The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed the general elections by a week.

This means that the Presidential and National Assembly elections, initially scheduled for today, February 16, will now hold on February 23, while the governorship and state houses of assembly elections will take place on March 9.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, announced the decision at a short press briefing at 2:44 am on Saturday morning.

He said, “Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan, and the determination to conduct free, fair, and credible elections, the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible”.

The press briefing followed a crucial meeting of the INEC boss with the 12 National Commissioners of the commission which started late on Friday night.

The polls were shifted despite earlier assurance by the INEC boss that the commission has no plan to postpone the elections.

Professor Yakubu’s announcement confirms speculations that the electoral umpire would shift the polls after encountering challenges in the distribution of electoral materials.

While the INEC officials were holding the meeting, the Chief Press Secretary to Professor Yakubu, Mr Rotomi Oyekanmi, had informed reporters that the commission had taken a decision about the elections.

He, however, declined to give the details of what was discussed at the meeting, saying the INEC chairman was billed to address Nigerians later after the meeting.

Read the full speech by the INEC boss below;

Ladies and gentlemen, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) met on Friday 15, February 2019, and reviewed its preparations for the 2019 general elections scheduled for Saturday, 16 February 2019, and Saturday 2 March 2019.

Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan, and the determination to conduct free, fair, and credible elections, the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible.

Consequently, the commission has decided to reschedule the Presidential and National Assembly elections to Saturday, 23 February 2019.

Furthermore, the Governorship, State House of Assembly, and Federal Capital Territory Area Council elections are rescheduled to Saturday, 9 March 2019.

This will afford the commission the opportunity to address identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of our elections.

This was a difficult decision for the commission to take but necessary for the successful delivery of the elections and the consolidation of our democracy.

The commission will meet with key stakeholders to update them on this development at 2pm on Saturday, 16 February 2019, at the Abuja International Conference Centre.

Thank you very much.

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