Nigerian president asks for emergency meeting over delayed election

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari will hold an emergency meeting with senior members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party over the week-long postponement of the country’s election delay, the party media office said on Monday.

It said the vice president and APC co-chairman Bola Tinubu were among the figures expected to attend the meeting. The electoral commission, which announced the delay five hours before polls were due to open on Saturday, said the election would be held on Feb. 23.

The electoral commission said the postponement was due solely to logistical factors and denied political pressure had played any part in the decision. Buhari and his rival, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, both urged voters to stay calm.

Buhari, in power since 2015, faces a tight election contest against Atiku of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and its top oil producer.

Nigerians expressed dismay and anger over the delay, in a country where 84 million people have registered to vote. Past elections have been marred by violence, intimidation and ballot-rigging, and the postponement raised the possibility of unrest.

“They (the government) are not following the rule of law… This is a total ploy, it is not true that they are not ready” said opposition supporter Oscar Humphrey, 37, in the northern city of Kano, a key battlefield in the presidential race.