The chairman of Nigeria’s electoral body has announced a postponement of the first set of elections earlier billed to take place today. They will now hold on February 23.

Professor Mahmood Yakubu, who made the announcement about 2:50am while addressing journalists who kept vigil at Inec headquarters, said the governorship and state assembly polls have also been shifted by one week; they will now take place on March 9.

Many resident electoral commissioners were present at the briefing. They had attended an emergency meeting which ended just before 1am.

Timeline of vigil at Inec headquarters

00: 48am — Emergency meeting ends, press secretary says a decision has been taken, and Inec boss will make a statement soon.

1:45am – Journalists ushered into venue where Inec chief Mahmood will address them and the nation

2:44am – Inec chairman Mahmood enters venue.

2:49amInec chairman Mahmood announces that presidential, National Assembly polls now to hold February 23.

Looking harassed, the Inec chairman stated: “Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan and the determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections, the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible…

“Consequently, the commission has decided to reschedule the presidential and national assembly elections to Saturday, 23 February 2019.

“Furthermore, the governorship, state house of assembly and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) area council elections are rescheduled for Saturday, 9th March 2019. This will afford the Commission the opportunity to address identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of our elections.

“This was a difficult decision for the commission to take, but necessary for the successful delivery of the elections and the consolidation of our democracy.”

Informed sources say the postponement is meant to provide a leeway for the APC in Zamfara and Rivers states where the party’s candidates have been excluded due to late conduct of primaries.

Nigeria’s attorney-general Abubakar Malami had written to Inec requesting a shift after a court judgement.

But the Supreme Court has already determined that Rivers candidates cannot be included in the polls. It has yet to rule on Zamfara.

Other sources say the polls were shifted due to security concerns.

Many believe Nigeria has become a joke.

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