The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rescheduled the general election initially scheduled to start today.
This was made known at a press conference early Saturday morning by the chairman of the electoral body, Mahmood Yakubu.
While INEC postponed the presidential and national assembly elections to February 23, it fixed that of governorship and state assembly on March 9, citing logistics challenges in some states as reason for its action.
“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,” Mr Yakubu said.
“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,” the INEC Chairman said.
Meanwhile, Ayodele Fayose, former Ekiti State governor, Omoyele Sowore, and Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidates of the African Action Congress (AAC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have reacted to the development.
While the former governor and the AAC candidate made their reaction known through their Twitter handles, the PDP candidate reacted through his spokesman, Paul Ibe.
For Mr Fayose, he had earlier predicted the postponement of the election and the action of the commission has vindicated him.
“Two days ago, I told Nigerians that the Presidency cabal were considering postponement of the elections because they knew that they can’t win. Now I’m vindicated. With this, they have only succeeded in making their situation worse. Nigerians will defeat this tyranny ultimately,” the former governor said while attaching a tweet of his earlier claim.
For the PDP flag-bearer the election was postponed because the sitting president, Muhammadu Buhari, already knew he was not going to win a second term in office.
“Shame that Nigerians will wake up only to realise that like a thief in the night, President Buhari’s INEC had postponed the Feb 16 elections they had earnestly looked forward to while they were asleep only because Gen. Buhari was unsure of victory,” he said through his spokesman.
For Sowore, the rescheduled election is the day of punishment for the incumbent administration.
“New date for Nigeria’s Presidential Election is NOW February 23rd 2019…Postponing their day of judgement by one week #TakeItBack,” Sowore tweeted.
Meanwhile, Mr Buhari has vowed that nobody is going to unseat him as president unlike his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan.
Mr Jonathan during his days in office did influenced the postponement of the 2015 general election but this did not stop Buhari from defeating him at the poll.