The Naira further lost its value against the dollar on Monday and stocks in Nigeria were on a freefall as investors reacted to news that presidential elections had been postponed for six weeks.
At the close of business on Monday, the naira had fallen 1 per cent to just over NGN196 to the dollar in interbank trading, far below its officially traded bracket while the Lagos Stock Exchange (LSE) All Share index dropped 0.4 per cent.
Many investors were hoping that with the elections and all political Maneuverings over before end of the first quarter of the year some stability and will return to the Nigerian economy and the government will start to address the issue of the falling oil prices.
With the postponement of the elections, however, investors are not happy to sit-out six more weeks of uncertainty over who would take over the reigns of government from May 29.
The decline in the stock exchange is said to be 14% this year so far, only Ukrainian stocks have performed worse than Nigeria’s this year.
Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Jega, announced a postponement of the 14 February presidential election by six weeks over concerns about the security situation last Saturday.
Political parties had debated whether it was possible to hold a ballot while militants occupied much of the north-east of the country.
The election will now be held on 28 March instead.
The electoral authorities had resisted all attempts to postpone the vote up until Saturday.
Nigeria’s national security adviser had previously requested a delay to allow more time for voter card distribution.
Electoral officials met political parties on Saturday to canvass their views.
Prof. Jega, said the six-week delay was unavoidable after he was informed that the military would not be available to help during the election.
Security chiefs advised him that troops would be too busy fighting Boko Haram militants in the north-east to assist across the country.
The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, expressed his disappointment over the postponement of the elections, decrying what he called a government intervention in the electoral process.