By: Valentine Adese,
Group of Plateau state elders, under the aegis of Plateau Political Elders' Forum, (PPEF) have commended the postponement of the Plateau State Local Government Council (LGC) polls earlier slated for 17th February, 2018.
In a statement made available to REALITY today, the group stated that, “the postponement of the scheduled February 19 was to save lives following security reports that some politicians want to use the election to unleash mayhem in the State.”
The group opined that “it will be politically unwise to conduct an election that could throw the state into the dark days, taking into cognizance the peace that the state has been enjoying, especially during this administration led by Rt. Hon. Simon Lalong.
The statement signed by the groups’ President, Elder Ayuba Shown and co-signed by its Secretary, Rev. Bitrus Naiwaazi, the group pointed out that as elders, they would not sit by and watch the state burn, as a result of circumstances that could be avoided.
The group recalled that the inability of the Jang administration to heed security reports in 2008 and conducted local government elections led to loss of lives and property, adding that, “wise counsel prevailed on the same administration to postpone local government election a record four times.”
The statement in part reads:
"We believe that this administration will not be afraid of taking the hard decision of postponing the election if only it would help in saving lives and property of millions of Plateau citizens.
"You recall that previous attempts at going ahead to conduct local government election in Plateau State had led to bloodshed and destruction of property worth millions of naira.
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"Previous crises had caught innocent members of the public unawares and rendered them victims.
"As much as political traducers would like to play politics with this decision, this government has demonstrated that it will not play politics with the lives and property of its citizens.
"We therefore encourage the government to continue with the legacy that has become the envy of political naysayers whose only stock in trade is to seek unnecessary cheap political points even at the expense of people's lives and property."
However, in swift response to the decision to postpone the election indefinitely, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chapter in Plateau state has described the postponement as unfortunate.
The party in a press briefing statement dated 5th February, 2018, signed by its state chairman, stated that, “As a political party, we find the excuse given for the postponement of the election, not only laughable but, most unfortunate. Here is a state that has returned to peace following the appointment of a Hausa-Fulani, as a Commissioner in the Lalong administration.
“it would be recalled that Governor Lalong went on air to tell the whole world that following his appointment of a Hausa-Fulani, as information Commissioner, peace has returned to the state.”
The PDP further stated that on 12th January, 2018, it had denounced in very strong terms the perpetuation of undemocratic administration and leadership at the local government level.
PDP called on the people of the state to reject the postponement.
“we call on the people of Plateau to reject the postponement in its entirety, as this has further murdered democracy at this tier.
“We challenge Governor Lalong to tell the Public when it will be more conducive for the elections to hold” PDP stated.