Opposition kicks, Nigerians condemn INEC's postponement of 2019 presidential election, others
The commission announced in the early hours of Saturday, February 16 that the election has been postponed for one additional week, meaning the February 16 elections will now take place on Saturday, February 23.
The Governorship and State House of Assembly elections initially scheduled for March 2 have also been postponed till March 9.
The commission said proceeding with the elections was no longer feasible after a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan.
Many Nigerians had stayed awake in anticipation of the postponement after news emerged that the commission's chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, was presiding over an emergency meeting.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged that the commission's shoddy arrangement plays into the plans of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to rig the elections in their favour and further cling to power.
"Having failed in all their nefarious options to enable them cling on to power, the APC and the INEC came up with the idea of shifting election, an action that is dangerous to our democracy and is therefore unacceptable," he said in a statement.
One of the earliest reaction to the postponement was made by former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, who said it confirmed the opposition's fears that the ruling government would try to rig the election.
"Two days ago, I told Nigerians that the Presidency cabal were considering postponement of the elections because they knew that they can't win. Now I'm vindicated. With this, they have only succeeded in making their situation worse. Nigerians will defeat this tyranny ultimately," he said on his Twitter account (@GovAyoFayose).
He had accused Yakubu of acting the ruling government's script in a previous tweet.
"@inecnigeria under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu is obviously acting a script prepared by the Presidency cabal but Nigerians will defeat them all together," he said.
When the announcement was eventually made, many Nigerians were vocal about their disappointment with the development.
President Muhammadu Buhari's media aide, Bashir Ahmad, expressed frustration with the timing of the postponement especially since many Nigerians, including the president, had travelled to their localities to vote.
"Kai INEC! A lot of people traveled to cast their vote today, some for many hours, some from abroad, but you did such a thing just few hours to Election, haba, you could have taken this decision since Thursday or even early," he posted.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo's spokesperson, Laolu Akande, espressed a similar opinion about INEC's decision, "Mr. President was already in Daura in Katsina State and the VP already in Lagos to vote this morning before the postponement just announced by INEC. This is truly disappointing, but the march to the Next Level continues. Nigeria will prevail," he said.
In the early reactions, other Nigerians have taken to social media to air their frustrations with INEC's decision to shift the date of the polls.
Here's how Nigerians are reacting to the shift in dates on social media as more people are expected to react in the coming hours.
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