Abuja,- The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday announced the rescheduling of the general elections from Feb. 14 and Feb. 28 to March 28 and April 11, 2015, citing advice from security agencies.
Chairman of the commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, announced the new dates in a late night news conference in Abuja.
Jega said that presidential and National Assembly elections earlier slated for Feb. 14 would now hold on March 28.
Similary, he said that the governorship and House of Assembly polls previously scheduled for Feb. 28 had been shifted to April 11.
He gave advice from security chiefs as reason for the postponement of the elections.
He said that the armed forces said that they were engaged in a major military operation in the troubled North-East of the country and could therefore not assist in the elections if they were conducted on the original dates.
He also said that the decision to shift the dates of the polls was taken after due consultation with all stakeholders in the process.
Jega said that INEC not being a security agency could by itself guarantee protection for personnel and materials, as well as voters during elections, and could not wave off the advice by the nation’s security chiefs.
“No matter the extent of INEC’s preparedness, if the security of personnel, voters, election observers and election materials cannot be guaranteed, the prospects of free, fair credible and peaceful elections will be greatly jeopardised.
“Consequently, the commission has decided to reschedule the 2015 general elections thus: the national election, that is presidential and National Assembly are now to hold on March 28.
“The state election, that is governorship and state assembly will hold on April 11, 2015,’’ he said.
Jega explained that the new dates of the elections still fell within the constitutional framework for the conduct of the elections.
He said that with the rescheduling of the elections, the security services will do their best to ensure that the security environment needed for safe and peaceful conduct of the elections was rapidly put in place.
He added that he did not envisage additional cost to the conduct of the elections due to the rescheduling of the dates.
“We in INEC reassure all Nigerians, and indeed, the international community, of our commitment to do everything within the law and to conduct free, fair and credible elections.
“We call on the security agencies to honour their commitment to install sufficient normalcy for elections to take place within the period of extension.
The electoral body’s chairman also called on Nigerians, including political parties, candidates and all other stakeholders, to accept the postponement decision in good faith and ensure the maintenance of peace.
He denied having meeting with any individual or group for any candidate to emerge in an election, saying that he would rather resign than do such thing.

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