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PDP asks court to stop Plateau council polls

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Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State has gone to court to stop the proposed council elections fixed for October 10, 2018 by the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC).

PLASIEC, while fixing the date, had said that security could only be guaranteed for 13 of the 17 councils in the state.But the state PDP kicked, saying that the All Progressives Congress (APC) knew that it would lose in the four excluded councils, which it described as its strongholds.

The four excluded councils are Barkin-Ladi, Riyom, Jos North and Jos South.When the chairman of PLASIEC announced the date for the polls, PDP chairman in the state, Damishi Sango, said: “We wish to sound it loud and clear that this is a recipe for chaos in the state which shouldn’t have been contemplated in the first place. We, therefore, strongly advise that all peoples of Plateau be allowed to exercise their rights as provided for by the law.

“As we caution on the need to avoid needless pains and further traumatisation of our people, we wish to put Governor Simon Lalong and PLASIEC on notice that we shall contest their evil action in court.”

It is, therefore, not surprising when the news broke yesterday that PDP had dragged PLASIEC to the state high court over the issue.Confirming the incident, Sango told The Guardian: “Yes, did I not tell you journalists at a press conference on Monday, September 17, 2018 that we were going to challenge PLASIEC’s decision in court?”

PDP asserted that its court action to stop PLASIEC from going ahead with the elections on the stipulated date was informed by gross abuse of law and the constitution by the electoral body.When Governor Lalong assumed power in 2015, according to a source, he redeployed PLASIEC officers in all the 17 councils to ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), leaving their offices vacant.

He added that when the sudden arrangement came for the election, the governor unilaterally appointed civil servants and politicians to occupy the offices.“These new appointees are to conduct the council elections. Unfortunately, they are there to do the job as ad-hoc staff and return to their respective offices after the elections.

“This will give room for manipulation of the process in favour of the sitting government, making it extremely difficult for the opponents to win any petition after the election. They cannot be sued because they are ad-hoc staff,” he said.

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