The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed the 14 February presidential election by six weeks over concerns about the security situation.
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.
The chairman of Nigeria’s electoral commission, Attahiru 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 jihadists in the north-east to assist across the country.
Officials from the main opposition party accuse the military of forcing the electoral commission into the delay to help President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign.