Nigerians return to the polls this Saturday to elect governors in 28 of the 36 states of the federation. The remaining eight states elect their governors in what is known as the off-season elections. That is because the elections in those states were contested in the past and cases dragged beyond the transition dates thereby pushing the installation of the winners by months, sometimes years after the administration would have started , and while the person who the court ruled that did not win the election held office. The affected states are Ekiti, Osun and Ondo in the southwest; Bayelsa and Edo in the southsouth; Imo and Anambra in the southeast and Kogi in the northcentral. The first case in the series was Anambra where Peter Obi, candidate of the Labour Party in the last presidential election contested and won his seat back in Anambra and returned to court to argue that he be allowed to have his full period of four years in office for a tenure.
However, there would be election to the state houses of assembly in all the 36 states.
There would have been elections to the national assembly seats that were not concluded or held during the last exercise on February 25 but the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has also shifted that to a later date.
The election holding this Saturday March 18 was originally planned for March 11 but it had to be shifted because INEC needed to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, which were used for the presidential elections for the governorship poll. The courts had, following the prayers of the opposition parties now in court to challenge the results of the presidential election, ruled that INEC should not tamper with the BVAS. But INEC had to go to court to explain that since there were no separate BVAS for the second leg of the polls the BVAS would have to be reconfigured for use. The time spent seeking the permission of the court for the reconfiguration did not leave enough time for the Commission to reconfigure the BVAS, make them ready for the second leg of the polls and be able to effectively distribute materials for the governorship and house of assembly elections ahead of the polls for March 11. The Commission therefore decided to postpone the election to March 18.
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