Less than 48 hours after the National Assembly elections were postponed by independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the commission has announced the rescheduling again for April 9 2011.
INEC had postponed the election till Monday April 4 because of voting material bungling which caused a botched take off of the election.
The elections, which were due to be held on Monday 4th April, have now been shifted to Saturday April 9th after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) caved into pressure from the political parties.
Several political and human right bodies had claimed that the Monday reschedule may not be appropriate because of work pressures and other factors.
All the other elections have also been moved back by one a week.
Now, the presidential elections will hold on Saturday April 16th. The gubernatorial elections will hold on Tuesday 26th April because the 22nd falls during the weekend of Easter.
The announcement was made this evening after INEC met with political party leaders.
In a statement, INEC Chairman, Mr. Attahiru Jega said the commission had been “advised” to move the dates again in order to meet with all the outstanding issues. He revealed that about 15 million people had already voted before news of yesterday’s postponement came through and again appealed to voters to bear with them as the situation is sorted out.
Yesterday, the Independent National Electoral Commission announced the rescheduling of the 2011 National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) elections from April 2nd to April 4th 2011 due to late arrival of result sheets. Since that announcement, several representations have been made to the Commission urging it to consult more widely and to ensure that the two-day postponement is enough to address all the logistical issues that may militate against a successful conduct of the rescheduled elections.
Following these representations and subsequent consultations with stakeholders, the Commission has found that the overwhelming sentiment is to further reschedule the elections. Requests to reschedule the National Assembly elections have come from a cross-section of stakeholders, including political parties and civil society organizations. However, rescheduling the National Assembly elections would have implications for the schedule of all the other elections. Consequently, the Commission weighed all the options and considered the wide ranging counsel of Nigerians and decided to reschedule all the elections as follows:
• Saturday, April 9th 2011 – Senate and House of Representatives (National Assembly) elections.
• Saturday, April 16th 2011 – Presidential election
• Tuesday, April 26th 2011 – State House of Assembly and Governorship elections
We thank all Nigerians for their enthusiasm for these elections and support for the Commission and the electoral process. Your sacrifices are not lost on the Commission and we are even more determined now to ensure that the 2011 elections are free, fair and credible.
ABDULLAHI A. KAUGAMA
SECRETARY TO THE COMMISSION
APRIL 3RD, 2011