The Independent National Electoral Commission has shifted the general elections earlier scheduled for February 14 and 28 to March 28 and April 11, 2015. INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, who announced the new dates on Saturday in Abuja after series of meeting with various stakeholders, explained that the Presidential and National Assembly elections would hold on March 28 while the governorship and state Houses of Assembly polls would hold on April 11.
Jega said the commission was empowered by Section 26 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) to shift national elections due to some factors.
He explained that the postponement followed reports by the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki(retd.), and other service chiefs that their agencies would not be able to guarantee security of INEC personnel in some parts of the country.
Jega denied holding meetings with any opposition figure or the Arewa Consultative Forum to rig election in favour of any candidate, dismissing calls on him by some people from the South-South to resign.
He also denied insinuations that the commission was forced to take shift the polls, saying INEC had taken the best decision under the prevailing circumstances.
“Nobody has forced us to take this decision; it is a very weighty decision, but under the present circumstances, we have taken the best decision and we stand by it,” he added.
Jega noted that it would be dangerous to send its personnel to areas the security agencies had said they would not be able to guarantee the safety of the staff.
The INEC boss said the shift of the polls, which he described as rescheduling, would enable more eligible voters to collect their Permanent Voter Card, but ruled out the opportunity for some people to transfer their registration status to their new areas of residence.
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