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Nigeria has postponed its election by a week – Quartz Africa



* Update with details of the INEC chairman

Nigeria is not deciding today (16 February) as planned about its next president.

Due to difficulties in distributing election material, the country's election commission, INEC, shifts the polls by a week. According to reports, elections in some federal states may not have been able to progress as planned, as there was insufficient material for voting, in particular for ballots.

Presidential and National Assembly elections will be held on Saturday, February 23, a week later. The regional council scheduled for March 2 and the parliamentary elections were also postponed to March 9.

The INEC announced the decision at 2.30. Local time on Saturday after a late night emergency meeting just hours before the start of voting.

INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu said at an early morning press conference that the "difficult decision" had been made following a review of the Commission's preparations. "After a careful review of the logistics and operations plan", the Commission concluded that a planned action was "no longer feasible".

In fact, despite several assurances of its willingness to vote, the INEC faced difficulties during the last week, as two of its offices were burned down by suspicious incidents by fire.

The talk of shifts comes after months of tense campaigning from the two leading candidates of incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and chief challenger Atiku Abubakar of the opposition party People's Democratic Party (PDP). In total there are more than 70 candidates seeking to lead the largest economy in Africa with 84 million registered voters.

The decision to postpone the election will significantly affect the lives of Nigerians, most of whom will only be aware of the decision to wake up on Saturday morning. Due to security concerns and electoral fraud concerns, most of the country was already prepared to stop local time from 6am to 6pm in many states, with vehicular traffic prohibited at that time.

Nigeria had short-term and late delays of the previous elections. In 2015, the survey was postponed for six weeks due to security concerns at the height of the Boko Haram uprising. In 2011, the presidential election was delayed by a week after outbreaks of violence and allegations of possible election fraud.

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