Buhari to hold emergency meeting with ruling party over election delay

Nigeria postpones national elections at the last minute

19 February, 2019

Nigeria's president and the leading opposition candidate urged people to remain calm after a national election scheduled for Saturday was postponed by a week just five hours before polls were due to open.

There are 73 registered candidates in the presidential election, but campaigning has been dominated by President Buhari, 76, and Atiku Abubakar, 72.

The Electoral Act allows us to do that and ask us to stop campaigning only 24 hours before the actual election.

Buhari said, "We are not going to be blamed of trying to rig the elections".

Nigeria is also dealing with pockets of instability and past elections have been marred by violence, intimidation and ballot rigging.

They said this was because of problems with transporting ballot papers to some parts of the country.

Commission chairman Mahmood Yakubu said in the early-morning announcement that "this was a hard decision to take but necessary for successful delivery of the elections and the consolidation of our democracy".

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The commission rescheduled the presidential and National Assembly elections for February 23, and the gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections for March 9.

"It would be recalled that at the briefing held on Saturday, 16th February 2019 at the Abuja International Conference Centre (AlCC). the Commission gave reasons for re-scheduling the polls and released a new Schedule of Activities leading up to the elections. I want Nigerians to be respected, let them vote whoever they want across the parties", Buhari further stated.

"If you have a garden and you don't nourish it with water, the grass will remain dormant; we don't want our party to remain dormant".

In the past two weeks several Inec offices have been set alight, with thousands of electronic smart card readers and voter cards destroyed.

Whether the election postponement casts doubt on the credibility of INEC, Tinubu said: "It depends on how it is handled and the process - how the process is managed; you can convert ... in crisis, a situation of adversity to an opportunity and progress".

Nigeria postponed presidential elections planned for Saturday by one week, citing a lack of proper materials at all voting locations.

Buhari, who addressed an emergency meeting of officials from his ruling party in the capital Abuja, said there was a need for the electoral commission to explain its "incompetence".

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