Wednesday, 6 April 2011

President Jonathan backs poll delay

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has backed the decision to delay elections due to paperwork hold-ups. Jonathan said the resolution to postpone the voting showed that the country was willing to do things properly.

Parliamentary elections were halted on Saturday 2nd of April, when voting materials failed to reach polling sites. Last year, electoral chief Attahiru Jega undertook the task of overhauling the electoral system in order to make the voting fair and free from fraud. Parliamentary elections have been rescheduled for next Saturday 9th April, with the presidential polls and those for governors and state assemblies to be held later in the month.

Speaking to the BBC, Jonathan said: "What happened is another demonstration that the country and the electoral body is totally committed to ensuring that they conduct [a] credible vote."

The delay, however, has left many Nigerians frustrated and suspicious about the reasons behind the postponement. Many are reluctant to make the journey to the polling stations again. Jonathan has called on the country to make an effort, saying: "It's a sacrifice that all of us are paying. I was also in the field, but I have to come back…We really regret what happened."

The Commonwealth Observer Group, which plans to monitor the polls, called the delay "regrettable” but noted that the most important thing is for the polls to be "free, fair and credible."

Sources: BBC News, Next, Voice of America

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

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