Nigerian President Laments Election Body's `Incompetence'

(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said the nation’s election commission had been incompetent after a vote scheduled for last weekend was postponed just hours before polling was meant to start.

“The reasons why such incompetence manifests itself have to be explained,” Buhari, who’s seeking a second term, told a press conference Monday in Abuja, the capital. “After the election, we have to know who is responsible,” he said, adding the Independent National Electoral Commission had received “all the time and resources they wanted.”

INEC announced a one-week delay of the election at around 2:45 a.m. on Saturday, just over five hours before the polls were scheduled to open. It said the delay was down to logistical problems, and had nothing to do with political interference or security concerns.

Buhari, a 76-year-old former general, faces his main challenge from Atiku Abubakar, a 72-year-old businessman and ex-vice president.

While Abubakar accused Buhari’s administration of being behind the delay to ensure a lower turnout on Feb. 23, which may benefit Buhari, the president rejected the allegation and called Nigerians to “vote for who they want.”

The ruling party’s chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, said INEC had colluded with Abubakar’s People’s democratic Party by giving them early notice of the postponement. An INEC spokesman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, denied the claim.

Anticipating possible violence and attempts to rig the vote, Buhari said he had told the military and police “to be ruthless” and briefed law enforcement agencies to identify flash points. “They should be prepared to move,” he said.

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