Nigerians woke up with a mixture of disappointment and anger on Saturday morning after the surprise announcement by the National Electoral Commission ( INEC ) of the postponement of the presidential election a few hours before the polls opened.
In Port-Harcourt, in the south-east of the country, voters who had not yet heard the news went to polling stations that should have opened at 08:00 local (07:00 GMT ).
“I am angry (…) Why did not they announce this delay earlier? Why make this announcement in the middle of the night? “, Told AFP Chidi Nwakuna, a 51-year-old businessman who is convinced that this is a government maneuver” to rig elections “.
Beloved Ojike, a 25-year-old worker, expressed “tremendous disappointment, not only for Nigerians but also for the international community (…). The INEC has created disorder by doing that. It’s a shame”.
Even anger, even suspicion in Warri, in the oil south of the country, where a voter, Oyi Adamezie, denounced “a plot to cheat”: “otherwise how to explain the postponement of elections planned for a year with the time necessary to prepare everything ? ”
Paul Emurotu, like tens of thousands of his compatriots, had made the trip from the economic capital Lagos, to be able to vote in his native region the Delta. “It’s demoralizing,” he said.
“They take us for idiots”
“We are not happy (…). The INEC said everything was ready. How can they now say that they can not run the elections because of logistical problems? “Said Abba Hassan Shehu, 22, in Daura, in the north of the country. “They take us for idiots”.
Voting for the presidential and legislative elections was postponed until 23 February, the INEC arguing in extremis logistical problems after an emergency meeting in the night from Friday to Saturday.
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In the Ikoyi district of Lagos, Austin Onwusoanya, an ad hoc agent of INEC , said that he had waited in vain all Friday for electoral material that never arrived.
“We had been trained to help hold the poll, we were ready (…) no equipment was delivered” to the local headquarters of the INEC , he testified.
AFP journalists have seen similar problems in many cities across the country in recent days.
The country’s two main parties, the ruling Progressive Congress ( APC ), and the opposition Democratic People’s Party ( PDP ) both condemned the postponement, blaming each other’s responsibility.