Nigeria elections postponed for a week

igeria’s presidential and parliamentary elections have been delayed for a week.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) made the announcement 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 vote has been rescheduled for Saturday 23 February.

The announcement came after an emergency meeting at the INEC headquarters in the capital, Abuja.

Mr Yakubu said the delay would give the commission time to address vital issues, but did not provide further details.

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.

Nigeria is not new to voting postponements, as previous elections in 2011 and 2015 were delayed by several days.

APC Next Level: Updates about the COVID situation in Nigeria

The coronavirus outbreak afflicted damage to different parts of the world, whether it’s the health systems or economies of many countries. There were lots of efforts done by both the public and government to help alleviate the situation. The first case in Nigeria was reported on February 27, 2020. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nigeria is one of the 13 high-risk countries with the most coronavirus cases. Since the first month of COVID-19’s transmission in Nigeria, continuous plan of actions have been made to solve the crisis.

As of April 30, 2021, the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria reached 165,055 and the active cases are 7,951. Meanwhile, 155,041 were discharged from their respective hospitals and health centres. As for the number of deaths, it totalled 2,061. Lagos, FCT and Plateau are the states with the highest number of cases from the reports of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

A pressing issue faced in many African countries like Nigeria with the COVID-19 situation is the lack of healthcare facilities and frontline workers. An example of this is when one of the country’s leading hospitals reached its maximum occupancy, resulting in emergency patients waiting long hours for a single bed. 

The emergency department doctor of this University College Hospital, Dr Collins Elumelu, said that they were overwhelmed with the sudden rise of cases especially when some doctors and nurses were positive of COVID-19. The Nigerian government provided each frontline worker with two months of hazard pay, following the strike of many doctors about their lack of protection. They spent around ₦15.8 billion in late July 2020.

Another critical issue in Nigeria is the declining rate of oil revenues, a large driving force of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). From 2020 up until the present in the year 2021, both the price and demand for crude oil in Nigeria decreased. Consequently, this event caused a surplus supply of oil. World Bank experts suggest that Nigeria find different means to economically recover, aside from oil production. The increase of the non-oil sector of the country’s GDP was contributed by the growth of interest in the agriculture and service sector.

Although entry to Nigeria is allowed, many are encourage to get vaccinated before travelling to the country. Tourists from the United States are required to submit a negative COVID-19 test result, especially for those ages two years old and above. Moreover, there is a strict implementation of wearing masks and maintaining at least a metre distance from each other. Fortunately, there are fewer cases in the country lately so basic services and school resumed. 

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The latest updates and information about the coronavirus in the country are all found here in APC Next Level. We also provide details about the different improvements in the COVID-19 situation and the overall economy of Nigeria. Visit our website and Twitter account for the freshest news.