By Marie-Therese Nanlong
THE peaceful protest in some parts of Plateau State against the announcement of the result of Wednesday’s local council election conducted by the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission, PSIEC, has turned violent leading to razing of some government and private property.
After the election, PLASIEC officials abandoned their duty posts as voters were waiting for the results to be announced at the various collation centres. However, the PLASIEC Chairman, Fabian Ntung, before a handful of newsmen, announce results declaring the All Progressives Congress, APC, candidates winners of 11 local councils election while those of Mangu and Langtang North were declared inconclusive.
The election was held in 13 of the 17 local government areas and Ntung announced the results without quoting any figure. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, rejected the results.
Angry youths took to the streets blocking the highways and at the time of this report, the personal property belonging to the Management Committee Chairperson of Bassa Local Government Area, Sarah Bali, was said to have been torched but Vanguard could not confirm it at the time of this report. The PLASIEC offices in that area and Tunkus, Mikang Local Government Area were also not spared. Governor Simon Lalong could not return on time from his native Shendam where he went to cast his vote as the blockage at Mangu Local Government Area spilled over to Pankshin Local Government Area.
The State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Yakubu Dati appealed for calm and asked aggrieved people to approach the Tribunal.
Vanguard gathered that the Governor, who returned to Jos through a chopper is set to swear in the winners.
PLASIEC Chairman, Fabian Ntung, who announced the result despite protest in the various local councils said APC won in Bassa, Bokkos, Jos East, Mikang, Langtang South, Wase, Kanam, Kanke, Pankshin, Shendam and Qua’an Pan while election was inconclusive in Mangu and Langtang North local government areas.
Jos North, Jos South, Riyom and Barkin Ladi were exempted from the exercise due to insecurity.
But the major opposition, PDP, which claimed that its agent was bundled out of PLASIEC premises before the results were announced said the travesty would not stand.
The State PDP Chairman, Hon. Damishi Sango who spoke with journalists in Jos faulted the entire process saying while “voters are waiting at the different collation centres to get PLASIEC, the electoral officers and returning officers disappeared into air.”
Sango warned the Governor and the ruling APC in the state not to breach the peace in the Plateau and allow the will of the people as spoken through the ballot to prevail.
He said: “Some two weeks back, I had cause to address you on some burning political issues. I desire that you alert the people of the State on the dangerous plot by Governor Lalong to worsen the already precarious situation in the state. The PDP is receiving and monitoring results across the 13 local government areas where elections were conducted. Reports monitored indicate that elections were peacefully conducted at the polling units where results were transmitted to the Wards for collation.
“While voters were waiting at the collation centres to get PLASIEC’s verdict, the electoral officers and returning officers disappeared into thin air. PLASIEC has announced the names of so-called winners of the election and the Governor is planning to swear them in later in the day. From the foregoing, it is clear that Governor Lalong and the ruling APC are hell bent on plunging the state into yet another needless political crisis.
“I have spoken to the State Commissioner of Police, State Director of Security Services intimating them on the present sad development and made it clear that Governor Lalong should be held responsible for any breach of peace in the state should he and his cohorts continue on the dangerous path they have chosen to tread. I appeal to Governor Lalong to allow good conscience to prevail and allow the will of the people as spoken through the ballot to prevail.’’