Real reason we postponed governorship election – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it postponed the governorship election due to litigation against it.

INEC in a statement issued by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, sent to POLITICS NIGERIA at 11:20pm on Wednesday said that following Wednesday’s ruling by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on the reconfiguration of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) used for the presidential election held on February 25, the commission met to assess its impact on its preparations for the governorship and state house of assembly elections scheduled for March 11, 2023, and decided to postpone it for a week.

INEC’s statement partly reads: “Having been used for the Presidential and National Assembly elections on 25th February 2023, it is necessary to reconfigure the BVAS for activation on the date of the Governorship and State Assembly elections.

“While the ruling of the Tribunal makes it possible for the Commission to commence the preparation of the BVAS for the Governorship and State Assembly elections, it has come far too late for the reconfiguration to be concluded.

“Consequently, the Commission has taken the difficult but necessary decision to reschedule the Governorship and State Assembly elections which will now take place on Saturday 18th March 2023. By this decision, campaigns will continue until midnight of Thursday 16th March 2023 i.e. 24 hours before the new date for the election.”

In the wake of the declaration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bola Tinubu as the president-elect, Peter Obi of the Labour Party had approached the Court of Appeal, Abuja, to secure an order restraining the commission from reconfiguring the BVAS used for the election.

The appellate court granted INEC permission to reconfigure the BVAS machines and also granted an order permitting Obi and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Abubakar Atiku, to inspect the BVAS machines and other sensitive electoral materials.