From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

The Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC) held local government council elections across the 23 Local Government Areas of the state on Saturday with a low voter turnout.

It was observed that election officials and materials arrived at most polling units on time, with many polling units witnessing low voter turnout, even though the election was generally peaceful.

As early as 9:30 am, voters were seen trickling into some of the polling stations including those situated at the BIRS office and Wailomayo ward to vote for candidates of their choice.

Observers drawn from various states of the country who monitored the elections in the state adjudged the exercise as peaceful, free and fair but lamented the low turnout of voters for the elections.

Acting Chairman, Forum of State Independent Electoral Commissions of Nigeria, Barrister Jossy Eze, in a chat with reporters in Makurdi, while monitoring the elections, stated that voters were not coerced to vote for candidates against their wishes.

‘In the places we visited, I noticed that the election was peaceful; there is general voter apathy as regards the number of voters, viz-a-viz the number we have seen from the ballot boxes.

‘Although, the turnout is low, there is still time, people are still ready to vote and people will still come to vote since the closing time would be at about 4 pm and this is midday.

‘We also noticed that the atmosphere around the polling booths is conducive for people to come out and vote, no intimidation, but surprisingly we do not see party agents and we also do not see enough security personnel,’ he said.

At the time of filing this report, voting had stopped in all polling units and sorting and counting of ballot papers were ongoing.

BSIEC Chairman Tersoo Loko promised that the results of the election would be announced when they are ready.

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Source: news