The March 11 governorship and state assembly elections have been postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The announcement was made by National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, via a statement sighted by BrandSpur Nigeria
Festus Okoye said the election, which was scheduled to hold on March 11 will now hold on March 18, 2023, disclosed that guber campaigns would continue until midnight Thursday, 16th March 2023.
He said: “The decision has not been taken lightly, but it is necessary to ensure that there is adequate time to back up the data stored on the over 176,000 BVAS machines from the presidential and national assembly elections held on the 25th of February 2023 and then to reconfigure them for the governorship and state house of assembly election.
“This has been the practice for all elections, including the period when the Commission was using the smart card readers.”
The Commission noted that it is not against litigants inspecting election materials, adding that it will continue to grant all litigants access to election materials that they require to pure their cases in court.
Meanwhile, 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.