Plateau on edge over polls as 4 houses, council Chamber razed down in Langtang South

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…We won’t go to Tribunal, says PDP chieftain

From Ron Jacob, Jos

Adding to the already fragile peace on the Plateau as a result of the sectarian, and at times religious, violence, the State government is allegedly washing the face of the deep-seated injury there with pepper by allegedly fiddling with the outcome of last Wednesday’s local government polls.

In response, aggrieved youths are resorting to violence and damaging public property. In some cases, opposition party officials are “declaring results” and usurping the statutory functions of the electoral body, the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASEIC).

Curiously, in the midst of the delicate security and political situations, the government has, inexplicably, relaxed the curfew in Jos.

The Plateau State Government on Friday relaxed the curfew imposed on Jos North and Jos South Local Government Areas (LGAs) to 12.00 mid-night – 6.00am
The government had imposed a curfew on the two LGAs in the wake of crisis that rocked the state after a family of nine were killed by unknown gunmen on the night of Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 at Rukuba road in Jos North Local Government.
The killings led to crisis across the Jos-Bukuru metropolis, which left scores killed in the the process
The situation forced the state government imposed a 24 hours’ curfew in the flash points like Angwan Rukuba, Students Village, Rikkos, Tina Junction and Nassarwa quarters.
Other places within the metropolis were placed on 6.00pm – 6.00am curfew before it was later relaxed to 10.00pm – 6.00am.
A press statement signed by the Acting Secretary to the State Government (SSG). Mr Richard Tokma, said that Governor Simon Lalong, reviewed the curfew imposed on the affected LGAs from 12.00 mid=night to 6.00am.
Tokma explained that the relaxation of the curfew was following the improvement in the security of those affected areas.
The SSG charged the citizens of Plateau to be law abiding and ensure that nothing tampers with the relative peace the state has been enjoying of late by going about their lawful businesses without any fear.
As a result of the political crisis, Local Government Chairmen sworn-in in Jos are being dared to come and report for official duties.

 

But government is telling some of the opposition party officials who announced results to be ready to face the consequences of their actions.

Four houses and a council chamber have been razed down by angry youths in Langtang South Local Government of Plateau over the non-declaration of Wednesday’s Council Polls by Plateau Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC).

This fresh trouble in the state came on the heel of Governor Simon Lalong allegex deliberate discarding of the polls conducted by the commission and going ahead to swear-in APC candidates as elected chairmen.

Lalong had announced 2.00pm as time for the swearing-in at Government House, Little Rayfield, Jos but that only Mangu and Langtang North LGas elections were inconclusive

An eye witness told Everyday.ng on Thursday that the youths of the area quickly went on rampage on hearing the swearing-in of APC candidates on radio

“We just heard and saw the angry youths chanting war songs and raining abuses on PLASIEC as they matched into the streets of Langtang South in protest of the government decision on the polls.

“Before we could say Jack, three houses belonging to some prominent persons and an official of of PLASIEC were burnt down by the irate youths, ’’ the witness, Vonji narrated.

Vonji gave the names of the victims of the youths’ attack on properties to include, Mr Andrew Sambo, the Electoral Officer (EO) that conducted the council polls in the area, Mr Jackson Ponzhi, House Member and Mr Nicholas Vongsin, the immediate past Management Committee Chairman of the area.

He said that the Council Chamber, where results of the elections from various wards of the area were to be collated and announced was not left out as it was burnt down too.

Mr Domle Simon, PDP Vice Chairman, Plateau South, blamed Governor Lalong for the destruction so far recorded in Langtang South.

“Why would a sensible Governor decide to swear-in somebody who didn’t win an election and then still expect people to keep mum and watch?

“Whatever happens in those 13 LGAs that elections took place, Lalong should be blamed. He has only demonstrated his disdain for the people he claimed to be leading, ’’ he said.

Simon said, “I am almost 70 years old, all along I have never seen anything like this done by Governor Lalong. What system of government are we operating? Autocracy or democracy?’’

He wondered how the so-called winners of the election could occupy their offices in their respective councils.

According to him, “we shall see how those sworn-in chairmen of APC could enter their offices in the various councils where they claimed they have won.’’

The Vice Chairman, however advised the governor to do the needful to avoid heating the political atmosphere of the state, whose peace is so fragile as a result with the recent crises it recorded.

Reacting, Mr Yakubu Datti, state information commissioner, said that Lalong has not done anything wrong to warrant the “kind of reaction we are seeing in some of our local governments.”

He advised all aggrieved political parties to take the opportunity of the tribunal to seek redress and not to go on rampage, creating havoc.

Contacted, Mr Mathias Tyopev, the Plateau Police Command Public Relation Officer (PPRO), said he heard about the crisis in the area but he was yet to get details from the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the area.

Meantime, the Pepoples Democracti Party (PDP) on Thursday declared its candidate for the just concluded LG polls, Mr Henry Koproda, winner of the election iin Pankshin.

This mild drama followed Governor Simon Lalong’s swearing-in of APC candidates of 11 out of the 13 LGAs that took part in the election even when no result was released in any of them.

Mr Emmanuel Goar, the PDP returning officer, in the midst of party supporters that gathered at the council chamber and collation centre, declared Koproda as winner of the election.

Goar told the crowd that after due consideration of all the results collated from all the 20 wards of the area, Koproda scored the highest votes and “so he is the winner of the local government elections of Wednesday, Oct. 10.’’

“Having counted all the votes collated by all the returning officers of the 20 wards in Pankshin, PDP candidate, Mr Henry Koproda, is hereby returned as elected chairman of Pankshin Local Government.

“`I wish to congratulate Koproda for his victory at the polls, which is victory for the PDP. I believe you will do the electorate proud as you take over office as their leader, ’’ Goar stated.

Responding, Mr Yakubu Dati, State information Commissioner, described PDP action as “very strange’’ and a “nullity.’’
Dati said, “we are living in a society governed by law so if PDP chooses to do something outside the confines of the law they should be ready to face the wrath of the law.’’
“Afterall, there is a constituted body that deals with elections and declaration of results.
“If PDP in Pankshin has decided to go against the law, it is left for the people to know or tell which one is credible and which one is not,’’ Dati stated.

Goar, former Rep member, Pankshin, Kanke and Kanam (PKK) Constituency, said that the victory of Koproda has sent a message to the world that PDP is the party to beat in 2019.

Goar, who is a chieftain of PDP, said, “from this moment, we shall ensure that the gates of the local government secretariat would be kept under lock and key so no stranger can have access to our administrative office, the secretariat.’’

“We don’t want any trouble and nobody should look for ours but should stay away from our secretariat which can only be occupied by Koproda, ’’ he declared.

The PDP Chieftain called on the party supporters to protect their victory at all cost without going violent about it because “only peace can bring about development.’’

Responding, Koproda thanked the people of Pankshin for considering him worthy to lead them as Chairman toward the desired growth and development of the area.

He appealed to all the supporters especially the youths to abhor any form of crisis but should join him in piloting the council for the benefit of all citizens.

Nonetheless, political lundits are of the opinion that with this scenario where Pankshin now has two council chairmen, only time would tell how it shall all end up in the political struggle playing out in Pankshin and on the Plateau as a whole.

Contracted, Mr Benedict Shiknghul, the PDP Vice Chairman, Plateau Central, described the declaration of Koproda as winner of the election as the “best decision’’ for the area.

▪PDP won’t approach tribunal over APC robbery – Mwolwus

Chief Alexander Mwolwus, Plateau Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chieftain says the party would not approach any tribunal over “APC daylight robbery’’ in the just concluded Local Government elections in the state.

Mwolwus, a former Special Adviser (SA) to Ex-Governor Jonah Jang on political matters, made the declaration on Friday in a chat with our Correspondent in Jos.

The election umpire, Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC), had declared all the 11 APC candidates winners of the election in their respective councils and declared those of Mangu and Langtang North LGAs inconclusive.

Governor Simon Lalong led APC government, had gone ahead and sworn-in  the 11 APC candidates of the 13 local Governments that took part in the Oct. 10 LG polls allegedly marred with irregularities as results were neither counted nor declared at various collation centres.

But Mwolwus described Lalong’s action as “a day light robbery of PDP in the election which was not conclusive as results were neither counted nor results declared by PLASIEC.’’

The former Special Adviser accused the APC government of promoting illegality and violence in the state.

He said, “I don’t think PDP has time to waste approaching Governor Simon Lalong’s Election Tribunal.

“It’s unfortunate that things turned out like this. Going to the tribunal would be but a foolish thing to do. Is it not the same people of the government that are in the tribunal?

“We know very well that there can never be justice in that tribunal. it will only amount to an exercise in futility, waste of time, effort and energy to approach it,’’ he said.

According to him, “unfortunately we have a government that does not respect the rules it set for itself and the people having involved itself in the caret that took place on Wednesday, Oct. 11.’’

The PDP Chieftain alleged that the Governor’s action was aimed at ensuring that he gets the Federal Government allocation flowing because the Senate had threatened to deny such allocation to any state that fails to conduct Local Government election by ending of October.

He further said, “simply because he wants the allocation to keep coming, how he goes about it does not bother him, hence he hurriedly swore in APC candidates as winners of the polls.’’

Mwolwus said that people of Plateau have sent a message to APC that the state is a PDP state with the massive support and votes given to the party’s candidates across the local governments during the LG election.

Contacted, the Statte Commissioner of Information, Mr Yakubu Dati, described PDP’s action as “very strange and laughable.’’

Dati stated that whatever PDP chooses to do “is left for them to approach the Tribunal or not to because it does not concern us or bother us in any way.’’

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