SHAFAQNA – Nigeria’s election commission met on Saturday to discuss what the body’s chairman said were “new developments” about next week’s scheduled presidential election.Africa’s most populous nation and leading economy is set to go to the polls next Saturday, with mounting concerns about security and the distribution of voter cards.
The head of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, told delegates before a closed-door session that the gathering was designed to give an update on preparations.
But he also said it was “in particular to draw your attention to some new developments and to get your input as to how the commission should address these new developments”.
A news conference is scheduled for later on Saturday.
Jega has been under pressure to announce a delay to the presidential and parliamentary poll because not all of the 68.8 million registered voters have received their cards.
The country’s northeast is also in the grip of a violent Boko Haram insurgency, which has left hundreds of thousands of people displaced and as a result unable to cast their ballot.
At the same time, Nigerian, Chadian, Nigerien and Cameroonian troops have begun a joint fight-back to curb the threat to regional security from the Islamist group.
A report in the Weekly Trust newspaper on Saturday said military top brass had told INEC that no soldiers will be available to provide security if the election takes place on February 14.
The newspaper, which did not quote its sources, said the chiefs of defence staff and national security advisor had written to Jega earlier this week “strongly advising” a six-week delay in polling.
There was no immediate response from the military when contacted by AFP but it is understood that the recommendations were the “new developments” being discussed at the INEC meeting.