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Nigeria Postpones Parliamentary, Presidential, State Polls

An election officer in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, makes a phone call after the postponement of parliamentary elections, April 2, 2011

Nigerian election officials have vowed to hold parliamentary elections on Monday, after the vote, set for Saturday, was abruptly postponed as voters stood in line.

Nigerian officials blamed the delay on supply companies who they said failed to get ballots and tally sheets to polling stations on time.

Members of the Independent National Electoral Commission said Sunday that all needed materials had arrived at polling stations.

Nigeria's electoral commission has postponed parliamentary elections until April 9, and delayed presidential and state elections as well.

The parliamentary polls were scheduled to take place yesterday (( Saturday )), but the polls were abruptly postponed. Officials blamed the delay on problems in the distribution of voting materials.

Under the new schedule, announced Sunday, Nigeria will cast ballots for the legislature next Saturday, then vote for president on April 16 and state governor positions on April 26.

Nigerians are set to vote in three separate polls this month to elect a new parliament, president, and 36 state governors.

The parliamentary election will be followed by a presidential vote on April 9 and state polls on April 16.

Nigeria's ruling People's Democratic Party is hoping to retain control of the presidency and parliament.

President Goodluck Jonathan is facing a field of challengers led by former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.

Jonathan is seeking his first full term after rising to power last year following the death of predecessor Umaru Yar'Adua. His run was opposed by some PDP members who accuse him of breaking an informal rule to rotate the presidential nomination between Muslims from the north and Christians from the south.

Jonathan is a Christian, while Yar'Adua was a Muslim. President Yar'Adua died just three years into what was expected to be a two-term, eight-year presidency.

Nigeria's population of 140 million - the largest in Africa - is split roughly evenly between Muslims and Christians.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.