Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Yakubu Mahmood has said the postponement of Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections was not politically motivated as being assumed in some quarters.  

The commission had shifted the elections by one week after a meeting, which began Friday evening, ending early on Saturday.

The governorship and house of assembly, FCT area council elections have also been shifted from March 2 to March 9.

Addressing a conference in Abuja on Saturday afternoon, Mahmood said the commission was prepared for the elections, but had to postpone due to logistic and operational problems.

According to Yakubu, some materials were not delivered in due time because of bad weather, and such materials that should have been flown by air, had to be transported by road and as such, there was delay.

He also noted that there had been attempts to sabotage the efforts of the commission referenced in fire incidents that occurred at the commission’s offices in Abia, Plateau and Anambra states.

He said the postponement would afford the commission the opportunity to address the identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of Nigeria’s elections.
He stated that INEC took full responsibility of the postponement of the polls.

On taking responsibility for the postponement, Mahmound was silent on whether compensation will be paid to some of those that were badly affected by the commission’s decision.

Bounce News correspondent in Lagos, who monitored the situation hours after the postponement, observed that most markets, shops and petrol stations in  the state remained shut with traffic on roads still scanty.

Some residents who spoke with our correspondent expressed dissatisfaction over the postponement,  noting that INEC had enough time to prepare adequately for the elections.

Empty Lagos road

A legal practitioner based in Lagos, Hussein Omikunle, however, stated that INEC has the legal backing to postpone elections.

He said the electoral Act empowered INEC to postpone elections if it envisaged any difficulty with materials or security that would affect the conduct of a free, fair and credible elections.

“We are all aware that election materials got burnt in Anambra State and in two other states.

“I know very well that INEC will not postponed the election if there are no good reasons for doing s0
 
He noted that this would not be the first time INEC would be postponing elections in Nigeria as it happened in 211 and 2015 under President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

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The legal practitioner was optimistic that INEC must have some intelligent information that could lead to loss of lives that prompted them to postpone the election to avoid unnecessary crisis.

On whether compensation should be paid to those who were seriously affected, Omikunle said everybody was affected even though some felt the impact of the postponement the more. 

He noted that the for some people, election meant taking trips away from their states of residence to their states of origin where they registered to participate in the process.
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According to him, schedules are disrupted, families uprooted and finances invested in the bid to exercise franchise and execute the civic duty as required by the registered citizenry in the country.

He said that the dilemma for many families and individuals at the moment would be to taking a decision between staying in their locations or going back to their respective places of abode.

He added that there is no provision in law for compensating people due to the postponement of an election.

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