Late breaking news. Voting for the nation’s next president has been called off for Saturday. Thanks for coming. Stay tuned for further announcements.

Not the kind of message one would expect from the superpower of Africa.

But indeed, five hours before polls were set to open on Saturday, Nigeria’s electoral commission announced that unspecified “challenges” had forced a “difficult decision”. Voting materials had not been delivered to all parts of the country and the much-anticipated elections would be postponed for a week. Maybe.

“This was a difficult decision but necessary for the successful delivery of the elections and the consolidation of our democracy,” said commission chair Mahmood Yakubu, speaking to reporters late Friday night.

President Muhammadu Buhari , having just left the mosque in his hometown Daura, wanted no part of the drama and was not going to appear as if he had been forewarned. “I have given the military and the police instructions to be ruthless. We are not going to be blamed for the bad conduct of the election,” he told senior members of his All Progressives Congress (APC).

Anyone trying to intimidate voters or interfere with the voting “will do it at the expense of his own life”, he warned.