The United Kingdom and the United States government has urged Nigerians to be patient and support the democratic process following the postponement of the general elections by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
INEC delayed presidential and parliamentary elections for a week, in a dramatic night-time move.
What’s more intriguing is that the announcement was made just five hours before the polls were due to open on Saturday.
“Proceeding with the election as scheduled is no longer feasible,” commission chairman Mahmood Yakubu said, citing logistical issues.
The two main candidates have asked people to remain calm and be patient.
Mr Yakubu said the difficult decision to postpone was needed to ensure a free and fair vote.
In a statement in Abuja, Saturday, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said Britain recognised the frustrations of Nigerians and urged them to vote on the re-scheduled dates.
She said: “The British High Commission supports the joint statement made by the heads of the international observer missions on the postponement of the 2019 Nigerian elections.
“We recognise the frustrations of many Nigerians, including those involved in the delivery, supervision and observation of the election and those who traveled considerable distances to exercise their democratic right to vote. We urge the Nigerian people to come out to vote next weekend in the re-scheduled elections.”
On the other hand, the US ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, in his goodwill message, urged Nigerians to go out and exercise their franchise on the day of the election.
Mr Symington also explained that the U.S. government cares about Nigeria, saying, “the importance of Nigeria is the importance of Africa”.
“And I encourage every Nigerian to vote. I hope, with all my heart, that every Nigerian that has a voters card will use that voter’s card on election day, he said.
“And remember, as you vote, it is your choice. We have no candidate, no party, except the very democratic process itself.
“We know the importance of Nigeria. We care about the future of Nigeria.”
This is amid tension with reports indicating that in the past two weeks several INEC offices have been set alight, with thousands of electronic smart card readers and voter cards destroyed.
There have also been claims of shortages of election material in some of the country’s 36 states.