There are strong indications that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will postpone the Governorship and States Houses of Assembly elections scheduled to hold on Saturday, 11 March.
Multiple sources hinted on Wednesday night that the elections may be shifted by one week to 18 March.
The election is the second round of the 2023 General election that started with the presidential and national assembly election conducted on 25 February.
The postponement, which is yet to be confirmed, may not be unconnected to the commission’s inability to reconfigure the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machines ahead of Saturday’s election due to a court order.
The commission was still meeting at its headquarters in Abuja at the time of this report.
INEC’s National Commissioner for Voter Education, Festus Okoye, did not respond to calls placed to his line and a text message request for clarification.
The Court of Appeal had granted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP) and their respective candidates, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi’s request to inspect all sensitive materials used in the conduct of the recent presidential election.
Both the PDP and LP have rejected the election which INEC declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bola Tinubu, as winner. They called for the conduct of another round of elections.
In preparation of a suit to challenge the outcome, they approached the court seeking permission to inspect all sensitive materials.
The court also restrained INEC from tampering with them.
While INEC approached the Court on Monday to seek permission to reconfigure the BVAS, the request was only granted today (Wednesday), two days to the election.
The presidential election left Nigerians dissatisfied with logistical and technical challenges denting the smooth conduct of the elections in many part of the country. The major glitch was the failure of the commission to upload all polling units results to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) Portal.
Preliminary reports of several observer groups have also noted that the commission performed below expectation, in an election many hoped will be a game changer in the country’s electoral history.
Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe
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