By Andrew Onyejuruuwa
After years of preparation and deploying human and material resources, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections earlier scheduled for today February 16, 2019 by one week. The commission also announced that it has rescheduled the Presidential and National Assembly Elections to Saturday, February 23, 2019. The governorship, State Houses of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory Area Council polls earlier fixed for March 2, 2019 would now be conducted on Saturday, March 9, 2019.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman, who read a five-paragraph statement by 2:50 am on Saturday morning attributed the decision to logistic reasons, but refused to entertain any question. He said, “The Independent National Electoral Commission met on Friday, February 15, 2019, and reviewed its preparations for the 2019 General Elections scheduled for Saturday, February 16, 2019 and Saturday, March 2, 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, February 23, 2019. Furthermore, the Governorship, State House of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Elections is rescheduled to Saturday, March 9, 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 key stakeholders to update them on this development at 2pm on Saturday 16 (today) February 2019 at the Abuja International Conference Centre.”