Some residents of Port Harcourt, the Rivers capital, have urged Nigerians to give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the benefit of the doubt over the postponement of the Feb. 16 and March 2 general elections.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, in a news conference in the early hours of Saturday, announced the rescheduling of the polls to Feb. 23 and March 9, citing logistics problems.
The presidential and National Assembly polls earlier fixed for Feb. 16 would now hold on Feb. 28, while governorship and state assembly election would take place on March 9.
Some residents at Ward 6, Units 1, 3 and 6 in Woji town on Saturday told a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent that the delay was a welcome development.
Mr Somto Chibuike, 49, said he came out in the early hours of Saturday to vote, only to find his polling unit deserted.
He, however, said “we should give INEC benefit of the doubt that it would conduct credible elections for whatsoever reason they had to delay the elections.
“There is really no need to hurry or panic when the umpire said it is not ready with logistics for the exercise. I believe INEC can still deliver.”
Mrs Monica Nnadozie, a civil servant, also said that the delay would give INEC the opportunity to make better preparations.
She said “though I was surprise with the postponement, I feel there has been so much tension in the build up to the election, especially in Rivers.
“However, I am optimistic that the delay will help to calm down nerves and make people relax. It’s a good decision as Nigerians demand credible elections.”
A banker, Lucy Offor, also told NAN that “the postponement may have been done in good faith” but would leave huge financial burden on Nigerians.
She emphasised that it was important for Nigerians to have free, fair and credible elections that would reflect the will of the people.
However, Franklin Uzochukwu, called on INEC to ensure that necessary logistics needed for the elections were put in place early to avoid further delay.
He said “any further delay of the elections would become a huge embarrassment to both INEC and Nigerians. It would also leave dire consequences on our economy.”