Polls were being thanks to open up at 8 a.m. neighborhood time (2 a.m. ET) Saturday, February 16. The vote will now choose place on Saturday, February 23, authorities mentioned, citing logistical difficulties.
“Adhering to a mindful review of the implementation of the logistics and operational plan, and the perseverance to perform no cost, fair and credible elections, the commission arrived to the summary that proceeding with the election as scheduled is no extended feasible,” the chairman of Nigeria’s Unbiased Countrywide Electoral Fee (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, claimed early Saturday.
“This was a hard decision for the commission to get, but required for the prosperous shipping and delivery of elections and the consolidation of our democracy,” he reported.
Elections for governorships, condition House of Assembly and location councils are on hold until eventually March 9, INEC mentioned.
The announcement was created only 5 several hours in advance of the polls were being supposed to open up. Numerous Nigerians had traveled long distances back to their household city or point out in get to vote, only to locate that the election was postponed. Some could not be ready to repeat the journey subsequent weekend.
The hold off is likely to ratchet up tensions in what is a critical vote in Africa’s most populous nation. Typical life had been place on maintain for the election, with borders closed and motorists urged not to acquire their cars and trucks on the streets.
Addressing another news conference later on Saturday, Yakubu insisted that the hold off had “practically nothing to do with safety, nothing to do with political influence, nothing to do with the availability of source.”
He pointed to troubles like the burning down of 3 regional electoral commission places of work housing voting elements and terrible temperature that prevented ballot papers from remaining flown into some remote parts as currently being powering the determination.
Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, 76, claimed he was “deeply upset” by the electoral authorities’ decision to delay the vote, adhering to their “assurances working day soon after day and virtually hour soon after hour that they are in entire readiness for the elections.”
Buhari is running versus 71 other presidential candidates but his key challenger is Atiku Abubakar, a 72-year-outdated business tycoon and previous vice president.
The major opposition People’s Democratic Celebration (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) accused every other of utilizing the hold off to their gain.
“We condemn the postponement of the elections, but urge our teeming supporters to be affected person and decided,” a statement released Saturday by Buhari’s Presidential Marketing campaign Council browse.
It stated Buhari had totally cooperated with INEC and that the council hoped the fee would “remain neutral and impartial in this approach” and not collude with the PDP.
The assertion alleged that the PDP was “by no means ready for this election,” and accused the bash of using the postponement to “orchestrate much more devious techniques to test and half President Buhari’s momentum.”
In his assertion Saturday, Buhari termed for INEC “to make certain not only that resources already dispersed are safe and do not get into improper arms, but that all the things is performed to stay away from the lapses that resulted in this unlucky postponement, and assure a free of charge and honest election on the rescheduled dates.”
Opposition prospect Abubakar, of the PDP, claimed in a statement on Friday that Buhari’s administration has experienced “more than sufficient time and cash to prepare for these elections” and accused his opponent of delaying the vote in “hopes to disenfranchise the Nigerian voters in buy to be certain that turnout is lower” on the new polling date.
Abubakar urged voters to occur out in even better figures on February 23, including that the APC were “desperate and will do everything in their ability to avoid” currently being turned down by the Nigerian people today.
“You can postpone an election, but you are not able to postpone destiny,” he reported.
Each parties named for relaxed amid fears that voters’ frustrations could boil more than into elevated tensions.
INEC will possible face thoughts over the very last-minute character of its selection and the character of the logistical complications included.
Violence in build-up to elections
The lead-up to the elections has been marked by violence, prompting warnings from the British and US governments that they would deny visas to and possible prosecute anybody observed inciting violence in the course of the vote.
A terror team with one-way links to ISIS claimed accountability for a fatal attack Tuesday on a motorcade carrying the governor of Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state. The Islamic State’s West Africa Province terror group, a breakaway faction of Boko Haram, has staged a selection of substantial-profile assaults in latest months.
Buhari has been criticized for failing to provide on his marketing campaign guarantees to stop the a long time-extended Islamist insurgency that has still left countless numbers displaced in the northeastern section of the West African nation.
Nigeria’s final presidential vote, in 2015, was delayed by many weeks over security issues. The country’s 2011 election was also postponed.
The latest vote comes at…