Nigerian officials have announced a last-minute postponement of the country’s presidential election, holding a press conference at nearly 3 a.m. Saturday – just hours before the polls were set to open.
Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said electoral officials will be meeting during the day with candidates and other stakeholders to discuss the decision. President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, as well as main opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, are among dozens of candidates listed by the INEC.
Neither of the frontrunners responded immediately to the new development, and INEC did not give specific reasons for any complications.
“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,” Yakubu said in a later statement.
“Consequently, the Commission has decided to reschedule the Presidential and National Assembly Elections to Saturday, 23rd February 2019,” he added. Regional and local elections will be on March 9.
“This will afford the Commission the opportunity to address identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of our elections,” Yakubu said. “This was a difficult decision for the Commission to take, but necessary for the successful delivery of the elections and the consolidation of our democracy.”