From Ado Abubakar Musa, Jos
The Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission ( PLASIEC), has said that the state LG election earlier scheduled to hold on the 17 February has been postponed indefinitely over security threat in the state.
Fabian A. Ntung, who is the state electoral chairman, made the disclosure yesterday in a media briefing held at the commission’s headquarters in Jos.
According to the Chairman, the reason for the postponement of the election came following a communication from the “State Security Council” that the general atmosphere in the state was not favourable to hold the election and advised it to postpone the exercise pending the return of the favourable atmosphere in the state.
A release signed by Ntung after the briefing said, “the general public and particularly the stakeholders in the political process in the state are hereby informed that the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) is in receipt of a communication from the Plateau State Security Council stating that the present security atmosphere in the state generally, is not conducive for the conduct of the forthcoming LGC election which is scheduled to hold for Saturday 17 February , 2018.
“ Accordingly, it has advised that the election be postponed pending the return of a conducive atmosphere for the conduct of the exercise,” the statement added.
Regretting any inconvenience might have caused, Ntung further assured that as soon as the commission was advised to go ahead with the election, new date would be announced to the general public.
Earlier on, the Chairman stressed that the commission was ready to conduct the election even before the development, adding that the commission was well prepared and funded as against the rumor circulating that the PLASIEC was not ready for the exercise.
It can be recalled that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had earlier raised alarm on the Local Government election in the state scheduled for February 17th, accusing the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its chairman in the state of recruiting ad-hoc staff to be used for the election.
In a statement last Saturday, the party also accused Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC), of toying with issues that may adversely affect conduct of the polls.
Signed by PDP chairman in Plateau, Sango, the party said,”We are aware the Plateau State House of Assembly passed the Local Government Law, which takes care of tenure and general administration some five months ago. However, we are aware the Governor of the State is yet to accent to the law.”
PDP said that under the PLASIEC Law (2017), the Voters’ Register (as collected from INEC) is supposed to be on display at least one month before the conduct of the Council polls.
“But with just two weeks to go this has not yet been done. Therefore, we are not sure of those qualified to cast votes on February 17, 2018.
”Under normal circumstances, recruitment of ad-hoc staff for the conduct of the polls is supposed to be properly advertised and done in a transparent manner, but we are witnessing a secret recruitment exercise, being executed by the APC Chairman in the State.
”The absence of the Local Government Law is a deliberate attempt on the part of the Lalong administration to build a house without a foundation, thereby creating a loophole for the collapse of the Local Government system and perpetuating the ad-hoc arrangement of Management Committees with the sole aim of having stooges at this level of governance.
”There is no gain saying the fact that this has robbed the grass roots of the needed development intended under constitutional democracy.
”The non-display of the Voters’ Register as provided for by Law is intended to disenfranchise our teeming supporters across the Local Governments as we suspect that the voters’ list is being doctored.
”The secret recruitment of ad-hoc staff by the APC as against the transparent conduct of the exercise is intended to achieve the purpose of rigging and outright declaration of APC candidates whether or not they win the elections. This further gives credence to the rumour making the rounds that election results would not be declared at the respective levels as provided for by the PLASIEC Law (2017).
”At this point, we call on Governor Lalong to make public his position on the Local Government Law as passed by the Plateau State House of Assembly some five months ago.
”We believe that the palpable lapses we have observed in the entire process leading to the conduct of the Local Government elections is not an accident, but a craftily designed plot to give the APC undue advantage over the other political parties.”