March 19, 2023

Benue: INEC shifts Gov’ship, Assembly election in Kwande LG to Monday

By Peter Duru, Makurdi

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has shifted the Governorship and State Assembly election in Kwande Local Government Area, LGA, of Benue state to Monday, March 20, 2023, over a printer’s error.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Benue State, Prof. Sam Egwu who announced the date for the election Sunday in Makurdi had earlier in a statement explained that the Commission reached the decision to postpone the poll after stakeholders from the area insisted on the shift following a mixup discovered on the ballot papers to be used for the elections in two State Constituencies of the LGA.

The text read “on behalf of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), I announce the postponement of the Governorship and State Assembly elections in Kwande East and West constituencies in Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State.

“The Commission deployed all non-sensitive and sensitive materials to the 23 Local Government Areas of Benue State including Kwande Local Government preparatory to the Governorship and State Assembly elections rescheduled for March 18, 2023. All the materials were successfully deployed to the Registration Areas on Friday and the RACs were subsequently activated.

“However, in the course of distribution of materials and deployment to the polling units this morning a printing error showing that ballot papers meant for Kwande East were labelled Kwande West, while those for Kwande West were labelled Kwande East were discovered. The error is also reflected in the result sheets for the two constituencies.

“However, this error has nothing to do with the ballot papers meant for the governorship election, which means the governorship election could have proceeded in the Local Government.

“Following the discovery of the printing errors, stakeholders in the Local Government across the political spectrum who met in the palace of Ter Kwande took a decision not to allow polls to continue where it had commenced, and for deployment not to continue to the other polling units. They rejected appeal to allow the governorship election to proceed while the Commission arranges for the reprinting of the ballot papers for the two-state constituencies to address the error on the ground that they would prefer to hold the two elections on the same day.

“As things stand, the Commission is fated to reprint the ballot papers for the two elections and schedule a new date for the election. The decision to reprint the ballot papers for the governorship election is in recognition of the fact that ballot papers had been exposed to the public having commenced voting in some polling units.

“Consequently, the people of Kwande Local Government, and, indeed, the entire Benue State will have to wait patiently for the Commission to do the needful and fix a new date for the governorship and State Assembly elections in kwande Local Government.”