“Nigerians Shocked!” proclaimed one headline reporting that presidential elections due to take place next Saturday had been delayed for six weeks. It was certainly a topic for discussion as people headed to church on Sunday in Lagos, the country’s commercial capital and a city where the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) and its presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari has much support. The electoral commission said they were postponing elections by six weeks because troops needed to protect polling stations were occupied fighting Boko Haram militants. But reaction seems to have split along party lines, and many here saw the delay as a ploy to give the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) an opportunity to gain ground in the campaign. The news did not dampen electioneering, however, with APC youths chanting “change, change, change” as they headed for an afternoon rally in Ikoyi. Sweeping the road symbolically with brushes, they were vocal about their suspicions.
She was dismissive about the reason given for delaying the poll. “This insecurity we’ve been having for the last five years. Are you telling me it is possible to find a solution to in six weeks, something that you have been unable to do for five years? Is it possible? It’s not,” she said.
She said the new system using permanent voters cards, 66% of which have been distributed to voters, would ensure a fair election. “We know their tricks. They cannot rig the way they used to do because there is a card reader.”
But not everyone was critical. A newspaper vendor not far from the rally was unfazed by the delay. “There’s no problem at all, they postponed it, the election stands [and will go ahead],” he said.