Nigeria postpones presidential election at last minute

Nigeria postpones presidential election at last minute

The statement said: "The British High Commission supports the joint statement made by the heads of the global observer missions on the postponement of the 2019 Nigerian elections".

23rd February 2019 has been announced as the new date for the polls.

Election officials cited "logistical" reasons for the 11th-hour postponement.

Nigeria's electoral watchdog on Saturday postponed presidential and parliamentary elections for one week, just hours before polls were due to open. We are only urging INEC not to collude with the PDP on this.

How have the political parties reacted?

Mr Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) said at the time that Jonathan and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were trying to scupper the vote.

"Based on intelligence report that money had been shared by the opposition on the eve of the polls to buy voters, INEC chose to shift the elections to save the country from the sinister plot by the opposition to wield the country back to the dark days of rigging and manipulation of the electoral process to rob Nigerians of their right to decide who becomes their leader".

His words were echoed by Abubakar, who called for "patience".

Kabiru Sale, 27, who sells oil in the northern city of Kano, said the move took him by surprise.

"We spent all night without sleeping hoping to vote today", Auwolu Usman, a voter in Maiduguri, told Reuters.

The said statement was jointly signed by the leader of the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission, former President of Liberia, Johnson Sirleaf, African Union Election Observation Mission leader, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn and Commonwealth Observer Group leader, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr. Jakaya Kikwete.

"I am not happy with the suspension".

So why was voting postponed?

His main challenger, Atiku Abubakar, also called for calm and said he would join Buhari on Saturday afternoon in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, at a meeting convened by the election commission to address the next steps.

"It has nothing to do with security, nothing to do with political influence, nothing to do with availability of resource", he added.

He said the delay was down to problems with the transportation of electoral materials - ballot papers and results sheets - to some parts of the country.

On Saturday, the election commission made a decision to delay polls for a week, saying it needs more time to ensure a free and fair vote.

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

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