Nigeria's electoral agency postpones elections for governors

ABUJA, March 8 (Reuters) - Nigeria's electoral commission has postponed by a week Saturday's elections to choose new governors, saying it needed more time to reconfigure electronic machines that are at the centre of last month's disputed presidential vote.

The elections to pick governors in 28 of the country's 36 states will now be held on March 18. Governors are among the most influential politicians in Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy and largest oil producer.

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said late on Wednesday it needed more time to reconfigure its Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) that uses fingerprints and facial recognition to identify voters and transmit results from polling station.

The same BVAS machies were used during las month's presidential and parliamentary vote.

"This decision has not been taken lightly but it is necessary to ensure that there is adequate time to back up the data stored on the over 176,000 BVAS machines from the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on 25th February 2023 and then to reconfigure them for the Governorship and State Assembly elections," INEC said in a statement.

Observers from the European Union, the Commonwealth and other bodies reported a range of problems during last month's election, among them failures in systems designed to prevent vote manipulation, and criticised the INEC for poor planning and voting delays. But they did not allege fraud.

Reporting by Camillus Eboh, writing by MacDonald Dzirutwe; editing by Diane Craft

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