FORUM OF PDP CHAIRMANSHIP CANDIDATES FROWN AT EXCLUSION OF FOUR (4) LGAs FROM LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS IN PLATEAU STATE
The forum of PDP Chairmanship Candidates, Plateau State is utterly dismayed by the recent Press release by Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) concerning the October 10, 2018 elections, where 4 Local Government Areas namely Jos North, Jos South, Riyom and B/Ladi were excluded from the exercise on grounds of insecurity.
We find this atavistic explanation rather pedestrian, cheap and broad daylight coup against democracy most especially at the grassroots which are the closest government to the masses. The inalienable rights of the citizens of the four Local Government Areas affected by the flimsy and undemocratic excuse to freely elect their representatives at this very vital level of government is being flagrantly trampled upon with no convincing reasons.
The body language of the APC-led government in the State since its inception on May 29, 2015 has portrayed it as being allergic to democratically elected structures at the Local Government level. No sooner had this govt came on board that it dissolved all elected officials of the 17 Councils in the State and all well meaning entreaties in support of the elected officials to complete their tenure fell on deaf ears. Since then, Lalong had installed one Management Committee or the other to man the affairs of Local governments in flagrant disregard of the spirit and letters of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
Several promises to hold elections by the State Electoral Umpire, PLASIEC were made to Plateau citizens only to reverse same thereafter.
The last one was the botched February 2018 date and reasons adduced were flimsy and frivolous. The Commission and by extension, the government’s illusive attitude in this direction is becoming hubris in nature, in the eyes of many stakeholders as far as the Plateau project is concerned, wondering whether the third tier of government in the state would ever be democratized.
Attributing this rash decision of PLASIEC to insecurity issues, raises more questions than answers. It is all becoming clear that concrete Security information on the Plateau crisis by govt or its agencies has been so sketchy and government’s position so contradictory and confusing.
In one breadth, the administration openly boasts of restoring peace and in another it is crying over insecurity. On his two official visits to Plateau, President Buhari was informed by Governor Lalong and other APC elders in the state, that the state was enjoying peace even though Daffo in Bokkos was on fire during the first Presidential visit.
How can such a person now turn round to adduce insecurity as a serious impediment to hold elections in the four Local government areas?
This highfalutin action is highly suspicious as other Local Government Areas with equal security volatility like Bokkos, Bassa and Mangu are being considered safe for elections to hold. We make bold to say that if the Security atmosphere in the three LGAs is conducive for polls to take place, the same should apply to the other four excluded from the exercise except if the Lalong government has something to hide on the real raison detre behind the PLASIEC action.
Just a week ago (few days to the PLASIEC pronouncements), the new Special Task Force Commander in the State Maj. Gen. Augustine Obundu read a riot act to the blood thirsty terrorists to steer clear of B/Ladi, Bokkos, Riyom and other flashpoints in the State. This warning wasn’t limited to the four LGAs, so how come PLASIEC is pruning the list of unsecured Local governments to just four? Is PLASIEC more on ground on matters of security than the STF Commander?
It is common knowledge that at the height of Boko Haram insurgency in the North East, INEC conducted general elections in all the troubled States in 2015 successfully. Even Afghanistan and Somalia that are hotbeds of sustained and intractable acts of terrorism, have witnessed successful conduct of elections within their territories. What makes our own case different?
PLASIEC and the APC administration should know that their failure to conduct Local Government elections in any part of the state is a catalyst or recipe for insecurity in itself because elected Chairmen and their Councillors will have better grasp of security situation in their localities and would be more forthcoming in proffering lasting solutions to same.
This forum is calling on PLASIEC and the Plateau State govt to reverse this unpopular decision forthwith in order to clear itself from the widespread perception that the motives behind the exclusion of the four Local Government Areas is insidious, punitive and politically motivated and what is more, the government is inadvertently passing out a message to the world that even the seat of power, as well as other arms of government like the State Assembly and the Judicial headquarters, all located especially in Jos South Local Government Areas are not safe.
Sign:FORUM OF PDP CHAIRMANSHIP CANDIDATES PLATEAU STATE
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