The election for new governors scheduled for this Saturday has been postponed by a week by Nigeria’s electoral commission since it needs more time to reconfigure the electronic voting devices at the center of last month’s disputed presidential election.
On March 18, elections will now be held to choose governors for 28 of the country’s 36 states. In Nigeria, the continent’s largest economy and top oil producer, governors are among the most powerful leaders.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which utilizes fingerprint and facial recognition to identify voters and transfer results from polling places, announced late on Wednesday that it required extra time to reconfigure its Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).
The presidential and parliamentary elections last month were conducted using the same BVAS machines.
“This decision has not been taken lightly but it is necessary to ensure that there is adequate time to back up the data stored on the over 176,000 BVAS machines from the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on 25th February 2023 and then to reconfigure them for the Governorship and State Assembly elections,” INEC said in a statement.
During the election, last month, observers from the European Union, the Commonwealth, and other organizations noted a number of issues, including the failure of systems intended to prevent vote tampering. They also criticized the INEC for poor preparation and voting delays. The claim of fraud was not made, nevertheless.