Twenty one Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, have rejected a proposal to postpone Nigeria’s general elections billed for February 14 and 28.
In a vote conducted Saturday by the INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, after he met with political parties and the civil society, 21 RECs said the elections should continue as planned while 16 others voted in support of a reschedule.
Nigeria has 37 RECs, each for a state and the Federal Capital, Abuja.
The outcome of the vote came as Nigerians await INEC’s decision on whether the elections are moved or not.
Civil Society leaders said Mr. Jega had told them at their meeting that the commission was under pressure to postpone the polls after all security agencies, including the military and the police, warned that they will only support polls held at least six weeks after the current dates.
Jibrin Ibrahim, a senior fellow at the Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, in Abuja, who was at the meeting, said Mr. Jega told the meeting that security operatives told INEC that they were commencing a six weeks special operations against Boko Haram insurgents in the north eastern corridors of the country and would rather not be distracted by the elections.
Mr. Jega announced that the security forces also said the operations are due to commence on February 14, the date INEC had planned for the presidential and federal legislative elections.
Earlier, 17 political parties out of the total 28 voted in support of an extension.
The opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, has rejected any plan to postpone the election saying such calls are sponsored by President Goodluck Jonathan and the ruling party to stave their imminent defeat at the polls.
It is not clear what the commission’s eventual decision would be with the latest voting pattern by the RECs.
Mr. Jega is expected to brief the media any moment from now.