The Independent National Electoral Commission has made the decision to postpone Nigerian 2015 elections due to security issues.
INEC chairman Professor Attahiru Jega entered the conference hall at approximately 22.50 on Saturday, February 7.
In his address, he said a consensus has been reached among the INEC members to reschedule the elections. Therefore, the presidential and National Assembly elections will now be held on March 28, while the gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections are re-scheduled for April 11.
Jega explained that, while INEC were ready to conduct the elections as originally intended, they decided to heed the advice of Nigerian security agencies officials. The issue of security, Jega said, is outside the INEC's competence.
He refuted claims that the development is due to the low distribution of PVC cards.
"68.2 percent of PVCs collected in Borno, 78 percent in Gombe, 74 percent in Yobe, Adamawa 80 percent. Nobody is forcing us to take this decision," Jega said.
Asked what would happen if the security situation does not improve, Jega had this to say: "We hope and pray that the security situation improves. The constitution gives at least 30 days for the elections to be held before the handover date".
Nigerians and the international community have been waiting for the dates of the general elections to be clarified. Nigeria's security agencies have informed the INEC chairman of their plans to conduct anti-Boko Haram operations and their subsequent inability to provide security during the elections' period. Jega was opposed to the idea of rescheduling, saying the INEC were ready to conduct the polls as initially intended. The major opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, has alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party and President Goodluck Jonathan are behind the plans to shift the dates.