The Plateau chapter of the PDP has accused the state government of “creating unnecessary tension by insisting on announcing results of local government elections while collation was ongoing”.
Mr Damishi Sango, the state chairman of the party, told newsmen on Thursday in Jos that ward and local government Returning Officers were still at the various collation centres when the results were announced in Jos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the elections were held in 13 local governments with Jos North, Jos South, Riyom and Barkin-Ladi due to “prevailing security situation”.
Mr Fabian Ntung, Chairman, Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC), who announced the outcome of the polls Thursday morning, had said that the APC won 11 out of the 13 local government where the process was concluded.
He said that results from two local governments – Langtang North and Mangu – were inconclusive.
Reacting to PLASIEC’s declaration, Sango alleged that the entire process was “marred with irregularities”.
Sango cautioned the ruling party against actions that could lead to the breach of the “delicate peace” Plateau residents were enjoying.
“The Plateau government should allow the people’s will to prevail. To insist on subverting the people’s choice is not healthy for the state,” he said.
According to him, “in some cases, while anxious voters were waiting at the local government collation centres for results from the wards, electoral and returning officers disappeared into thin air, leaving room for avoidable anxiety”.
He advised government against “plunging Plateau into yet another needless political crisis”.
“I have spoken with the State Director of the State Security Services and the Commissioner of Police and made it clear that the state government should be held responsible for any breach of peace over the local government elections,” he said.
Meanwhile, youths have blocked the Mangu – Jos highway in protest against the alleged refusal of the Returning Officer to announce the outcome of the local government results.
The youths, who took over the road Thursday morning, stopped vehicles from moving from Shendam and Langtang to Jos, while those heading to the central and southern parts of the state were also denied passage.
Their spokesmen, who gave his name as James, vowed that the youths would occupy the road until the results were declared.
Among those blocked was the Plateau deputy governor, Prof. Soni Tyoden, who was heading to the capital city, after the polls.
NAN reports that efforts by Mr Irimiya Sarpiya, Chairman of the Mangu Local Government Caretaker Committee, to convince the youths to leave the road proved abortive as they insisted on remaining there until the results were released.
The situation was found to be the same in Bokkos, Kanke, Langtang North and langtang North Local Governments, where various routes were blocked by irate youths protesting over the election results.
Contacted, Mr Terna Tyopev, spokesman of the Police Command in Plateau, said that security personnel had been deployed to affected areas to ensure that that the protests were peaceful.
“The situation is currently under control; we want to ensure that it remains so,” he told NAN in a telephone interview.
Meanwhile, Gov Simon Lalong has advised the people against taking the law into their hands over the results of the local government elections.
Lalong, in a statement signed by Mr Yakubu Datti, the Commissioner of Information, advised those aggrieved to go to court “rather than doing anything that may affect the peace of the state”.
“Those who are aggrieved should ventilate their grievances at the local government election tribunal,” he said, adding that the tribunals were inaugurated “even before the elections”.
The governor denied allegations that he had interfered with the process, saying that PLASIEC was an independent institution headed by a credible leadership that could make clarifications over the process and the outcome.
“All concerns should be directed at PLASIEC and not the governor,” the statement said.
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