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APC, PDP Test Might In Benue, C’River LG Polls Today

In what appeared to be a show of strength in COVID-19 election policy, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are set to slug it out today in the local government elections in Benue and Cross River states.

Benue and Cross River states will be the first to hold LG elections following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

In Benue, both political parties will lock horns in the rescheduled elections to elect local council chairmen for the 18 LGAs of the state.

 Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC) had earlier said that arrangements have been concluded to conduct the Local Government elections today.

Also, the police in Benue State said they have deployed 5200 personnel to ensure a peaceful process.

The spokesperson of the Police, Cathrine Anene, who spoke to journalists at the command’s headquarters said all officers are given protective gadgets and briefed of the lay down rules on how to stop the spread of COVID-19 adding that voters are expected to wear facemask.

According to her, the security agents are only to ensure that all potential electorate adhere strictly to the COVID-19 rules of social distancing, washing of hands as well as the use of sanitizers.

The police informed citizens that restriction of movement starts from 8pm to 6am.

The information officer of BSIEC, Ngodoo Toryem, while speaking to journalists, could not give the exact figure of the adhoc staff recruited for the conduct of the election.

According to her, five political parties including PDP, SDP, APGA, AAC are to participate in the elections.

But APC said it won’t participate in the LG elections. The publicity secretary of the party, James Ornguga, who stated this, added that they prepared for the election and submitted a list of validly nominated candidates which he said was turned down by BSIEC.

Meanwhile, the electoral umpire in Cross River State said about 8,000 personnel would be used for the conduct of the elections across the 2,226 polling units in the three senatorial districts of the state.

Apart from the APC and the PDP, it was gathered that three other political parties have also presented their candidates for the contest.

 Speaking with Journalists in Calabar yesterday on the preparation for the polls, chairman, Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission (CROSIEC), Dr Mike Ushie, said that the commission has put a machinery in place to ensure that there is free and fair polls.

Ushie stressed that CROSIEC was fully prepared to conduct the polls adding that the commission is 100% compliant with the guidelines on COVID – 19 elections policy issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as well as the National Centre for

Diseases Control (NCDC).

“We have complied with what INEC wants as well as the NCDC. We have gone beyond INEC and have gone ahead to procure hand sanitizers, hand washing containers, procured a number of face masts and we are working seriously to ensure that the right thing is done,” the CROSIEC boss said.

 Ushie stressed that the state electoral umpire has given sufficient notice for the conduct of the election and confirmed that five political parties will be participating in today’s elections.

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