Mr Festus Okoye, the INEC National Electoral Commissioner (NEC), has assured Benue residents that the commission would continue to maintain its neutral status in all its conducts.

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Okoye gave the assurance on Friday in Makurdi while addressing a news conference ahead of Saturday’s supplementary elections.

NAN gathered that Okoye is in charge of three States namely, Anambra, Benue and Enugu respectively.

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He emphasised that the commission would at all times be neutral in order to allow the electorate to have unfettered opportunity to elect leaders of their choice.

He said that the commission was poised to conducting  free, fair and credible polls, saying,  ”the commission cannot afford to fail or disappoint Nigerians.”

”It also wants to conduct elections in such a manner that both the winners and losers will accept its outcome,” he said.

He also expressed serious concerns over the rate of insecurity during elections, stressing that security agencies should intensify efforts in order to tackle it head on and nip it in the bud.

He said that if that was done, the electorate would have pleasant voting experience, emphasising that, that was the earnest desire of the commission.

He added that if the security challenges witnessed during elections were nipped in the bud, public confidence in the system would increase greatly.

Okoye advised politicians to discourage their supporters from fomenting trouble or indulging in political violence thereby leading to the spilling of blood in the name of seeking for elective positions

He advised that politicians should jettison the idea of considering election as a do-or-die affair.

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The INEC NEC further urged politicians to contribute meaningfully to the peaceful election in line with the desire of the commission.

He disclosed that the commission had drafted the Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) of Kogi, Prof. Sam Egwu and that of Niger, Mallam Attahiru Garba to work closely with the one in Benue, Dr Nentawe Yilwatda to ensure credible supplementary election.

Benue REC, Yilwatda, informed people of the state that there would be restriction of movement on March 23, from 7:00am to 4:00pm, stressing that it would go along way in curbing ugly incidents of ballot papers and boxes snatching.


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