Presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for Saturday, February 16 in Nigeria were suddenly postponed by the Independent National Elections Commission (INEC) just hours before the polls were due to open.
The new date for the election is now Saturday, February 23. Also postponed by a week is the March 2 gubernatorial elections, now scheduled for Saturday, March 9.
There are more than 70 presidential candidates involved, all vying to lead the country. The two main candidates, incumbent, Mohammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Party(APP), and former vice-president Atiku Abubakar of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have called for calm following the delay.
Nigeria has the African continent’s biggest economy, is the most populous nation with an estimated 190 million people, as well as the continent’s top oil producer.
Whatever happens, the outcome will have ripple effects throughout the continent and the world. It’s the more reason plenty of analysts are paying attention to what is taking place.
Coverage of the delayed polls, the reasons for the delay, has been intense. The estimate of how much this postponement could cost the Nigerian government, economy is astounding. Here is some analysis from Yahoo Finance, with writer Lolade Akinmurele stating:
“Every Nigerian general election since 2011 has been postponed, but never has it happened on such short and abrupt notice, and with so much at stake than its delay from February 16 to now February 23, 2019.
Leading economist, Bismarck Rewane, roughly estimates that the last minute postponement of the Nigerian elections could cost Africa’s biggest economy around $10 billion (N3.6 trillion at N360/$ exchange rate), 2 percent of 2018 gross domestic product(GDP).”
I checked out the following (The Guardian, BBC, DW, CNN, NPR) to see what they are saying about the delayed polls as follows:
The UK Guardian: Nigeria postpones election just hours before polls due to open