By: Valentine Adese, Teryila Heenyo and Reuben Egbah,
The citizens in Plateau state have been reminded by the Plateau State Government that public processions and protests still remain banned in the state and that anyone, group or opposition political party that is not comfortable with the outcome of the just concluded Local Government Council elections and its outcome, should approached the Tribunal already set up by the ruling All progressives Congress (APC) administration, led by Governor Simon Bako Lalong.
Read the press statement from the state Ministry of Information and Communication made available to REALITY today below:
“The Plateau State Government wishes to remind citizens that the ban on public procession in all parts of the state is still in force. Consequently, no persons should engage in any form of protest until further notice.
“By this notice members of the public are therefore advised to adhere strictly to the ban.
A statement by State Commissioner for Information and Communication Yakubu Dati says this is to prevent miscreants and unpatriotic elements from hijacking any protest to further inflict pain and hardship on innocent citizens.
Dati said “the judicial arm of Government has set up a local government election petition tribunal and an appeal committee to deal with any petition that may arise from the recently concluded peaceful local government polls in thirteen local government areas of the state.
“The Tribunal was set up by the chief Judge of Plateau state Justice Yakubu Dakwak.
“He therefore wants any candidate that feels aggrieved over the result of the election to approach the tribunal rather seeking self help through protest.
“He expressed the government’s appreciation of the democratic right of citizens to protest but said the administration also has a duty to protect lives and property.
“The Commissioner therefore solicits the cooperation and support of citizens to ensure that politicians do not use them to achieve selfish ends.”
You would recall that REALITY had reported that the last is yet to be heard of the just concluded Local Government Councils (LGCs) election, conducted by the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) five days ago, as the citizens of the state awaits the Chairman that were just sworn into office to also swear in the Councilors and inaugurate the Legislative Arm of in their respective Local Government Councils.
You would recall that the Chairmen that won, all been members and candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were sworn into office by the Plateau State Governor, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, less than 7 hours after their respective victories at the polls were announced by the Chairman of PLASIEC, Mr. Fabian Utung, at PLASIEC Headquarters in Jos, the state capital.
The aftermath, which as REALITY reported, led to protests in some of the 11 Local Government Areas, where elections were conducted leaving behind it huge destruction of properties.
Findings by REALITY over the weekend reveal that the sworn in Chairmen have continued to remain in Jos, through the last five days for reason yet to be disclosed.
Also, the high expectations of APC faithful that the swearing in of the Councilors, whose victories were also announced by the umpire has remained dashed, as the mood for such celebration may aggravate the already existing tension in some LGAs, such as Langtang North, Bassa, Mangu, Mikang and Langtang South.
In a related development, the Plateau State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming 2019 general election, Sen. Jeremiah T. Useni has frowned at the results announced by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) led by Governor Simon Bako Lalong in the state, as he described the exercise as a sham and a lie to the people and electorates.
Speaking with journalists at his residence in Jos, Plateau State capital during the weekend, the Distinguished Senator said it is laughable that the Governor, who believed the members of his APC won the Local Government elections in the 11 declared Local Governments by PLASIEC, “still went secretly in the night to swear them into office.”
According to General Useni (Rtd), “Governor Lalong has a habit of lying. He even lied to the President when he visited the state not to talk of the electorates.”
Sen. Useni in part said:
“When President Buhari came here, did he not tell him that since he took over in the state, everything has been peaceful? Yet they killed 27 people in Bokkos that same night. He has a habit of not tell truth at all. Instead of telling the President the truth in order to get assistants from the President and the Federal Government, he lied. Has that help?
“On whether it is the opposition that is fueling the protests in the state, my take is, if one loses properly, he would not cause any trouble!
“The Governor is always in not proactive and efficient in his administration. It took Governor Lalong, 3 and half years to conduct Local Government Council elections in the state. Why?
“He tried to organize LG elections three times, but it failed and the exercise was postponed. But, now that he saw that probably by mid February, 2019, there might be general elections, he decided to organize this sham election so that, he would not be accused of not organizing local government elections throughout his 4 year tenure. Well not only that, he decided not to organize the election in some other LGs because his party would not win.
“Now the electorates in the 13 local government areas went for the said LG elections, and in 11 local governments, PDP won, I was told he and his APC won only in one and that is Kanam LGA. I am still surprised about that because, I still need explanation for that!
“Only for the Governor and his party to announce that they have won the 11 LGC.
“Funnily, the Governor called the alleged winners and swore them in secretly. So, may I ask this question? Why did he swear them in secretly and in the night? What was the emergency?
“My call to plateau people is that they should be calm, because Lalong has from now to February, 2019 to leave. I am sure of that!
“For those still keeping vigil over the ballot boxes in their respective Local Government Area, I call on them to maintain calmness. However, that does not mean that they should not resist. They should resist anything that is wrong like this.
“Why does this administration always desire to draw the people of plateau backwards? The properties of those that have been destroyed, is the government or Lalong going to compensate them?
“From all I see, Lalong does not care!
“From inception, this is what the Governor has been doing.
“During the crises in the state, I went round the state. I started from the southern zone to the northern zone. I would have been selfish like him knowing that there was no problem at that time in the southern zone. But I said no. I still took the message of peace and peaceful co-existence there.
“You should know that I am a Senator of the federal Republic of Nigeria, so, if anything happens, I feel I am in the position to intervene or do something about it. Hence, I came to the state and I personally went around with some assistance for the victims.
“When I saw where most of the IDPs where, I wept!”