The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed the presidential, legislative and governorship elections after an emergency meeting.
The presidential and national assembly elections will now hold on February 23, 2019 instead of February 16, 2019.
Governorship elections earlier slated for March 2, 2019 will now hold on March 9, 2019.
INEC says it arrived at the decision after reviewing its logistics for the exercise.
In a released statement, INEC said “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”.
The statement added that “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.”
Nigeria’s electoral commission says the decision to postpone the vote was a difficult one to take.
“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 International Conference Center”, the statement signed by INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, read.
Suggestions that the election will be postponed emerged a little before midnight of Friday, February 15, 2019 when it became clear that ballot materials were yet to arrive a couple of States, including Niger and Ekiti.
PDP rejects election postponement
The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the rescheduling of the elections.
PDP Chairman Uche Secondus says the postponement is a ploy by President Buhari and the governing APC to cling on to power.
“For the avoidance of doubt the PDP sees this action as wicked and we are also aware of other dubious designs like the deployment of hooded security operatives who would be ruthless on the people ostensibly to scare them away.
“Having failed in all their nefarious options to enable them cling on to power, the APC and the INEC came up with the idea of shifting election, an action that is dangerous to our democracy and is therefore unacceptable”, the statement from the opposition party reads.
The PDP added that by this action, President Buhari has demonstrated his “insensitivity, costing the huge cost after Nigerians including those who came home from abroad have all mobilised to their various constituencies.”
84 million Nigerians registered to vote in the 2019 elections, a 25 percent increase from 2015.
51 percent of registered voters are young people, aged 18 to 35 years.