Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has explained the logistics and operational problems which led to the rescheduling of the 2019 general elections.
The Presidential and National Assembly elections were to start on Saturday 16 February, 2019. The poll was however suddenly postponed to next Saturday 23 February, 2019.
INEC’s decision to postpone the elections despite repeatedly assuring Nigerians that it was ready was announced just few hours to commencement of the polls.
Prof. Yakubu said that there are delays in delivering ballot papers and result sheets caused by flight challenges due to bad weather.
He further listed certain attempts to sabotage the efforts of the electoral body by some apparently politically sponsored thugs. The INEC Chairman listed the fire outbreak witnessed in some INEC facilities across the nation as part of the reasons behind the postponement.
“Faced with these challenges, we initially thought that we only required a maximum of 24 hours to resolve the logistics issues involved and complete our deployment for the election,” the INEC Chairman said.
“This would mean shifting the elections to commence on Sunday 17th February, 2019. However, given the restriction of movement during elections, that could affect many voters who worship on Sunday. While the commission considering the following Monday, 19th February, 2019 as an option, our ICT department advised us that it would require 5-6 days to configure about 180,000 smart card readers earlier programmed to work only on election day, Saturday, 16th February 2019.”
According to Prof. Yakubu, if the poll had continued, it would mean some states would start ahead of others.
Read the statement below;