The Plateau State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised the alarm over what it described as a ‘grand plan’ by the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) to exclude the party from participating in the October 9th Local Government Elections in the state.
The secretary of the Plateau State PDP caretaker committee, Hon. Patrick Ogbu, who disclosed this to reporters in Jos, expressed disgust over what he described as ‘unsubstantiated reasons,’ and vowed to resist any attempt to hinder the party.
Ogbu maintained that the caretaker committee was drafted to the state following a court judgment that ordered a fresh State Congress to elect officers of the party and on resumption; the committee invited PLASIEC to participate in its upcoming local government party primaries but the body did not show up.
“Based on the election guidelines and timetable released by PLASIEC, our great party in line with extant laws, wrote to notify PLASIEC of our activities towards the conduct of ward and local government congresses/primaries to elect candidates.
“PLASIEC responded to that letter and informed us that they would not supervise our party primaries, citing a court judgment against an already dissolved State Party Exco and a judgement which was already complied with by the National Working Committee of our party.”
He explained that after the National Working Committee of the party wrote to introduce the caretaker committee to PLASIEC; the committee requested for the 2021 election guidelines, release of nomination forms for candidates and an audience with PLASIEC Chairman, but all the requests were turned down by PLASIEC.
“We wish to put it on record straight that as a party, we will resist any attempt to subvert the wheel of justice and deny our people the opportunity to participate in electing their leaders at the local government level through legitimate and legal means.
“Our primaries were peacefully and promptly organised within the timetable and guidelines released by PLASIEC. Curiously, PLASIEC refused to issue nomination forms to our legitimate and duly elected candidates.”
In a quick reaction, the Commissioner, Electoral Operation, PLASIEC, Hon. Patrick Mamgin, who stood in for the chairman of the commission, Mr Fabian Ari, said there are constraints to dealing with the PDP, following the court judgement that set aside the party’s state Exco.
First, he insisted that the PDP letter was not addressed to PLASIEC but INEC; he also noted that “the PDP judgement has not been vacated from the Court and that the faction of the party wrote a petition which was submitted to them with the judgement, warning PLASIEC not to deal with the PDP in the state.”
PLASIEC Secretary, Barr. Ishaku Bachiri, said the commission will carry out its function within the ambits of the law and that no individual or group of persons will compel it to do otherwise.