Stakeholders parley over council poll
The Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC) has fixed September 3, 2016 to conduct election into the 23 council areas in the state.
A fortnight ago, BSIEC released the election timetable, informing all political parties to commence modalities in preparation to fielding candidates, as the ban placed on political campaigns was lifted on June 3.
It should be recalled that the last local government election was conducted in 2012 by the immediate past administration of Governor Gabriel Suswam.
The BSIEC Chairman, Dr. John Tsuwa, who disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting with party officials, security personnel, Christian associations, traditional rulers, as well as non-governmental organisations, said parties should commence sale of forms to intending contenders.
He disclosed that for the first time, vigilante groups would be involved in the election, as they are grassroots people who are in better position to identify strange faces at polling units and fish them out, as part of measures to stem rigging.
On whether the commission would be using card readers, the chairman said he is discussing with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and has also written a formal letter, hoping that INEC would approve the usage of the card readers.
He further stated that as a way of getting to the grassroots, BSIEC would organise stakeholders meeting in the three senatorial districts to further educate the electorate towards having free and fair elections.
Speaking during the interactive session, the Adviser to Governor Samuel Ortom on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Titus Dzam called for spirit of sportsmanship among the political class ahead of the poll, by avoiding unnecessary litigations that had been the order of the day.
On his part, the state Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Abba Yaro assured of transparent election.State secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Moses Audu said his party would continue to engage the BSIEC as it is doing now. He however condemned the idea inconclusive elections.
The Ochi Idoma, Agabaidu Idu Eluas Okoyi Ebekpa and the Acting Tor Tiv, Ivokor Unongo after giving their royal blessings for the conduct of the election, advised would-be-contenders to exhibit spirit of sportsmanship during and after the poll.
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