By James Ibechi

Some spirited Igede speaking  people of Nigeria on Friday expressed unhappiness at the Local Government poll date announced by the Benue State Independent Electoral Commission, BESIEC, while others who are non-Igede welcomed the schedule.

BESIEC Chairman, Mr. John Tswua, on Friday announced that the state electoral body would conduct the council poll on Sept. 3, 2016.

But the prominent Igede men and women who spoke to said the poll date will affect the annual festival of the Igede people, the Igede Agba new yam festival, which is celebrated on the first Ihigile, a local market day, of September every year.

Recognized by the state government, Igede Agba is a major festival in the state.

This year, the festive day falls on September 3, and clashes with the council election date, as it was announced to hold on the same date by BESIEC.

“The Igede Agba, because of all the side events to mark the cultural festival, is like a week-long celebration and it starts on Sept. 3, As Obi and Oju voters will go to polls, the festivities will be affected in those areas of the state,” one man who preferred anonymity said.

“The Election Commission should have taken into consideration the sentiments of the people of Igede which is attached to Igede Agba,” said another source, adding that the party he belongs to is, however, ready to face the polls.

However, some people of Idoma and Tiv extraction said they were happy with the date of the poll. could not ascertain if the choice of Sept. 3 poll date was an oversight on the part of BESIEC or a deliberate fixture to slight the Igede people, who going by the national population census of 2006, are the third dominant ethnic group in Benue State.


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