The Nigerian Independent Electoral Commission [INEC] says delays by a supplier are to blame for the postponement of elections scheduled for this past weekend. INEC spokesperson Kayode Idowu said the plane that was to bring ballot papers and tally sheets did not deliver them on time.
Many have criticized the delay, including hundreds of people who were able to vote Saturday and will have to repeat the process because their original vote was not counted.
The decision took courage on the part of the commission, which knew there would be criticism but ordered the delay anyway, said Idowu.
INEC still maintained control over the process, even in areas like Kano and Lagos, where hundreds of voters already cast their ballots, he said.
“The deployment of materials and returns have been properly audited and we know how many of those materials…have been expended.” He said those results were not counted because the tally sheets had not been supplied.
Earlier the INEC chairman attributed the delays to the fact that some planes had been diverted to respond to the crisis in Japan.
Observers say that in postponing these elections, INEC sought to mitigate doubts by Nigerians who say it is not immune to political meddling by the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party [PDP]. Idowu said the process should be carried out “with integrity.”
President Goodluck Jonathan and the ruling PDP rejected allegations that they sabotaged the polls to force a delay, calling them the "rantings of those who see failure and envisage defeat at the polls.” The PDP welcomed the postponement, and reports indicate that all the main political parties also back the decision.