The Nigeria’s electoral umpire, The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after a lengthy meeting on Saturday shifted the much anticipated 2019 elections and explained why it postponed the general elections.
Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, INEC Chairman, addressed reporters and the media at the press centre of the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s Capital.
The Presidential and National Assembly elections were earlier scheduled to hold on February 16, while that of Governorship and State House of Assembly were expected to hold on March 2.
The INEC Chair, Professor Yakubu, however, told reporters that the polls would not go on as planned due to some challenges encountered by the commission.
According to him, the decision to postpone the polls followed a careful review of the implementation of the logistics and operational plans put in place for the exercise.
The INEC boss reiterated the commitment of the electoral body to conducting a free, fair, and credible exercise.
He explained that the postponement of the elections would afford them the opportunity to address the issues raised, although the decision was a tough one to make.
Professor Yakubu revealed that the commission would inform critical stakeholders in the elections about the new development at a meeting which would hold later on Saturday.
Read the full speech by the INEC boss below;
Ladies and gentlemen, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) met on Friday 15, February 2019, and reviewed its preparations for the 2019 general elections scheduled for Saturday, 16 February 2019, and Saturday 2 March 2019.
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.
Consequently, the commission has decided to reschedule the Presidential and National Assembly elections to Saturday, 23 February 2019.
Furthermore, the Governorship, State House of Assembly, and Federal Capital Territory Area Council elections are rescheduled to Saturday, 9 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 the elections and the consolidation of our democracy.
The commission will meet with key stakeholders to update them on this development at 2pm on Saturday, 16 February 2019, at the Abuja International Conference Centre.