25th November 2019
7th October 2019
24th September 2019
Nigerians are expected to cast their ballots on Saturday, seven days after the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections were abruptly postponed just hours before polling stations opened.
It marked the third time in row that a vote has been delayed in Nigeria.
Many figures, such as Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson, expressed concern that one week isn’t enough time for the INEC to deal with the concerns they expressed previously.
The delay also comes with a new set of logistical challenges. For example, the dates on thousands of electronic card readers for biometric voting were all required to be changed to the new election date. INEC says that it has now reconfigured 100% of these readers and is on track to deliver voting materials to states that didn’t originally have them
While voting looks likely to go ahead, there are fears of low voter participation on Saturday, including those expressed by INEC itself. Spokesman Festus Okoye told local media on Monday, “We are worried about voter turnout.”
Many Nigerians travel from major cities such as Lagos and Kano to their home towns or villages to vote where they are registered. Some are unlikely to make another trip after last week’s wasted journey or will be unwilling to pay to travel again.
In an effort to get out the vote, the government has declared the eve of the elections a public holiday and airlines are offering discounts. Groups are also organizing free “buses for democracy,” to help combat voter apathy.