Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) has postponed the state council election slated for February 17, 2018 indefinitely, citing insecurity as its reason.
This is even as the state Governor, Simon Bako Lalong, has continued to proclaim that the state is very peaceful due to his inclusive style of governance and also as a result of his refusal to pass the anti-open grazing law in the state.
Addressing journalists on Monday, the Chairman of PLASIEC, Chief Fabian Ntung said: “We received a communication from security operatives, that the prevailing atmosphere in the state cannot guarantee a peaceful election and we were advised to postpone the date of the election.”
He added: “Before now we were very prepared to conduct the local government elections come February 17, 2018; our materials had been made available until the report came from security operatives.”
While regretting any inconvenience, Ntung said: “The general public and particularly stakeholders in the political process in the state, are hereby informed that PLASIEC is in receipt of a communication from the Plateau State Security Council stating that the present security atmosphere in the state generally is not conducive for the conduct of the forthcoming local government election, accordingly it has been advised that the election be postponed pending the return to a conducive atmosphere for the conduct of the exercise.”
However, the position of PLASIEC has been criticised by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which believes that the commission was only playing out a script given it by the APC-led state government who would always deceive the people that there is peace in Plateau to score cheap political point.
Mr. Damishi Sango, state Chairman of the PDP, queried how PLASIEC, a state government agency, suddenly realised that Plateau was not safe for local government elections after Lalong has proclaimed to the world that Plateau was very peaceful, adding that there is disconnect in their claims.
He posited that it was either that the governor was lying about true security status of the state or PLASIEC is deliberately shifting the polls because the APC has not finished perfecting their rigging strategies for the elections.
He said: “As a political party, we find PLASIEC excuse of postponement of the elections as not only laughable, but most unfortunate, here is a state that has returned to peace following the appointment of a Hausa Fulani as a commissioner in the Lalong-led administration.
“We find it not only surprising but embarrassing that PLASIEC is advancing security concern as the reason for the said postponement of the election
“It is abundantly clear that the APC government in the state has either been feeding Nigerians in general and there people of Plateau State in particular with falsehood regarding the security situation in the state, or one excuse has just been manufactured to perpetuate the illegal stay of non-elected officials at the local government level
“We reject in totality the reason advanced for the postponement of the elections as it is a calculated attempt to save their faces from the embarrassment that would follow their defeat at the polls.”