From Ron Jacob, Jos
Angry youths in Mangu Local Government have barricaded all roads leading in and out of Mangu in protest over PLASIEC refusal to declare the winner of the Wednesday’s local government polls.
Our Correspondent reports on Thursday in Mangu that trouble started when after receiving two results of two wards in Mangu and it was obvious that PDP candidate, Mr Ayuba Gofwen-Burki, would win, the returning officer ran away.
The Returning Oficer, Mr Christopher Beten, General Manager, PEPSA, was in the midst of collecting the results when a call came, allegedly from a highly placed state government official from the Government House who allegedly told him to stop and leave for Jos immediately.
The caller also spoke with the Electoral officer (EO), Mr Hosea Plang, and the DPO, Mr Alex, and thereafter the trio rose one by one and disappeared from the collation centre.
The Civil Defence Divisional officer (DO), simply called Prince, was reported to have quickly smuggled the returning officer out of the collation centre and his eventually disappearance from Mangu to Jos.
Consequently, the youths reacted in anger blocking the highways demanding for the declaration of the results of the election before they would open it.
However, motorists and commuters coming from Shendam/Langtang could not pass to Jos nor those coming from Jos pass to either Shendam or Langtang.
A spokesman of the youths said, “this road will remain blocked until we see the returning officer come and declare the result of yesterday election.’’
“We the youths of Mangu will not allow any car to pass through Mangu town until the needful is done by PLASIEC officials that conducted the LG polls in Mangu Local Government, ‘’ the spokesman declared.
Contacted, Mr Mathias Tyopev, Plateau Police Command spokesman, confirmed the protest, but that his men were controlling the situation so that it does not get out to hand.
“Our DPO in Mangu has confirmed the whole situation to me, but we are on top of the situation so that it does not get out to hand. We are appealing ot the youths to be peaceful in their protest, ’’ he stated.
Nonetheless, in Pankshin Local Government, the Returning Officer, whose identity was kept ilsecret by other PLASIEC officials refused to show up in the collation centre,
“We have just brought our result from our wards to the collaction centre, but there is no single PLASIEC official aound to receive the results. ‘’ Mr Samuel Goar (PDP), former Council Chairman said.
Goar said, “it appears there is a sinister move by PLASIEC and the APC-led government, to manipulate this election in favour of APC candidate when it is clear to them that they have lost the election to PDP.
Also Speaking, Mr Dom Joseph, PDP Ex-Officio, Plateau Central, decried the attitude of PLASIEC officials, which he decribed as “very disturbing’’ and “uncalled for’’ of an umpire.
“We foresaw all this, right from the time they started sharing the sentive materials to all the 20 wards here in Pankshin, where duplicates were issued out to most of the wards instead of the originals result sheets, ’’ Joseph said.
He said that they were waiting for the officials to come to the collation centre, where results from various wards were trickling in one by one.
Mr Benedict Shiknughul, PDP Vice Chariman, Plateau Central said in Mangu that “what we gathered is that PLASIEC has been ordered by the Governor Simon Lalong not to announce any result at the various collation centres but in Jos.
“We are so surprised about the complacency of PLASIEC in this election, which the PDP outrightly has an upper hand in most local governments, where election were held, ‘’ Shiknughul alleged.