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The Latest: Civic group criticizes Nigeria's election delay

Posted at 4:59 AM, Feb 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-16 04:59:40-05

YOLA, Nigeria (AP) — The Latest on Nigeria's postponed presidential election (all times local):

10:55 a.m.

A civic group monitoring Nigeria's now-delayed election says the last-minute decision to postpone the vote a week until Feb. 23 "has created needless tension and confusion in the country."

The Situation Room statement expressed shock and disappointment after assurances by the electoral commission that "everything was ready." It said the delay casts a "cloud of doubt" on the body's credibility and competence.

It called on political parties to avoid incitement and misinformation and called on the electoral commission to explain how Nigeria will pay for the costly election delay.

The commission in its early-morning statement cited unspecified "challenges" and said it would give more details Saturday afternoon.

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Nigerians have awakened to find the presidential election delayed a week from Saturday until Feb. 23 because of what the electoral commission has called unspecified "challenges." The country's top two political parties condemn the last-minute postponement.

Some bitter voters in the capital, Abuja, and elsewhere who traveled home to cast their ballots say they cannot afford to wait another seven days.

A spokesman for top opposition challenger Atiku Abubakar in Delta state said the electoral commission "has destroyed the soul of Nigeria with this act."

Abubakar is expected to speak to reporters later Saturday from his home in the north.

One ruling party campaign director said it is better to give the electoral commission time to conduct a credible vote.

The commission is to give more details in the afternoon.