In order to give itself more time to recalibrate the electronic voting equipment at the center of last month’s contentious presidential election, Nigeria’s electoral commission postponed Saturday’s elections to install new governors by one week.
On March 18, elections will now be held to choose governors for 28 of the country’s 36 states. 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 modify its Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS). The presidential and parliamentary elections last month were conducted using identical BVAS voting machines.
“This decision has not been made lightly, but it is essential to ensure that there is sufficient time to back up the data stored on the over 176,000 BVAS machines from the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on February 25, 2023, and then to reconfigure them for the Governorship and State Assembly elections,” INEC stated 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 mechanisms intended to prevent vote tampering. They also criticized the INEC for poor preparation and voting delays. They did not, however, claim fraud.