After weeks of speculation and pressure, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, professor Attahiru Jega announced the shift of the Nigerian General elections to March 28.
The announcement came late last night after INEC held a series of meetings with resident electoral commissioners as well as representatives from several political parties.
Professor Jega in his briefing tried to exonerate INEC of any blame as he hnged the reason for the shift on the insecurity in the North East. “For matters under the control of INEC, we are ready and prepared for the election, but it does not take the commission’s readiness alone to conduct the election. We have to take into consideration the advice of the security agencies, which have officially told us that they cannot guarantee the security of people and materials if the election is held now. They insisted that the military is currently more occupied with fighting insurgency and may not provide security during the election.
“In view of all this, the commission, after due and wide consultations, have decided to adjust the dates for the elections thus: the presidential and National Assembly elections would be held on March 28, 2015, while the governorship and State Assembly elections will take place on April 11 2015.”
He further said “In the conduct of elections in a country like Nigeria, it is a collective venture that involves not just election management body, but also a diverse range of stakeholders, notably political parties, their candidates, voters, security agencies and civil society organisations.
“To guarantee successful conduct of elections, there are things that are the responsibility of the election management body, but there are other things critical to the success of elections, which are outside the control of the election management body. In other words, while INEC must work hard to perfect the system and processes for conducting elections and taking responsibilities for any imperfections thereof. Whatever the INEC does may not by itself be sufficient to guarantee the success of an election.
“There are a number of issues in the preparation and conduct of an election, the most critical of which is security, which is not under the control of INEC.”