#NigeriaDecides2019: What The Electoral Act 2010 Says About INEC Election Postponement
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced a postponement of Nigeria's general elections and mixed reactions have trailed the decision.
From those already counting their lost and now sad about the process and wondering if they will even take part again.
Yet are still some observers that will have a second thought about being in Nigeria for one week.
The situations experienced in some states the night before elections that are likely going to repeat and the trouble that will follow such repetition are also of concern to yet another set of Nigerians that love security.
While these challenges all climax, the need for a look at what the law of the land is when it comes to postponement of elections.
In the nation's 2010 Electoral Act (as amended), the law is explicit about the "Postponement Of Election".
Section 26 of the law, sub-section (1) said: "Where a date has been appointed for the holding of an election, and there is reason to believe that a serious breach of the peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on that date or it is impossible to conduct the elections as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies, the Commission may postpone the election and shall in respect of the area, or areas concerned, appoint another date for the holding of the postponed election, provided that such reason for the postponement is cogent and verifiable".
Other sub-sections under this Section 26 are "(2) Where an election is postponed under this Act, on or after the last date for the delivery of nomination papers, and a poll has to be taken between the candidates nominated, the Electoral Officer shall, on a new date being appointed for the election, proceed as if the date appointed were the date for the taking of the poll between the candidates.
"(3) Where the Commission appoints a substituted date in accordance with subsections (1) and (2) of this section, there shall be no return for the election until polling has taken place in the area or areas affected.
Also Read: INEC Chairman's Election Postponement Speech
"(4) Notwithstanding the provision of subsection (3) of this section, the Commission may, if satisfied that the result of the election will not be affected by voting in the area or areas in respect of which substituted dates have been appointed, direct that a return of the election be made.
"(5) The decision of the Commission under subsection '(4) may be challenged by any of the contestants at a court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction and on such challenge, the decision shall be suspended until the matter is determined".
From a lay man's point of view, we will say, 'INEC followed the law', but what we also know is that when this decision and the colossal loss it cost Nigeria and the international community are weighed on a scale, the need for the amendment of this section of the law will become open, even to the blind.
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