Plateau State Commissioner for Information, Yakubu Dati, has berated the opposition People Democratic Party (PDP) for protesting massive victory of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the recent local government election held in the state, which witnessed massive turnout.
Dati told journalists at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos at the weekend, that the election was adjudged free and fair by all the stakeholders and the civil society group 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.
This was coming after the state Governor; Solomon Lalong, inaugurated the chairmen of the state’s 11 local government councils who were declared winners of the elections conducted in 13 LGAs at the State Government House in Little Rayfield, Jos.
Dati attributed the protests to the “troublemaking” legacy of PDP and said he expected the aggrieved parties to take advantage of the available legal means to resolve their grievances rather than resort to self-help.
“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 exercises.
“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.
However, the PDP Chairman in the State, Damishi Sango, had earlier protested the outcome of the elections.
He described the election results which showed APC won in 11 local governments with two declared inconclusive as “desperation by Governor Lalong to subvert the peoples will.”
Sango in a news briefing at the same time the election results were being announced, alleged that the APC was “hell bent on plunging the State into yet another needless political crisis,” while warning security agencies to hold the Governor responsible for any breach of peace following the announcement of the results.