by Christians Gokyo, Jos
The Plateau State local government elections were allegedly marred by voters’ apathy as residents embarked on a sit-at-home protest to drive home their anger against the non-inclusion of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the exercise.
Our correspondent went round during the exercise to southern Senatorial District, where people were busy doing their businesses and many of the polling units were being seeing with only the adhoc staffs sitting and waiting for eligible voters to come, while in some places few people were seen to be casting their votes.
At the governor’s polling units in his village at Ajikamai, in Shendam local government area, some few people were busy at the polling units casting their votes.
The State Governor, Simon Lalong, however, had earlier casted his vote, and praised the electorate for their peaceful conduct and large turnout to elect their Chairmen and Councillors in the ongoing Local Government elections holding throughout the 17 local government areas.
The governor, who voted alongside his wife, First Lady Regina Lalong, and other close family members at about 10:30am, said he was impressed with the turnout and enthusiasm in his ward and the encouraging reports from various parts of the State, which equally indicated a peaceful exercise and the readiness of voters to choose their leaders.
According to him, “Going by the fact that PLASIEC had assured all political parties, candidates and the entire electorate of the their readiness for the exercise having planned over a long period of time and engaged all stakeholders, there is no cause for alarm.”
Asked, if he was apprehensive of the elections not holding due to the court case instituted by the PDP at the Court of Appeal, Jos, seeking an injunction to stop the elections, which went deep into the night before the scheduled date, the governor he said, “We had no fear because we know the courts will do justice according to our laws. Even, if they had ruled that the elections will not hold, we would have had nothing to do but to obey the ruling.”
“The APC, as a party, has high regards for the courts and believes that it is a very important part of the democratic culture, which we must build.
“You remember the Zamfara case – where we even won the elections – but the courts voided it and, in Rivers where we were stopped from participating; now that in this case the court ruled in our favour, we are going ahead with the elections peacefully,” Lalong stated.
On the significance of the elections and the security arrangements put in place, the governor said “The transition from one Local Government Administration to another is a thing that many people of Plateau have yearned for in which, by the grace of God, is happening without any challenges.”
According to him, though there were concerns about security, the government took all necessary measures to ensure that these elections come and go smoothly without any hindrance, and has charged security agencies to deploy their personnel all over the State.
He urged all citizens to ignore rumours and fake news being peddled about the elections, as all parties and their supporters were given equal opportunity to participate in the process leading to today.
He assured the State that the will of the people expressed through the ballot box will be allowed to prevail, as PLASIEC has given all assurances of fairness, justice and adherence to the rules of the game.
Also speaking was Director-General of the Industrial Training Fund, ITF, Sir Joseph Ari, KSM, KSS, who commended PLASIEC and the electorate for the peaceful conduct of last Saturday, October 9, 2021 local government council elections in Qua’an-Pan Local Government Area of Plateau State.
He was speaking with newsmen shortly after he undertook a tour round all the polling units in Kwande Town, when he said he was impressed with the massive turnout of voters.
Sir Ari described the massive turnout of voters as “patriotism at its peak; no more, no less. I am satisfied with what I saw on the ground,” hesitated, adding that, “The Administration of Governor Simon Lalong is committed to free and fair election aimed at deepening democracy in the State.”