elections.
The electoral body said the elections were postponed as a result of challenges experienced from logistics and operations.
Speaking on the postponement, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu who briefed journalists at about 2:43am this morning in Abuja said the commission had met on Friday, 15th February 2019 and reviewed its preparations for the 2019 General Elections scheduled for Saturday, 16th February 2019 and Saturday, 2nd March 2019.
“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, said Yakubu.
"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.
“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. “The Commission will meet key stakeholders to update them on this development at 2pm on Saturday, 16th February 2019 at the Abuja lnternational Conference Centre”, he said.
Citizens and observers have expressed huge disappointment at the decision of the electoral body to postpone the elections saying it portrays a negative image for the country.
A United States of America based attorney, Mr. Stanley Ozuzu, expressed regret that “the rescheduling has brought national and international embarrassment to Nigeria’s corporate image”.
According to Mr. Ozuzu, “INEC is supposed to be an Independent body, but I doubt if the Commission’s decision to postpone the elections was not forced down it’s throat by extraneous outfits or persons.”
In his reaction, the leading opposition leader and former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar said the Buhari administration had more than enough time and money to prepare for these elections and the Nigerian people were poised and ready to perform their civic responsibility by voting in the elections earlier scheduled for Saturday, 16 February 2019.
“I call on all Nigerians to be patient. We have tolerated the maladministration of this government for four years. We can extend our tolerance a few more days and give them our verdict via our votes.
“Maintain the peace and be law abiding. Do not react to this provocation with anger, violence or any action that might be exploited by those who do not want this election to hold. Remain calm. We will overcome this. You can postpone an election, but you cannot postpone destiny,” he said.
More details to follow soon.....
Header Image Credit: The Guardian