Nigeria delays its election; candidates rush back to capital

18 February, 2019, 12:28 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Supporters on camels hold banners of the ruling All Progressives Congress party during incumbent President Mohammadu Buhari's presidential campaign rally in Kano

"It has nothing to do with security, nothing to do with political influence, nothing to do with availability of resources", Yakubu, chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), told a gathering of foreign election observers and reporters.

It was leant that following the refusal of the key leaders of the INEC Election Management Board to comply with the option of staggered presidential elections, the forces chose to reach a number of staff of the commission, who were said to have colluded in frustrating the delivery of sensitive items at the different states of the federation.

"You can postpone an election, but you cannot postpone destiny", Abubakar tweeted. The president had cooperated fully with the commission to ensure it had everything it had demanded to conduct free and fair elections, it said in a statement.

But reacting, Fani-Kayode said if Buhari sacks INEC Chairman, he would not only lose power but bring shame to himself.

The electoral commissioner blamed "very trying circumstances" including bad weather and apparent arson attacks at three election offices as he explained his decision to delay polling by a week, announced shortly before 3am on Saturday.

The said statement was jointly signed by the leader of the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission, former President of Liberia, Johnson Sirleaf, African Union Election Observation Mission leader, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn and Commonwealth Observer Group leader, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr. Jakaya Kikwete.


A spokesperson for Buhari's campaign committee, Festus Keyamo, accused Abubakar's party of causing the delay to create a "breather" and try to slow the president's momentum.

Elsewhere, some Nigerians turned to playing football instead, or anguishing over rescheduling weddings, exams and other milestones because of the voting delay.

He said with the shifting of the election by one week, campaign period by political parties had shifted and would only end 24 hours to the election.

Nigerians expressed dismay and anger over the delay, "I spent my money, my time, my energy for the elections, so actually I am not happy", student Dauru Balarab said in President Buhari's hometown of Daura in northern Nigeria.

Past elections in Nigeria have been marred by violence, intimidation and ballot-rigging, and the postponement raised the possibility of unrest. This election is a referendum on his record on insecurity, the economy and corruption, all of which he has been criticized by some Nigerians for doing too little too slowly.

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