Nigerians are going to polls today, 23 February 2019 to cast their votes for the next president and members of parliament. This is after the initial election date set for February 16, 2019, was canceled a few hours before voting commenced.
Despite earlier announcing that 84 million citizens have collected their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) and would be eligible to vote in the elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) made a shocking announcement at about 2:45 am on the day of the election that voting had a been postponed by a week due to logistics issues.
This did not come as good news to citizens who had already made plans to cast their votes, with some traveling long distances to enable them to have access to their polling centers. Political parties and candidates who were contesting in the various elections were not left out as they complained of huge losses due to mobilization and payment of party agents and staff.
INEC itself, according to investigations lost over NGN 7billion as a result of the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections.
The amount is said to represent more than 20 percent of the total budgetary allocation made available to the commission for the elections. Critics have since asked how the commission was able to cover for such a loss in time for the elections today.
INEC had set aside N32.2bn for the elections which should have taken place on February 16, 2019. It is on record that 31.3bn was budgeted for operational costs while N88.9m was budgeted for election administrative costs and N786m for miscellaneous expenses.
The entire sum had already been expended as of last Saturday and would have to be generated and spent again within the days leading to the February 23 elections.
On paper, the battle for the presidential seat is a two horse race between the candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), who is also the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari, and the People's Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and two-time vice president of the country, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The country hopes for peaceful and credible polls.
More details as they unfold......
Header Image Credit: Punch