March 18 Polls: INEC declares Catholic priest winner of Benue guber race
Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, in Benue state, was declared the winner of the state’s governorship elections last Saturday by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
With a margin of 251,020 votes, the APC candidate defeated his closest opponent, Mr. Titus Uba of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who came in second place.
Despite the pending election in Kwande LGA, the State Returning Officer, Professor Farouk Kuta, declared the result of the election based on the “provisions of section 24(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 and the Electoral Guidelines of INEC to declare the result of the election.”
Prof. Kuta reported that the APC candidate received 473,933 votes to defeat Mr. Uba of the PDP, who received 223,913 votes.
A breakdown of the results declared by the electoral body revealed that the APC won 17 of the 23 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the state, while the PDP won four and the LP won one.
The declared result also indicates that the total number of valid votes in the election was 756,903, the total number of votes cast was 768,404, and the total number of rejected votes was 11,499.
Shortly after the announcement of the election results, APC supporters took to the streets of Makurdi to celebrate the Catholic Priest’s victory.
In the meantime, the electoral body has scheduled State Assembly elections for the two State Constituencies of Kwande LGA for March 21.
The Commission explained that the change was necessitated by the discovery of printing errors on the ballot papers and result sheets intended for use in the election in the two Constituencies comprising the LGA.
A statement issued on Monday and signed by the National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, indicated that a decision regarding the new date was made following consultations with area stakeholders.
The statement read, “The public may recall that the Governorship and State Assembly elections scheduled for Saturday, March 18, 2023 in Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State had to be postponed.”
“This decision was prompted by the accidental mixing of sensitive materials for the two State Assembly districts in the area, Kwande East and Kwande West. Voters and stakeholders agreed that the elections should be rescheduled for this reason. In response, the Commission issued a statement that a new date for the elections will be announced.
“Our Resident Electoral Commissioner in Benue State, Professor Sam Egwu, has advised that the State office is prepared to proceed with the rescheduled elections following additional consultations with stakeholders.
Consequently, the Commission approved holding the elections on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.
“The Commission urges voters in Kwande Local Government Area to vote in large numbers for their preferred candidate. Similarly, we request that parties and candidates behave peacefully.
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