Six hours to the commencement of voting in Nigeria’s general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) is expected to postpone the polls. The presidential and National Assembly elections might be shifted to Sunday, February 17, or later.

Speculation that the electoral body might postpone the elections, which its officials had declared severally they were ready to conduct, surfaced Friday evening.

Inec chairman Mahmood Yakubu convened an emergency meeting to which stakeholders were invited at Inec headquarters in Abuja Friday night.  The meeting continued until a few minutes before 1am [midnight, GMT] when Yakubu’s chief press secretary Rotimi Oyekanmi told waiting journalists that the electoral body had taken a decision which his boss would announce “soon”.

By midnight, electoral materials (including smartcard readers, ballot papers and result sheets) were yet to reach at least 12 states including Sokoto, Enugu, Edo, Niger, Ekiti, Ogun and Rivers.

The opposition parties have alleged that Inec is colluding with the ruling APC to sabotage the process of free and fair elections. Apart from “diversion of result sheets”, they said, trained ad-hoc staffers have been replaced with card-carrying members of the APC in many states.

Inec has admitted it faces logistics problems, but has said it’s not deliberate.

Its offices in Plateau, Abia and Anambra have caught fire, and electoral materials were destroyed. Men dressed in army uniform were also said to have hijacked vehicles conveying electoral materials to Benue State. Materials meant for two senatorial zones in Niger were reported missing.

It’s customary for the chairman of Nigeria’s electoral body to address the nation on the eve of voting day. Mahmood has yet to do so at 2am on February 16. He is likely to record his announcement and get it aired on national radio and TV stations at the break of dawn.

Postponement of the elections will further injure Inec’s credibility and cast an ugly slur on the country’s reputation.

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