Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says there were attempts to sabotage the commission during preparations for the elections.
He said this in Abuja while explaining the reason for the postponement of the general election.
The presidential and national assembly elections had been shifted by seven days, while the governorship and state assembly polls were slo shifted by a week.
Yakubu said the postponement was not as a result of incompetence, security lapse or political interference.
He listed the fire incidents in Abia, Plateau and Anambra states, saying the commission did its best to make sure that the challenges were tackled.
“About thirteen hours ago, I conveyed to Nigerians the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reschedule the 2019 general elections by one week. Presidential and National Assembly earlier scheduled for 16th February 2019 will now hold on Saturday 23rd February 2019 while Governorship, State Assembly and FCT Area Council elections scheduled for 2nd March 2019 will now hold on Saturday 9th March 2019. The one-week adjustment was a painful one for lNEC but necessary in the overall interest of our democracy,” he said.
“Nigerians will recall that when this Commission was appointed in November 2015, we promised Nigerians two cardinal things. First, we shall work hard to consolidate the improvements made in the management of elections in Nigeria since 20”. Secondly, we shall always be open, transparent and responsive. We have strived diligently to keep these promises in very trying circumstances.
“Apart from these logistical challenges, we also faced what may well be attempts to sabotage our preparations. In a space of two week, we had to deal with serious fire incidents in three of our offices in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia State, Qu’an Pan Local Government Area of Plateau State and our Anambra State Office at Awka. In all three cases. serious disruptions were occasioned by the fire, further diverting our attention from regular preparations to recovery from the impact of the incidents. In Isiala Ngwa South, hundreds of PVCs were burnt, necessitating the reocompiling of the affected cards and reprinting in time to ensure that the affected voters are not disenfranchised. I am glad that all the cards were quickly reprinted and made available for collection by their owners.”