ABUJA, Nigeria – The weather. Sabotage of buildings in which election material is stored. A series of legal challenges.
This was one of the reasons why the Nigerian Electoral Commissioner had cited the decision of his nocturnal decision, announced on Saturday at 2:30, to delay the President's election hour.
In postponing the eleventh hour, he assured a crowd of international observers, diplomats, and civil society groups "who had nothing to do with security, nothing to do with political influence," at a press conference in the capital.
Many others had also traveled long distances to their home districts to vote there – Nigeria has no electoral system. And the frustration was palpable.
Mr. Buhari and his leading contender Atiku Abubakar, 72, urged their followers to be patient, even if they condemned the one-week delay.
Critics of Mr. Buhari say that he  could not deliver pledges to fix the economy, fight corruption and improve safety. Attacks from criminal organizations and from Boko Haram have increased. More than 60 people were killed in Kaduna this week in an attack due to religious tensions.
Critics also say that the president used his anti-corruption campaign to attack political enemies while sparing his allies.
Mr. Abubakar is a former vice president and wealthy businessman who himself was prosecuted for corruption allegations. In 2010, a subcommittee of the United States Senate accused him of injecting Nigerian oil revenues in the tens of millions into foreign commodity accounts. Mr Abubakar responded to the accusation that he had never been charged with a criminal offense.
The political parties of the two leading candidates each blamed the others for taking advantage of the delay.
Significantly lower turnout is almost certainly guaranteed. It is unlikely that many voters living far from their polling stations can afford the time or money to travel again. However, it is unclear which candidate would benefit from it.
The leaders of Mr. Buhari's party said Abubakar would benefit from a "respite," and his party was "determined to discredit this process the moment it realized it. I can not make the numbers, to win this election. "
Mr. Abubakar accused the president of staging the delay to suppress voter turnout.
"Their plan is to provoke the public, to hope for a negative reaction and then use it as an excuse for further anti-democratic action," he said.
However, both camps called for advocates to be patient in the face of a delay that could lead to tensions that are already in a strained election.
The ruling lifted the plans of millions of people, including huge teams of international observers from the European Union, the African Union and Democratic organizations in the United States and elsewhere. Observers had flooded the country and set up command centers in hotel meeting rooms to oversee the elections.
On Saturday, they were busy rebooking flights and paying extra nights in hotels. Although many said they were required to oversee the vote on the new date, it was unclear whether their ranks would remain so strong.
Voters dismiss Social Media . Some said they had traveled to areas where there was violence to cast their ballots, and that now they were stranded there without the election officials they had relied on for security reasons.
There were concerns that rumors and fake news reports could spread the reasons for the delay. It seemed possible that more logistical problems could develop.
Mahmoud Yakubu, Electoral Commissioner of Nigeria, said that among the challenges was the fact that 180,000 high-tech smart card readers would have to be reprogrammed for the new election date. 19659005] He pointed to weather delays that blocked the distribution of electoral material to all of the nearly 120,000 polling stations. A huge dust storm has lingered for days in some parts of the country. Up to 640 trials by various competitors had also contributed to delays in the Commission. And three buildings housing election materials were burned during sabotage.
Mr. Yakubu considered moving the vote by one day only, but said the nation's many Christians objected to an election on a Sunday. Waiting for Monday would not work either, since getting and restoring tens of thousands of card readers from polling stations across the country would be a tedious process.
Redesigning the election is costly, not just for redeploying people and equipment, but for the numerous restaurant workers, market employees, taxi drivers and others who missed a working day on Saturday. The government had ordered all vehicles off the roads that day and most businesses were closed.
Nevertheless, many observers were optimistic that there would be a sense of calm. The last two presidential elections in Nigeria have also been delayed.
However, this campaign was fiercely contested and tensions were consistently high.
The opposition has accused Mr. Buhari's government of planning a vote. Abba Kyari, the president's chief of staff, made a rare public statement in an article for a Nigerian newspaper in which he accused the United States and the European Union of cooperating with Mr. Abubakar's party.
The Governor of Kaduna, a. A close associate of Mr. Buhari had previously caused outrage by warning that foreign actors intervening in Nigeria would leave the country "in body bags".