By: Alfred Saiki and Lebel Daniel Musuka,
A Group under the aegis of Plateau State Coalition on Electoral Reforms and Good Governance (PLASCER) has shown its displeasure with the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) for the postponement of the earlier scheduled 17th February 2018 Local Government elections in the state.You will recall that PLASIEC had on 5th February, 2018, announced the postponement indefinitely of the proposed February 17th LG elections, citing a communication from the State Security Council that, the current atmosphere in the state is not conducive for the conduct of the elections.
PLASCER, a coalition of Civil Society Organization (CSOs), the Media, Faith Based Organizations (FBOs), specialized groups like, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), Women, Youth and Community stakeholders across the three senatorial zones of the state, in a press briefing today said though security is a vital reason for suspending an election, the case of Plateau is not clear though it may not want to join issues on that with PLASIEC.
PLASCER claimed that it is in tune with the people and their communities and is yet to come to reality with such a huge threat that would stop elections from holding in the third tier of government in the state.
In the press briefing text signed by its interim Chairman Mr. Japhet Philip (PLASCER) and Nelson Ananze, Acting Executive Director (CAPP), in response to the decision of the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) to indefinitely postpone the Local Government, PLASCER made its appeals and recommendations as follows:
1. That as a Coalition on Electoral Reforms and Good Governance, PLASCER like other well-meaning Plateau State citizens is deeply displeased with the inability of PLASIEC to conduct the elections as planned due to failure of government to guarantee the constitutional provision of security of lives and property, a fundamental reason for which it does exist.
2. PLASCER as a Coalition is appealing to Plateau State citizens to keep calm and not take laws into their hands, instead should take the part of constructive engagement with PLASIEC and other relevant government agencies in charting the way forward.
3. That the Plateau state government and PLASIEC should act responsively by taking proactive measures in providing the secure atmosphere needed for the conduct of a free, fair, credible, acceptable and violence-free local government elections as soon as possible so that Plateau citizens will not be perpetually denied their constitutional rights of service delivery that would enhance good governance at the third tier of government which is closest to the people.
4. That the PLASIEC should as a matter of urgency and priority work on a new date for the conduct of the postponed local government elections and make it known to the general public to give Plateau citizens a renewed hope in the independence of the Election Management Body and to boost citizens’ confidence in the government’s ability to protect lives and property.
5. While PLASCER is not in disagreement with the reasons cited by PLASIEC for the postponement of the local government elections, our interest is to protect, promote, defend and deepen our democracy in accordance with the letters of our constitution and international best practices.
6. Finally, we urge the Plateau State Government to respect democratic tenet by allowing the citizens to choose their representatives at the Local Government level”.