The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that the governorship and state house of assembly elections scheduled for Saturday, March 11, will be postponed to Saturday, March 18.
The decision was made following the ruling by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (EPT) on the reconfiguration of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) used for the February 25 Presidential election.
Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner for Voter Education, explained that the Commission met to assess the impact of the ruling on its preparations for the governorship exercise, and had taken the "difficult but necessary decision to reschedule the Governorship and State Assembly elections."
He went on to state that the reconfiguration of the BVAS for the governorship and state assembly elections was too late to be concluded, despite the tribunal’s ruling enabling INEC to commence its preparation.
In addition, Okoye noted that political parties will be able to continue their campaigns until midnight of Thursday, 16th March 2023, which is 24 hours before the new date for the election.
He also emphasized that while the decision to reschedule the election had not been taken lightly, it was 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 the 25th February 2023 and then to reconfigure them for the Governorship and State Assembly elections.
The Commission assured the public that it is not against litigants inspecting election materials and will continue to grant all litigants access to the materials they require to pursue their cases in court.
With this announcement, campaigns will continue until midnight of Thursday 16 March 2023, which is 24 hours before the new date for the election.