Nigerian Christians Welcome Postponement of National Elections

ICC Note: With the upcoming national election in sight in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission announced on February 7th that voting would be postponed until March 28th in place of its original date of February 14th. As Boko Haram has increased attacks in anticipation of the election, the Commission stated that there would not be enough troops available to protect voters on the initial date. Local church leaders are hopeful that the decision was made with the right intentions and that the election will take place in a fair and safe manner on the newly scheduled date.

By Carey Lodge

02/10/2015 Nigeria (Christian Today) - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has faced criticism for postponing the forthcoming national elections, but Christians across the country have welcomed the move.

The Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, told Fides news agency that he hoped the decision was made "with good intentions and that, after having solved the problems cited by the Commission, elections are held."

Church leaders are doing all they can "to make sure that the election results are credible and accurate, hoping that this will contribute to peace in our country", he added.

The head of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, announced on Saturday that the presidential elections scheduled to take place on February 14 will now be held on March 28 – a six week delay.

Jega cited security issues, saying that there are not currently enough troops available to protect voters. The majority of the country's forces are battling terrorist group Boko Haram, which is operating mainly in the north-east of the country. The group has stepped up attacks in the lead-up to the elections.

"The commission cannot lightly wave off the advice of the nation's security chiefs," Jega said.

"Calling people to exercise their democratic rights in a situation where their security cannot be guaranteed is a most onerous responsibility."

Current president Goodluck Jonathan, from the south of Nigeria, is running for a second and final term. His main competition is Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim candidate from the north of the country.

Buhari leads the All Progressives Congress party (APC), made up of four parties which merged to take on Jonathan's People's Democratic Party. It is expected to be a tight race.

APC chairman John Odigie-Oyegun said postponing the elections was a "major setback for Nigerian democracy" and some are accusing the government of foul play.

[Full Story]