The governorship and state house of assembly election scheduled for Saturday, March 11, 2023 have been postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner for Voter Education, said in a statement on Wednesday night that the elections will take place on Saturday, March 18.
According to him, the Commission met to assess the impact of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal’s (EPT) ruling on the reconfiguration of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) used for the February 25, 2023 Presidential election on its preparations for the governorship election.
“The Commission has taken the difficult but necessary decision to reschedule the Governorship and State Assembly elections which will now take place on Saturday 18th March 2023,” he said.
Political parties, according to Okoye, will continue their campaigns until midnight on Thursday, March 16, 2023 – 24 hours before the new election date.
Okoye stated that while the tribunal’s decision would allow INEC to begin preparing the BVAS for the governorship and state assembly elections, the reconfiguration would be too late.
“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. This has been the practice for all elections, including the period when the Commission was using Smart Card Readers.
“However, we wish to reiterate that the Commission is not against litigants inspecting election materials. Consequently, it will continue to grant all litigants access to the materials they require to pursue their cases in court,” he added.