The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has directed its members nationwide to reduce petroleum pump price N140 as against N145 per litre.
Chinedu Okworonkwo, national president of the association, made this known in a statement released on Sunday.
“IPMAN was prompted to slash N5 from the N145 per litre official Petroleum pump price in a bid to motivate Nigerians to return to vote again on February 23,” Okworonkwo said.
“We urge all our members across Nigeria to immediately reduce the fuel pump price from N145 per litre to N140 per litre.
The price slash, however, will be effective between February 20 and February 25.
Okworonkwo said the reduction was necessary in order to ease Nigerians “suffering and to also motivate them to travel again to exercise their franchise on February 23.”
Polls were due to open at 8 a.m. Saturday, February 16. The vote will now take place on Saturday, February 23, authorities said, citing logistical issues.
“Following a careful review of the implementation of the logistics and operational plan, and the determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections, the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the election as scheduled is no longer feasible,” the chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, said early Saturday.
“This was a difficult decision for the commission to take, but necessary for the successful delivery of elections and the consolidation of our democracy,” he said.
Elections for governorships, state House of Assembly and area councils are on hold until March 9, INEC said.
The announcement was made only five hours before the polls were supposed to open. Many Nigerians had traveled long distances back to their home city or state in order to vote, only to find that the election was postponed.
Some may not be able to repeat the journey next weekend.
The delay is likely to ratchet up tensions in what is a crucial vote in Africa’s most populous nation. Normal life had been put on hold for the election, with borders closed and drivers urged not to take their cars on the roads.
Addressing another news conference later Saturday, Yakubu insisted that the delay had “nothing to do with security, nothing to do with political influence, nothing to do with the availability of resource.”
He pointed to challenges including the burning down of three regional electoral commission offices housing voting materials and bad weather that prevented ballot papers from being flown into some remote areas as being behind the decision.
Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, 76, said he was “deeply disappointed” by the electoral authorities’ decision to delay the vote, following their “assurances day after day and almost hour after hour that they are in complete readiness for the elections.”
Buhari is running against 71 other presidential candidates but his main challenger is Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president.