Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has advised people who turned out to vote in the state Local Government election on Saturday to leave the polling units as soon as they voted to guard against the spread of COVID-19.
Ortom gave the advice on Saturday in Gbajimba, headquarters of Guma Local Government Area of the state, after casting his vote at the LGEA Primary School polling unit, Gbajimba.
He said: “Vote and leave in order to give room for other electorate to also exercise their franchise.
“The Benue State Independent Electoral Commission has directed that in order to guard against the spread of COVID-19, only 30 electorate will be allowed at the polling units at a time.
“So, if you vote, you have to leave to allow others too to come and vote.
“I have the confidence that the Peoples Democratic Party will win overwhelmingly because in most of the local government areas, the candidates are unopposed.”
Meanwhile, correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria who monitored the poll in Makurdi, Kwande, parts of Gboko and Gwer Local Government Councils report that the polls were marred by voter apathy.
NAN reports that the polls had not commenced in any of the polling units within Makurdi metropolis as at 12noon.
At Kanshio Primary School Polling Unit, located in the suburb of Makurdi, electoral officials were seen conducting the poll.
An electoral officer, Priscilla Ikyer, in charge of the unit, lamented the absence of voting materials, especially ink pad, ballot boxes and stamp.
An aide to Governor Ortom, Orngu Anngu, who also voted at the unit, commended the officials for “the peaceful and professional manner the election is being conducted”.
Anngu also commended security officials for securing the polling unit and assured that his party would win overwhelmingly.
He, however, regretted that polling unit officials were not properly kitted against COVID-19.
“They are not wearing face masks and other protective kits,” he said.
At Ikpayongo Market, an accredited PDP agent in Mbasombo ward, Terfa Uleve, who was cited wearing the party’s tag while displaying his wares at the market, alleged that “since there is no election, I returned to the market to sell my wares”.
Reacting to the non-availability of electoral materials, the Public Relations Officer of BISEC, Mavis Toryem, said the commission would address its shortcomings.