By Marie-Therese Nanlong
The Plateau State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP has called for the arrest and prosecution of some Ad-hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC who disappeared from their duty posts with sensitive and non-sensitive electoral materials on the 18th March 2023 when the election was ongoing.
The Party said the INEC officials committed electoral offenses as they made away with the materials, switched off their phones, and could not be reached until after the election.
The State Party Chairman, Mr. Chris Hassan who briefed journalists on Monday in Jos, also called for the immediate arrest of the Chairman of Jos North LGA, Mr. Shehu Usman, a Member representing Pankshin/Kanke/Kanam federal constituency, Yusuf Gagdi, and member-elect for the Jos North-North State constituency, Aliu Adamu, all of the All Progressives Congress, APC for alleged electoral offenses.
Recall that 14 BVAs were missing on Election Day but resurfaced about 48 hours later with figures in the machines.
Hassan said, “We wish to start by congratulating the governor-elect and his deputy, His Excellency, Barr. Caleb Mutfwang and Ngo Josephine Piyo for the resounding victory at the just concluded polls in Plateau State. We equally thank the electorates in Plateau State for making a clear and unmistakable decision by voting for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the governorship election and the various House of Assembly seats across the state.
“It is common knowledge that some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, absconded with electoral materials, both sensitive and non-sensitive; and deliberately refused to turn in the results of over 35 polling units for over 48 hours after the close of poll.
“We need to draw the attention of the public to the fact that these acts of criminal conspiracy, and sheer electoral brigandage and banditry were premeditated, hatched, calculated, and executed with the collusion, connivance, and funding of the Chairman of Jos North LGA, Hon Shehu Bala Usman, Hon Babayo Yusuf Gagdi, member representing Pankshin/Kanke/Kanam Constituency and member-elect of Jos North-North House of Assembly, Hon Aliu Adamu, all of the All Progressives Congress.
“The entire state woke up on Sunday 19th March 2023, to the disconcerting news of the disappearance of 35 polling unit officials and results from Naraguta B Ward of Jos North LGA. The results from these Polling Units were not uploaded to the INEC result viewing portal, IREV, and the electoral officials for these polling units had absconded as all their phone numbers were reportedly switched off.
“This was confirmed by the Collation Officer of Naraguta B and the Electoral Officer of Jos North. According to initial reports and findings, the deliberate delay was calculated and intended to serve as a buffer for the rigging of the gubernatorial result in favour of the candidate of the APC. The shameful role played by the Chairman of Jos North, Hon Shehu Bala Usman will remain in history as one of the most ignoble, reprehensible, and despicable acts in the political history of Plateau state…”
He added, “While we commend the Police for the prompt arrest of the Registration Area Technical Officer (RATECH) for the Naraguta B, one Mr. Umar Mohammed, who showed up almost 48 hours after the declaration with 14 BVAS Machines, with a fairylike tale of his involvement, we call on the Nigeria Police to go after all the 3 Adhoc staff of INEC at the 14 polling units and the 14 Police officers attached to these polling units.
“It is clear that there was an active conspiracy amongst all those involved as all the 42 Adhoc staff in the 14 polling units switched off their phones as well as the 14 Policemen attached to these polling units. For a proper investigation and prosecution of these electoral offenses, all 56 conspirators and collaborators should be arrested and allowed to explain their various roles in the botched attempt to skew and rewrite election results against the popular will and wishes of the people of Plateau State.
“We want to also draw the attention of the public that we are aware of subterranean attempts to release the only suspect arrested so far in this matter and to ensure that the electoral offense is swept under the carpet. We want to let all electoral stakeholders know that we will keep a steady tab on the process and we will resist any attempt to compromise the Police and eyewitnesses in this regard.
“There can be no end to this matter unless the Police, without fear or favour, arrest and prosecute all persons involved to serve as a deterrent to all and sundry.
We also call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately correct the results of Plateau Central Senatorial Zone Candidate with reference to Kanam LGA for overvoting and corrections of the Senatorial results in Mangu LGA as a result of computation of errors detected and to immediately declare Chief Amb. Golkuna Yohanna Gotom as the winner of the Senatorial Election held on the 25th February 2023…”
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