The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has promised to provide a level playing ground for all political parties in Benue State in Saturday’s Governorship and State Assembly elections.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Benue State, Prof. Sam Egwu who gave the assurance on Tuesday while briefing the media in Makurdi disclosed that 17 political parties had been cleared to feature in the election.
Prof. Egwu explained that the election would hold in 5, 092 Polling Units across the 23 Local Government Areas, LGAs, of the state “involving 2,777,727, registered voters.
“However, as announced previously, there will be no voting in 10 Polling Units spread across Buruku, Gboko, Kwande, Makurdi and Okpoku LGAs because registered voters do not exist in these newly created units.”
The REC assured that the Commission would draw lessons from the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on February 25 in conducting the governorship and State Assembly.
He said “as it has become part of the INEC process of building integrity and transparency into the country’s electoral process, the ballot papers and result sheets for the March 18 elections have long been delivered to the Central Bank in Makurdi and kept in the strong room where currencies are kept.”
He also reiterated that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, would be deployed for the election “as was the case in the presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25.
“The BVAS have remained in INEC offices in the Local Government Area offices of the Commission since the national elections where configuration for the next election has been completed and have been fully charged for the election.”
Prof. Egwu appeal to the political parties, candidates, supporters, agents and the citizenry to support the electoral body to conduct free, fair and peaceful elections in the state on Saturday.
The REC also noted that “we have enjoyed robust relationship with the members of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, ICCES, in Benue State.
“The security agencies that are members of ICCES under the leadership of the Nigeria Police worked tirelessly to ensure relative peace in the February 25 election, and have remained steadfast in working to further improve the security of the election environment next Saturday; but they need the cooperation of the Benue public rather than reliance on the use of force.”