Nigeria`s parliamentary polls postponed till Monday
Nigeria postponed its key parliamentary elections till Monday, hours after the polling opened.
Abuja: Nigeria on Saturday postponed its key
parliamentary elections till Monday, hours after the polling
opened to long queues across the country, with authorities
facing a series of organisational and logistic problems.
The Election Commission said the polls had to be
postponed due to the inability of the electoral body to take
delivery of ballot papers and distribute them to polling
Today`s parliament vote was to be the first of a
three-stage landmark general election this month being seen as
a critical test of whether Nigeria can organise a credible
ballot after a series of flawed and violent elections.
"In order to maintain the integrity of the elections
and retain effective overall control of the process, the
commission has taken the very difficult but necessary decision
to postpone the national assembly elections to Monday, April
4, 2011," the chairman of the country`s Independent National
Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, said.
He said the organisational problems involved a vendor
that failed to supply necessary election materials.
"A vendor was supposed to deliver the electoral
materials and we had confidence in him but he did not deliver
by Thursday citing the problem of aircraft diversions in
Japan," the chairman of the country`s Independent National
Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega said with
lots of apology.
"Later, he assured us the materials will arrive by 5
30 yesterday but unfortunately it did not arrive Lagos till 9
am this morning..... There is no way the materials could be
distributed before the end of accreditation time." Jega
Earlier, Nigerians turned up in overwhelming
numbers at polling stations which opened on time, but
tardiness was witnessed in the election process in several
parts of the country.
In Lagos, people kept waiting for electoral officials
to show up to start the process.
"We`re waiting for the officers of the INEC and I have
received signals that they will soon be here," Ayebola
Benyamin, a police official, said to a news agency at a crowded polling
station at Mafon bus stop in Idimu, Lagos.
Other polling booths remained without electoral
material by midday.
Emmanuel Iffer, a local journalist, said to a news agency that
electoral officials did not reach the polling stations at
Maraba and Abacha roads in Abuja by 11 am.
Nigeria, Africa`s largest democracy with a population
of 150 million, returned to democratic rule in 1999 after many
years of military incursion in governance.
It is the third time general elections are being held
in Nigeria since military rule ended.
The previous ones - in 2003 and 2007 - were marred by
allegations of widespread rigging, voter intimidation and
ballot vote snatching.