The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed the feb., 16 polls. The commission made this announcement few hours to the conduct of the polls at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu made this announcement at exactly 2:30am, citing logistical issues as reasons for shifting the polls.
As at 11:00 Pm yesterday,15th feb, the commission went into an emergency meeting with stakeholders. The outcome of the meeting is this chilling shock of polls postponement.
Reasons For Polls Postponement
The commission had assured Nigerians of its readiness to conduct a peaceful and credible polls come feb 16. But few hours to the polls, there was an unexpected and challenging decision by the commission to shift the polls.
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, in a statement released said:
” The Independent National Electoral Commission met on Friday, 15 February 2019 and reviewed its preparation for the 2019 general elections scheduled for Saturday, February 16, and Saturday, March 2.
”Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plans and its determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections, the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the election as scheduled is no longer feasible.
”Consequently, the commission has decided to reschedule the Presidential/National Assembly elections to Saturday 23rd February 2019. Furthermore, the Governorship/State House of Assembly/Federal Capital Territory Area Council elections are 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 elections and consolidation of our democracy.
”The Commission will meet with key stakeholders to update them on this development at 2 P.M at the Abuja international Conference centre”
In addition to logistical issues, there has been cases of targeted destruction and destruction of electoral sensitive materials.
States like Abia, Anambra and Plateau had their INEC offices gutted with fire destroying PVCs and card readers. Such States would need their materials replaced and proper reprogramming done on their card readers.
Despite the backup plans by the electoral commission, a shift has been deemed necessary to perfect credible polls.
Would Poll Shift Creates Voter Apathy?
Poll shift has been met with mixed reactions by the electorates. Some electorates travelled to their voting points to cast their vote, cancelling their schedules for the day.
Most of the electorates frowned at the decision and may not return to vote on the rescheduled day.
The Leading Opposition party, PDP accused the ruling party of been behind the poll shift to disenfranchise electorates. But the ruling party have come out to also condemn the poll shift.
Both parties have called for calm and appeal to electorates to turn out in mass to vote on the rescheduled date.