The elections body of Nigeria, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has delayed presidential and parliamentary elections by a week, just hours to the polling date.
The announcement came after an emergency meeting at the INEC headquarters in the capital, Abuja.
The elections were easier scheduled to take place today Saturday February 16, but in an announcement on Friday night, the commission’s Chairperson, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, said after reviewing the organisations, a one week’s extension would avail a standard election.
“Proceeding with the election as scheduled is no longer feasible,” Yakubu said, citing logistical issues.
Yakubu said the decision was made following a careful review of the election “operational plan”, adding that there was a determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections.
He said the delay was necessary to give the commission time to address vital issues and “maintain the quality of our elections”, but did not provide further details.
The presidential and parliamentary votes have now been rescheduled for Saturday 23 February.
Seventy three (73) candidates are vying for the office of the President but tight competition is between incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari, 76 of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and his main challenger, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, 72 from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and most populous country with 84 million registered voters out of whom, half are between 18 and 35 years.