The Concerned Elders of Plateau State have called on Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) to suspend the Saturday 9 October Local Government Election due to insecurity that has led to the loss of dozens of lives in parts of the state.
The group further urged PLASIEC to suspend the election until all court cases that excluded other political parties from participation in the election are addressed by the court.
Group spokesman Da Dr Dachollom Jambol stared this while addressing a press conference held at the NUJ Press Centre Jos.
‘We commend the Plateau State Government and Plateau State Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) for the determination to hold the local government elections, we must express concerns over the process of the election,’ he stated.
‘We are persuaded that in a democracy the process is as important as the outcome. Reports reaching us suggest that only the ruling party candidates are eligible for the elections of 9 October 2021. We are also informed that the issue of exclusion of some participants is before the court of law.
‘We, therefore, call on the Plateau State Government and Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission PLASIEC to postpone the elections to allow the judiciary to do its bit without forcing on it a fait accompli.
‘It must be noted that any haste to conduct elections without exhausting the judicial process, may amount to a waste of our scarce resources if the court eventually reverses all the steps hastily taken.’
He expressed concern over the source of funding of the said election and noted that the election was not captured in the 2021 budget and there has been no supplementary budget sent to the Plateau State House of Assembly.
‘We are informed that the election expenses were not captured in the 2021 Appropriation law. We are also informed the no supplementary budget has been presented to the State House of Assembly to appropriate funds for this crucial public expenditure,’ Da Jambol said.
He noted with concern that local government elections in the state have always been characterised by violence, starting from 1999 which has perished several lives, particularly in Jos North Local Government Area.
‘We are deeply worried about the timing of the elections in view of recent happenings in the state. We wish to state that Plateau State is still mourning the precious lives that were and in some cases are still being needlessly murdered especially in Jos North and Bassa.’
He lamented that the Management of the University of Jos has recalled its students to continue with the second-semester examination which was suspended due to the violence the broke out in the state that claimed several lives.
He said the election should be suspended to enable the students complete their examination as the local government election in Jos North has always been characterised by violence.