MY DEAR CITIZENS OF PLATEAU STATE, I address you with a deep pain in my heart, as we are all witnesses to the shamefaced robbery of the people’s will by a government whose popularity has continued to decline from the very first day it was sworn in on the 29th of May, 2015. I express my utter disappointment at the conduct of the just concluded local government elections in 13 LGAs in the state.
First, the decision to have elections in only 13 LGAs looked, smelled and felt like a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise a significant portion of the citizens of the state. On the excuse that the 4 LGAs had security challenges, the Governor Simon Bako Lalong led APC excluded 4 LGAs from the electoral process, the first time in the history of our dear state that a third of the LGAs are excluded from grassroot participatory democracy. As has been the culture of the government in Plateau State under Governor Lalong, there was no active engagement with the communities that were excluded. While governance-by-trial-and-error has been the trademark of this administration, I am shocked that we have descended to this level, where whole communities and local government areas are literally beaten with a big stick and warned against wincing in pain.
However, this godless act did not end there. Governor Simon Lalong, as if listening to a spirit that had sworn to destroy him, decided to redefine rigging and elevate it to the level of a state craft: on his instruction, the PLASIEC Chairman announced APC as the winner of the just concluded elections in 11 LGAs, even though there were no numbers to back the results at the time of the announcement. We observed how the cowardly electoral officers absconded from their LGAs of assignment, only to appear in Jos with cooked results.
Let me digress: history’s hall of shame shall remember these electoral officers. The shame of this electoral theft should be shared equally between Simon Lalong and his ignoble electoral officers who do not know the meaning of honour, and care nothing about protecting their family name. I am also watching keenly to see if these “elected Chairmen” will wear their stolen robes without shame. Their names will feature in the hall of shame list too.
PLASIEC has scored a new low. Never on the Plateau has election been so unashamedly manipulated. The wonderful people of Plateau made a bold statement by coming out in their numbers to vote for my party, the People’s Democratic Party but the cowardly government of Governor Lalong, too embarrassed to bear the shame of defeat, decided to do what cowards do: to bully the people it is meant to protect, and call black, white. No, this government feels no shame that it has victimized its own people and has supplanted the wishes of the people with the wishes of a thieving political class.
My dear people, the present government is a government of unforced errors. On its own, it continues to make itself unpopular by its actions and its inactions, by its untimely silence and its unguarded utterance, by its lack of tact and its tendency to act in bad faith, almost always. A case in point is this electoral distortion that occurred on the 11th October, 2018. Rest assured that we shall not take this injustice lying low. Among other things, we the people will re-express our will in February 2019, and no one, and nothing can manipulate it again. The APC on the Plateau has shown its hands. We shall not allow them to subvert the people’s will again. This is not only a promise to the good people of Plateau State. It is also a call to action. We cannot sit by and watch the destinies of our youth and children being traded and sectioned by political desperadoes who do not have the decency to allow the people to choose their leaders freely.
While the governor swore-in the so-called winners of the election in record time, he has not responded to the 12,000 IDPs as quickly, he has not responded to the security situation in Barkin Ladi, Bokkos, Mangu, Riyom and parts of Jos with the same fervour, neither has he filled the potholes on our roads with this type of speed. It only shows you the priority of this government.
Let me say this in conclusion: the events of the past 72 hours have revealed the deceit in Governor Lalong’s much talked about peace. It is a ruse and we can all see through it. This electoral heist also reveals that the Governor is desperate for power and has no qualms with subverting justice, just for the sake of capturing power. Peace is a product of justice, the former begets the latter. The impunity we have witnessed these past few days is an eloquent testament that the governor does not understand the link between peace and justice.
While I understand the disappointment in the entire state over this electoral theft, I call on all the people of Plateau State, the PDP LGA election candidates in the 13 LGAs, and especially my supporters, to remain calm and resolute in conducting their affairs in peace, as we approach the 2019 elections where I am optimistic that Plateau citizens will speak clearly against the incompetent APC government through the power of their thumbs.
God bless Nigeria,
God bless Plateau state,
SENATOR JT USENI,
PDP Gubernatorial Candidate
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