Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed the scheduled governorship and state assembly elections by a week.
The elections, originally slated to hold this Saturday March 11, 2023 has been shifted to March 18, 2023.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) from the 36 states met on Wednesday evening in Abuja and considered the possibility of postponing the elections.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja, had earlier granted the commission the go-ahead to reconfigure its Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the exercise.
The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, confirmed the postponement of the election in a statement issued late on Wednesday night in Abuja.
He said although the appellate court had given the commission the go-ahead to reconfigure the BVAS, the ruling came too late for the process to be concluded.
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The statement read: “Consequently, the commission has taken the difficult but necessary decision to reschedule the Governorship and State Assembly elections which will now take place on Saturday, 18 March 2023.
“By this decision, campaigns will continue until midnight of Thursday, 16 March 2023 i.e. 24 hours before the new date for the election.
“This 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 25th February 2023 and then to reconfigure them for the Governorship and State Assembly elections.
“This has been the practice for all elections, including the period when the Commission was using the Smart However, we wish to reiterate that the Commission is not against litigants inspecting election materials. Consequently, it will continue to grant all litigants access to the materials they require to pursue their cases in court.
“We wish to reassure all political parties and candidates that the data from the Presidential and National Assembly elections will be backed up and available in INEC cloud facilities, including the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV).
“Political parties can apply for Certified True Copies of the backend data of the BVAS. Also, the results on the BVAS will continue to be available on the IReV for interested parties to access.”