THE Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated the reason the Governorship and State Assembly elections was postponed from March 11, to March 18, 2023.
In an official statement available to SOJ WORLDWIDE on Wednesday night, INEC National Commissioner for Voter Education, Festus Okoye stated that the postponement is to enable the reconfiguration of BVAS for the coming elections.
He said 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, the Commission met to assess its impact on its preparations for the governorship exercise.
“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.
According to Okoye, political parties will continue their campaigns until midnight of Thursday, 16th March 2023 – 24 hours before the new date for the election.
Okoye stated that though the tribunal’s ruling would enable INEC to commence the preparation of the BVAS for the governorship and state assembly elections, it is too late for the reconfiguration to be concluded.
“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.