…Chairmen of States Electoral Commission commend BSIEC
By Peter Duru, Makurdi
The much anticipated Benue State Local Government Council elections were held peacefully on Saturday across the state without hitches or incidents though marked by low voter turnout.
The Benue State Independent Electoral Commission, BSIEC had ensured early distribution of electoral materials and voting resumed as early as 9 am and was expected close at 3 pm. At selected polling units visited in Makurdi at about 11 am prospective voters were seen trickling in to cast their votes.
At the Federal Inland Revenue Polling Unit 041, Wailomayo Council Ward, the Presiding Officer, Martha Micheal who confirmed that she received all necessary materials early enough said the process was peaceful and orderly but noted that the turnout was low.
“We do not have any incidents, we collected our materials very early in the morning. I can also tell you that the process is very peaceful but the turn out of voters is low,” she said.
At the Padopass Harmony Polling Unit 024, Wailomayo Council Ward ll, the Presiding Officer, Clement Ancha who confirmed that the process was smooth without hitches also noted that the turnout of voters was very low.
Commenting after leading a delegation of Chairmen of State Independent Electoral Commissions to monitor the process, the acting Chairman, Mr. Jossy Eze commended the BSIEC for ensuring that the process went hitch-free.
The Chairman also said, “so far in the places we visited I noticed that firstly the election is peaceful, there is general voter apathy because from the number of registered voters compared to the numbers that have voted the turn out is low, but there is still time and people may still come to vote.
“We also noticed that it is a convivial atmosphere and the voting environment is conducive for voters to come and cast their votes without intimidation.
“But the area the Benue State Independent Electoral Commission would have to go back to the drawing board in future elections is the issue of apathy because the turnout is poor.”
Mr Eze also countered the claim that the norm across the states was that the political party in power in any state usually record a clean sweep of council elections, saying “It is not a fact, it may be the situation in the majority of the states but not all the states. It depends on the peculiarities of each state.”
Findings indicated that six political parties had their logos on the ballot papers and these include, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Social Democratic Party, SDP, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Labour Party, LP, African Action Congress, AAC, and Action Alliance, AA.
It would be recalled that the All Progressives Congress, APC, had earlier decided to stay away from the polls.