Nigeria’s electoral commission has said it is postponing the Feb. 14 presidential election until March 28 due to security concerns, caving in to pressure from the ruling People’s Democratic Party in a move likely to enrage the opposition. Foreign powers are closely observing how elections will be held in Africa’s biggest economy and have voiced concerns over violence in the aftermath, as was the case after the 2011 election, when 800 people died. The postponement could stoke unrest in opposition strongholds such as the commercial capital, Lagos, and Nigeria’s second city, Kano, because the opposition has been staunchly against a delay. … “The commission cannot lightly wave off the advice of the nation’s security chiefs … The risk of deploying young men and women and calling people to exercise their democratic rights in a situation where their security cannot be guaranteed is a most onerous responsibility,” Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman Attahiru Jega told reporters.
“Consequently the commission has decided to reschedule the elections thus. The national elections, i.e. presidential and national assembly, are to hold on March 28, 2015; governorship and state assembly elections are to hold on April 11, 2015.”
Jega said National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki had written to INEC last week stating that it could not guarantee security during the original proposed election timetable because of on-going military operations to fight Boko Haram insurgents, a position the NSA reinforced during Thursday’s meeting with the Council of State.
“Nobody has coerced us … to take this decision,” Jega said.