From Ron Jacob, Jos
Despite the controversies that occasioned the Local Government Polls in Plateau, the 11 APC candidates declared winners by Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) took over offices on Monday as Chairmen.
The taking over came with many fears just as there was a stampede within Terminus, the City Centre, when news of a burnt house at Dutse Uku filled the air in Jos Metropolis in the early hours of Monday.
PLASIEC had claimed out of the 13 of the 17 local Governments of the State that elections were held, 11 LGAs were won by APC except those of Mangu and Langtang North, which were declared inconclusive.
The PDP and other opposition parties had disagreed with the decision of PLASIEC, which they accused of turning the elections in favour of APC, the ruling party.
The Oct.10 LG polls was widely condemned by political pundits, citizens and observers in and outside Plateau, following the blatant refusal of the PLASIEC to collate, count and declare the results of the polls in the local government secretariat. Names of the winners were simply declarated in Jos and Governor Simon Lalong hurriedly swore-in them in.
His action sparked off reactions from Langtang South and Bassa LGAs where some properties including the house of a PLASIEC official were burnt down.
Some angry youths in Mangu and Kanke LGAs, staged protests, blocking the highways..
The chairman Panskhin, Mr John Damap, sneaked in to the secretariat and took over the mantle of leadership from the outgone Management Committee Chairman, Mrs Naomi Golmwen around 11.50am of Monday amidst tight security.
The presence of the heavy security operatives at the secretariat was aimed at checkmating the opposition PDP supporters from interfering with the handing over process.
Gomwen, who welcomed the chairman along with other council members, congratulated him for his victory at the polls.
She said, “we, as council members of Pankshin local government, share in your victory at the just concluded LG polls, and equally congratulate you as I hand over the mantle of leadership to you today.’’
“It is our prayer that the Almighty God will guide you as you lead the good people of Panskhin to the next phase of its journey to its desired growth and development, ’’ she said.
Damap, in response, thanked the outgoing caretaker chairman and council members for keeping faith with the people of Pankshin during their short tenure.
He pledged to study the handing over notes and see where he and his council team would do to touch the lives of the citizens in accordance with the promises made and manifesto of APC.
In Kanam Local Government, it was the council secretary, Mr Emmanuel Andarawus, that handed over to the chairman, Mr Abbas Wakdung on behalf of the outgone Management Committee Chairman, Mr Wudu Musa Sarki.
Nonetheless, it was reported that in virtually all the LGAs, the chairmen took over amidst tight security for fear of resistance from other aggrieved political parties especially the PDP, which claimed to have swept the polls but was blatantly denied.
A security source said that most of the chairmen elect, only sneaked in for the handing over ceremony, which lasted for less than 30 minutes and they were out of the secretariats.