Elections into local government councils were held in Benue and Cross River states on Saturday 30 May, 2020.
Polls took place in all 23 local government areas of Benue State with a fairly good turnout of voters across most of the 3, 691 polling units in the state.
Our correspondent, who monitored the exercise, said there was orderliness in most of the polling stations.
The Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC) had earlier said only five political parties; the PDP, SDP, Labour party, ACP and APGA, would participate in the elections.
The state chairman of the PDP, Sir John Ngbede, who voted in his home LGA of Agatu, noted that the party was fully prepared for the elections and hoped to win all the seats.
But the APC, which on Friday distanced itself from the exercise on the ground that it would be a ‘kangaroo’ exercise, enjoined members of the party to sit at home.
The Acting Secretary of the APC in the state, James Ornguga, alleged that the election was already programmed to hand-pick and declare all PDP candidates.
However, the exercise went on peacefully at the time of this report.
Governor Samuel Ortom, who voted at Ako polling unit in Gbajimgba area of the state, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the exercise, saying the exercise was impressive.
Late arrival of materials in Cross River
Elections were held in the 18 councils and 196 wards of Cross River State after five years.
It was the first local government election held since the administration of Governor Ben Ayade.
Two major political parties in the state, the ruling PDP and leading opposition APC fielded candidates.
While the PDP fielded candidates for the 18 chairmanship and all the councillorship slots, one of the two factions of the APC, led by Godwin Etim John, fielded nine candidates for chairmanship and 42 for the councillorship.
The other faction of the APC purportedly recognised by the party’s national headquarters, led by Sir John Ochala, boycotted the election, citing irregularities and subsisting court cases.
The faction called for postponement due to ongoing national lockdown which it said affected its members.
The chairman of the state’s Independent Electoral Commission, Sir Mike Ushie, said the body did not have any court papers restraining it from conducting the election.
Despite late commencement of voting due to late arrival of election materials, voting went on peacefully.
At most of the voting polls in eight Bakassi, Yala, Bekwara, Calabar South, Calabar Municipality and Akpabuyo where our correspondent monitored the election, turnout was appreciable.
However, some candidates from the two major parties complained of inadequate preparations due to the very short notice before the election.
Most of the candidates from the factional APC led by Godwin Etim John said they didn’t have enough time and money to entice voters as their counterparts in the PDP.