Nigerians shocked and angry over last-minute election delay

ABUJA, NIGERIA (FEBRUARY 16, 2019) (REUTERS) – Voters in Nigeria expressed dismay and disappointment on Saturday (February 16) after a national election was postponed hours before polls were due to open.

The one-week delay was needed to hold a free and fair election, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, told reporters in the early hours of Saturday.

President Muhammadu Buhari faces a tight election contest against the main opposition candidate, businessman and former vice president Atiku Abubakar.

Aides to both men said their candidates would return to the capital Abuja on Saturday. Buhari and Atiku are in the northern states of Katsina and Adamawa, where they had been due to vote.

Commission officials told Reuters there had been problems circulating ballot papers and results sheets.

Presidential elections in 2011 and 2015 were also delayed over logistics and security issues.

Nigeria is also dealing with pockets of instability and past elections have been marred by violence, intimidation and ballot rigging.

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