The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has given details of the logistic issues that led to the postpone,ent of the general elections.
He spoke on Saturday afternoon while addressing stakeholders in the election which included political parties, election observers, journalists and many others.
Yakubu listed three main issues that led to the postponement – complexity, sabotage and bad weather which hampered flight operations.
He said the complexity associated with managing the huge figures involved with 84 million registered voters; printing 421.7million ballot papers, millions of results sheets, managing 91 political parties and deploying staff across the country.
He also said the commission faced sabotage through three damaging fire incidents that occured in Abia, Anambra and Plateau State. He said the fires damaged PVCs, 4,600 card readers and other important facilities.
Yakubu added that bad weather affected flight operations the country and so the commission had to rely on slow moving vehicles to deliver election materials.
He further stated that the postponement had nothing to do with security, political interference or availability of materials.
The INEC boss explained that the commission has done a lot to tackle all the challenges but the elections had to be postponed to prevent staggered elections because elections may not start at the same time across all polling units. He emphasised that it is the intention of the commission to ensure that polls open and close at the same time across the nation.
He disclosed that the commission considered shifting the elections to Sunday, February 17 or Monday, February 18 but the technical team warned that it needed up to one week to reconfigure the card readers.
Yakubu assured that all sensitive materials have been retrieved from the polling units and are ready to be sent back to the Central Bank of Nigeria for custody.
In attendance at the meeting were prominent personalities including a former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, representatives of election bodies from around the world, as well as local and international election observers and representatives of various political parties.