By Chux Odoh
Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in the early hours of Saturday 16th 2019 announced a postponement of the country’s general elections which was scheduled to commence today with the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The new elections dates are now Saturday, February 23 for the Presidential and National Assembly elections while the Governorship, State assembly and Local council elections which were to hold on Saturday, March 2nd has now been shifted to Saturday, March 8th
This came as a surprise as many Nigerians went to bed last night hoping to head to the polls today to cast their votes for their prefered candidate. Some have had to make inter-state trips to get to their villages where they registered to vote.
But after rising from an emergency meeting which lasted almost 4 hours, the INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu in a press conference gave reasons why the postponement became necessary, sighting challenges with logistics as the main cause of the shift. His statement read: “Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan and the determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections, the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible.”
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BREAKING! #nigeriadecides2019: The Presidential and National Assembly elections will no longer hold on Saturday (today). .. In an unprecedented move, INEC has rescheduled the poll for February 23, citing a flaw in logistics and operational plan to conduct a free and fair election. .. #neusroom
A post shared by Neusroom Daily (@neusroom) on Feb 15, 2019 at 8:13pm PST
Nigerians online are currently reacting to the news with some many people blaming INEC for its lack of preparedness for the exercise. Many also lamented about disruption which new shift in date has caused on their other schedules,
See reactions below:
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I woke up to the news that election has been postponed! Now I am even more confused 🤷🏾♀️………. But one thing I know is that come 23rd! Only the will of God will be done ✅ 🙏 #nigeriadecides #iwillvote #myvotemypower
A post shared by Mercilicious (@realmercyaigbe) on Feb 15, 2019 at 9:56pm PST
One just can’t begin to think of all that this #Postponement means for the generality of Nigerians and many other people. @inecnigeria has disappointed us. Yet they kept assuring us that everything was ready. We shouldn’t just shrug this off and move on. #WayTooCostly
— Remi Sonaiya (@oluremisonaiya) February 16, 2019
The postponement of the #NigeriaDesides2019 elections by @inecnigeria few hours to the commencement of voting can’t be justified by using experience of the past. We should have evolved beyond this collective incompetence and ineptitude by an electoral body!
— Charles (@drcharlesbassey) February 16, 2019
I just pity these people… Upon all the wahala… Dem still postpone the exercise…. See our graduates…. Nigeria is so fucked mehn!!!! 😬 @inecnigeria @tvcnewsng @channelstv @OfficialPDPNig @MobilePunch @PulseNigeria247 @PremiumTimesng #NigeriaDecides2019 #NigeriaDecides pic.twitter.com/RRFWR3kTmF
— Abeylee™ (@iam_abeylee) February 16, 2019
People traveled, some moved their weddings to a later date, schools went on midterm break, offices closed just to enable people vote, and now this. This country is a fucking mess.
— STEMinist (@thefaridaadamu) February 16, 2019
The next 7 days as a Nigerian in Nigeria is just damage limitation and counting losses. Cancelled wedding dates, missed flights, financial losses, messed up schedules, etc.
INEC is pushing the consequences of its incompetence and wickedness on ordinary citizens.
— 👑 DaddyMO PhD CEng 👑 🚀♠️ (@officialdaddymo) February 16, 2019
A lot of people will wake up this morning to the disappointment of postponement of election. Nigeria being the poverty capital of the world, a lot of poor people who have traveled to vote will be disenfranchised with this late hour decision.
— Bamikole Banks Omisore (@MrBanksOmishore) February 16, 2019
INEC said logistics. “Logistsics” is one of the most fraudulently ambiguous words in the Nigerian lexicon. Like love, it covers a multitude of sins.#NigeriaDecides2019
— Ayo Sogunro (@ayosogunro) February 16, 2019
INEC has ONE job. One. And they had 4 years to do it. So tell me, sway, how they can postpone because of “logistical and operational” challenges. Not only that, you’re announcing while people are sleeping? Whoever is in charge shouldn’t even be allowed to organise a groupchat.
— FK. (@fkabudu) February 16, 2019