Nigeria's top security adviser has told the electoral commission to delay an election scheduled for next month until biometric voter registration cards are distributed to all voters.
Sambo Dasuki has told the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the February 14 vote can be postponed by three months under electoral law.
“There is nothing wrong with us delaying [the election] to ensure that everyone gets the card to vote,” said Sambo Dasuki, said during a talk at Chatham House in London. He added that while there were risks to delaying the elections, the dangers were greater should the vote take place before the electoral commission was ready.
Each of the country's 68.8 million voters are supposed to attend polling stations with biometric cards as part of anti-fraud efforts. However, according to the Financial Times, approximately 30m of these have yet to receive the voting cards.
With attacks by the extremist Islamist group Boko Haram threatening to provoke religious and ethnic tensions, it vital that the process is as flawless as possible, said Dasuki.
However, the opposition has immediately rejected the call for postponement.
"Why are they not ready? Why should we postpone? We say 'no' to postponement," Lai Mohammed, spokesman of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), told Reuters. "They know that if they don't postpone they can't win. They are just terrified."