Nigeria's electoral commission will postpone Feb. 14 presidential and legislative elections for six weeks to give a new multinational force time to secure northeastern areas under the sway of Boko Haram, an official close to the commission told The Associated Press on Saturday. Millions could be disenfranchised if the voting went ahead while the Islamic extremists hold a large swath of the northeast and commit mayhem that has driven 1.5 million people from their homes.
The Nigerian official, who is knowledgeable of the discussions, said the Independent National Electoral Commission will announce the postponement later Saturday. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Officials in President Goodluck Jonathan's administration have supported postponing the Feb. 14 vote. Any delay is opposed by an opposition coalition fielding former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari, though the opposition stands to take most votes in the northeast.
Supporters of both sides are threatening violence if their candidate does not win. Some 800 people were killed in riots in the mainly Muslim north after Buhari, a Muslim, lost 2011 elections to Jonathan, a Christian from the south. Analysts say the vote is too close to call, the most tightly contested election since decades of military dictatorship ended in 1999.
*Over 45million PVCs collected *Non-guarantee of security *Training manual not ready *Presiding Officers yet to be trained
*700,000 ad hoc staff not recruited yet *PVCs still being printed abroad *RECs yet to print Voter Register *Printers for Register still in Abuja
*No full complement of ballot boxes *Fake printing ink sent to states from headquarters rejected *Many states yet to get balance of Card Readers
The presidential and National Assembly elections, earlier slated for Saturday, February 14, 2015, will now hold on Saturday, March 28, 2015.
The governorship and state legislative elections will hold on April 11, 2015.
This shift in dates was announced yesterday by Professor Attahiru Jega, National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
He made the announcement at a world press conference, invoking the provisions of the following in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended: Section 76(2), Section 116(2), Section 132(2) Section 178(2).
He also quoted Section 25 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
The Commission Chairman explained that INEC was prepared but the security challenge and the need not to deploy men and materials when the security agencies had issued an advisory.