Jega rejects call to stagger polls in Benue | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Jega rejects call to stagger polls in Benue

Posted: Apr 9, 2015 at 6:25 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)
By Tor Vande-Acka, Makurdi
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, has rejected the proposal by the Benue State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Istafanus Dafuang, to stagger the governorship and state Houses of Assembly election in the state.
The REC had proposed that the elections for Benue South and Benue North West should be conducted on the same day, while those for Benue North East, where the Governor Gabriel Suswam hails from, should be held on a separate date.
Dafuang made this known in Makurdi on Thursday at a meeting with politicians, including candidates for the governorship and Assembly elections, billed to hold on Saturday.
Jega, who was at the meeting, insisted that all elections in the state would be held on the same day. He was, however, silent on the call for the removal of the REC, championed by the chairman of the Benue State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, Emmanuel Agbo.
Jega further pledged that he would ensure that Saturday’s election were free, fair and non-violent in the elections.
He declared that the damage done in Benue during the presidential and National Assembly elections was enormous, pointing out that the commission had to replace about 200 card readers in the state alone.
Jega warned staff of the commission that they would be held responsible if investigations proved they were culpable in the elections.
In his remarks, Dafuang said about 26 card readers as well as results from 24 polling units were destroyed during the March 28 elections, adding that the elections were peaceful but that problem started when “some people who were losing” started causing problems.
The PDP chairman had called for the removal of the state REC, citing lack of confidence as reason for the call.
 One police officer, Iorliam Tyohaa, was burnt to death in Logo, in the violence that broke out during the last elections in the state.