Borno Residents Disappointed By Election Postponement

Bornoimages.jpgResidents and officials in Nigeria’s northern Borno state have expressed their disappointment after the electoral commission announced it would postpone elections until March 28, six weeks later than planned.

Attahiru Jega, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said late on Saturday that security chiefs advised a postponement as troops would not be available because of operations against the armed group in the north – especially in Borno state.

“If the security of personnel, voters, election observers and election material cannot be guaranteed, the lives of innocent young men and women and the prospect of free, fair and credible elections will be greatly jeopardised”, Jega said.

But residents and officials in Borno state told Al Jazeera they believed the elections should have gone ahead as planned on February 14.

“The mood here is that of huge disappointment – people were actually ready for the elections here”, said Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris, reporting from Maiduguri.

“The deputy governor of Borno state … said they were ready and this is a huge blow to their plans”.

Our correspondent added that a lot of people who have been displaced by fighting in the region had already been given their voting cards by election commission officials.

The decision to postpone the vote came following a closed-door meeting in Abuja between INEC, the ruling People’s Democratic Party, its main contender, the All Progressive Congress, and other opposition parties.

-Al Jazeera