INEC shifts elections by one week, cites logistic problems

22 deregistered political parties restored by Appeal Court

…PDP kicks, rejects shift

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections to February 23, citing logistics and operations as reasons.

The postponement also affected the governorship, state assembly and FCT council elections scheduled for March 2. The election will take place March 9.

INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made this known in a statement in which he attributed the postponement of all the scheduled elections to logistic and operational problems.

According to him, the postponement will afford the commission the opportunity to address the identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of Nigeria’s elections.

The sudden postponement of the election came followed six hours of meeting between INEC chairman, Yakubu and 12 national commissioners in Abuja.

The meeting began Friday evening ended early hours of Saturday.

Professor Yakubu said the INEC will be meeting all stakeholders at 2pm on Saturday at the International Conference Centre in Abuja to explain the commission’s position.

Presidential and National Assembly elections were scheduled to take place throughout the country today, while governorship and state assembly elections were slated for 2 March.

The national elections are expected to hold at 119,973 polling units across the country while collation of results will take place in 8,809 Registration Areas or Wards, 774 Local Government Areas and 36 States and the FCT.

It would be recalled that this is not the first time that the commission would postpone a scheduled general election.

In 2015, the presidential election was shifted from February 14 to March 28th, 2015; while the governorship and assembly elections scheduled for 28 February were shifted to 11 April over the security challenges in the northeast.

Meanwhile, the leading opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has kicked against the INEC decision saying that it is a strategy to effectively rig the presidential elections.

PDP National Chairman, Chief Uche Secondus who described the shift as an act of wickedness said the party would not accept the shift.

 Secondus said the shift was part of a “grand design by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to thwart the will of Nigerians at all cost”, saying it has clearly exposed the INEC as a failure.

He called on the Chairman of the commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu to resign immediately.

Secondus alleged that the shoddy arrangement for the elections by INEC was a deliberate predetermined agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari to cling on to power even when it is obvious to him that Nigerians wanted him out.

“The PDP leader warns that the party will not accept anything short of a well organised electoral process devoid of manipulation, harassment and intimidation of voters and the opposition particularly members of the PDP.

The INEC Chairman said that the Commission would meet key stakeholders to update them on the development at 2 p.m. on Saturday, at the Abuja International Conference Centre.

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