Nigerian elections were due on 16 February; the citizens of the country were already tensed about their highly contested elections. Hours before the polls were due to open, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the elections for another week.
The United States said they fully support INEC and their only wish is for free, fair, peaceful and credible elections to take place. They encouraged all Nigerians too, to support INEC.
“U.S. Embassy fully supports the joint statement by the heads of the ECOWAS and other international election observation missions on the postponement of the February 16 Nigerian elections,” the US Embassy in Nigeria said.
“We join in encouraging all Nigerians to ensure a free, fair, peaceful, and credible election by supporting the Independent National Electoral Commission while it finalises electoral preparations this week and by voting in peace together on Feb. 23.”
The new voting date for the Nigerian elections has been scheduled for 23 February and the heads of the international observation missions in Nigeria has urged INEC to strictly adhere to the new date.
INEC has been asked to keep the country, the public and the world, informed of their election preparations. Nigerians may be losing confidence in these elections, which have been marred from the beginning, with a lot of mudslinging between the two main parties.
Nigeria is not a wealthy country. Many voters spent hours traveling to the polls on the 16th of February. It is not feasible for these people to go back home and return to the polls one week later. Logistic and economy are some of the major problems that Nigerians face.
Already, there have been cries of foul play. The Senate president, Bukola Saraki, has shown disappointment by the postponed elections. He took to social media to talk about how this change has affected so many Nigerian citizens.
In the meantime, political parties are strategizing. President Buhari has called for the Nigerian public to be calm and to refrain from any kind of civil disorder. His main rival, Atiku Abubakar, accused the administration of acts that were undemocratic and also called for patience.
Both parties condemned the delay and accused the other party of political tactics.
In what may be the clincher, Uche Secondu, the chairman of the PDP, called the delay dangerous to democracy. He outright accused President Buhari of doing everything possible to cling on to the power in a country that no longer wants him.
The countdown, the second countdown, to the Nigerian elections has again begun. The new date for the Nigerian elections is going to be a tense day in the country, while the US would be keeping a close eye.