On February 22nd, 2023, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced that the gubernatorial election in Nigeria, originally scheduled for March 2nd, had been moved to March 18th, 2023. This decision was made after careful consideration of a number of factors that could potentially affect the successful conduct of the elections.
One of the major reasons for the postponement was due to the insecurity challenges currently facing the country. Nigeria has been grappling with various forms of insecurity in recent times, including terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and farmer-herder conflicts, which have led to the loss of many lives and property. The INEC had expressed concerns that these security threats could affect the conduct of free, fair, and peaceful elections. As such, the commission decided to postpone the election by two weeks to allow for more time to address these security concerns and ensure adequate security measures are put in place to guarantee a safe and secure election.
Another factor that contributed to the postponement of the gubernatorial election was the ongoing voter registration exercise. INEC had announced that it would conduct continuous voter registration until August 2023, in line with its commitment to ensure that every eligible Nigerian has the opportunity to register and vote in the elections. The INEC had expressed concerns that the original date of the gubernatorial election could have led to a situation where some eligible voters would have been disenfranchised due to the late commencement of the voter registration exercise. By postponing the election, the commission hopes to allow more eligible voters to register and participate in the electoral process.
Furthermore, the INEC had to consider the logistics and operational challenges of conducting elections across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. Elections in Nigeria are complex and require adequate planning and resources. The commission had expressed concerns that some of the logistical arrangements required for the conduct of the elections may not have been fully in place by the original date of the election. The postponement of the election allows the commission to adequately prepare and address any logistical and operational challenges that may arise.
In conclusion, the postponement of the gubernatorial election in Nigeria was necessary to ensure the safety and security of voters and to guarantee the credibility and integrity of the electoral process. The INEC made this decision after careful consideration of the security situation, the ongoing voter registration exercise, and the logistical and operational challenges of conducting elections in Nigeria. With the new date of March 18th, 2023, Nigerians can look forward to a successful, free, and fair gubernatorial election.
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