The Independent National Electoral Commission in Nigeria has postponed the presidential elections from February 14 to March 28 for security reasons.
Political parties had debated whether it was possible to hold a ballot while militants occupied much of the north-east of the country.
INEC chairman Attahiru Jega said he had been told troops would not be available to help patrol the ballot because they would be fighting Boko Haram militants in the north-east.
Even though the electoral authorities had earlier resisted all attempts to postpone the vote after national securty requested a delay to allow more time for voter card distribution, they gave in to the demands of security concerns on Saturday and agreed to postpone the elections for six weeks.
Graphiconline’s correspondent in Abuja, Donald Ato Dapatem reported that Nigerians had been sitting on tenterhooks since early Saturday morning waiting anxiously for the announcement by the Chairman of INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, whether they will vote in the February 14 elections or the date will be postponed.
The chairman of INEC met with the political parties in a crucial meeting with 35 state chairmen of the commission, after which the announcement was made.
All along Prof Attahiru Jega had maintained that he will be able to organise the polls on the stated date.
Even when the National Security Advisor to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, insisted that the elections be postponed on the grounds of security threat and the fact that a lot of Nigerians have not received their Performance Voters Cards (PVCs), the INEC chairman stood his grounds and maintained that elections will go on.
So political watchers are perplexed as to why these impromptu meetings and the press conference.
All the time, the opposition All Progressive Congress ( APC ), led by four time presidential candidate, General Muhammedu Buhari had stridently kicked against any attempt to postpone the polls.
Sources close to Graphiconline in Abuja confirms that at a meeting with the political parties in Abuja today (Saturday) most of the parties voted for the rescheduling of the elections.
A lot of the 68 million voters are still complaining about their inability to access their PVCs, with just seven days to the elections.