Nigeria postpones election of state governors

Nigeria’s Electoral Commission has post­poned elections for state governors and local assemblies by one week.

The polls had been scheduled to take place on Saturday. They will now be held on March18.

Nigeria’s opposition had asked to check electronic voting ma­chines. A court rejected their complaint. But the Electoral Com­mission said the legal challenge had held up preparations and the machines would not be ready in time.

It is not uncommon for elec­tions to be delayed in the country. In 2019, presidential and parlia­mentary elections were postponed for a week. The electoral body cited logistical issues.The oppo­sition has disputed last month’s election victory by President- elect, Bola Tinubu.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) introduced the Bimodal Voter Ac­creditation System (BVAS) for the first time as part of new technolo­gies used in this year’s elections in a bid to improve transparency.

But observer groups and oppo­sition parties said huge delays in voting and failures in the system when uploading tallies allowed for ballot disparities during the presi­dential election.

Heartbroken first-time voters in Nigeria are being urged not to give up after the candidate that many of them backed came third in the presidential race two weeks ago.

This is because crucial state elections are being held later this month, after a last-minute delay – where governors and local assem­blies will be chosen. It is the state governments that build schools, hospitals and inner city roads and are responsible for transport and other essential services.

Some of the young voters who took an interest in politics and backed the Labour Party’s Peter Obi have become disillusioned by election-day antics in some areas: ballot-box snatching; violence and the late arrival of electoral officials that disenfranchised many. This may be one of the explanations for the low turnout of just 27 per cent.

But party campaigner, Rinu Odu­ala, says “Obidients”, as Mr Obi’s supporters are known, must not give up hope.

“Change does not occur over­night. It happens step by step. Day by day. And we have taken a thou­sand steps into the future.” —BBC

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