Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) insists no need for vote delay

Nigeria’s National Security Advisor Sambo Dasuki listens to a question after his address at Chatham House in London, January 22, 2015. Nigeria should delay elections planned for next month to give organizers more time to distribute millions of biometric ID cards to voters, the National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan said on Thursday. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Nigeria‘s President Goodluck Jonathan held talks Thursday on postponing next week’s presidential election over security issues caused by Boko Haram attacks in the country’s Northeast. However, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) insisted on maintaining the date, a governor said.

Jonathan held seven hours of talks with security officials, state governors, the election commission and former heads of state on whether to proceed with the vote, Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha told journalists.

Among those attending the meeting of the Council of State was Jonathan’s main challenger in the election, General Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler, who led Nigeria between 1983 and 1985.

Okorocha said the security agencies had expressed concerns about “security challenges” during the elections.

But INEC insisted it was “very ready to conduct these elections”, he said.

The council resolved that “INEC should then inform the nation as to their preparedness and proceed to conduct the elections,” Okorocha added.

The prospect of an election delay was first raised last month by National Security Advisor Sambo Dasuki, who said that INEC should look at delaying the polls because of problems in distributing voter cards.

In recent weeks, Boko Haram has stepped up its six-year insurgency in Northeast Nigeria, leading to growing calls for a postponement of the synchronized presidential and national assembly polls.

Buhari’s opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) is, however, opposed to any delay.

Several state governors have declared public holidays this week, to give people a chance to ensure they are on the electoral register.

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