By Samson Echenim
PLATEAU State Commissioner for Information, Hon. Yakubu Dati has condemned the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, protest of the victory of the All Progressives Congress ,APC, in the recent local government elections held in Plateau State, which witnessed massive turnout.
Speaking to newsmen in Lagos, weekend, Dati said that the election was adjudged free and fair by all the stakeholders and the civil society groups that monitored the exercise and wondered why the opposition party should protest a transparent election which attracted the citizens of the state who came out en masse to cast their votes.
Dati said: “I know that genuine people who are democrats, who know that in every contest, there must be a winner and a loser, will take advantage of the tribunal set up by the government, which is an independent arm of government, to present their grievances and it will be looked at.
“Resorting to self-help does not help. You also know that the elections were conducted peacefully all over the state. But of course, what do you expect from PDP? They are an opposition and they believe that opposition means creating fear and anxiety in the hearts of people which is far from the ethos of democracy.”
The Commissioner insisted that the turnout by voters at the polls was as a result of the public’s confidence in the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC), noting that it takes confidence for people to even come out to cast their votes because they trust the system.
“It takes confidence for people to even come out because if they didn’t trust the system, they will not come out. But in cases where you have people who are looking for the slightest opportunity to ignite problems, it just goes to show that the opposition party just wants to create problems where there are none.”
A communiqué issued by a coalition of Civil Society Groups accredited by PLASIEC to monitor and observe the election said the election was violent free and transparently conducted. The coalition described it as significant improvement when compared to the past exercise.
“Our team of observers reported a fair turnout of voters in most of the units visited, We noted that the number of voters increased progressively from the early hours as the exercise gathered momentum till when it came to the end,” the Communiqué, which was signed by the leader of the Coalition, Peter Nwokolo, said.