By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Civil Society Organizations/Coalition of Domestic Observers which deployed its members to observe the recent governorship election in Plateau State have raised concern about the emerging trend of inconclusive elections across the country, Plateau State inclusive.
The leader of the CSOs, Godwin Okoko noted that the trend of inconclusive election is already having a negative impact on the people as was seen in the apathy in the State during the March 9, 2019 governorship and House of Assembly elections stressing, “We must say that such trend in Jos North/Bassa constituency contributed to voters apathy.”
He appealed to the State government to ensure the strengthening of peace and security structures in the State with special attention to communities where the supplementary election will be held and recommended that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC “ensure the prosecution of all her staff involved in electoral malpractices, improve on logistics for its officials to perform their duties optimally and improve on the general conduct of the elections specifically; smart card readers should be further enhanced.”
It would be recalled that the National Assembly elections for Jos North/Bassa federal constituency and that of the Plateau South Senatorial seat had to be conducted twice while the governorship election was declared inconclusive and a new date set for a rerun.
The affected communities across the nine local government areas where the rerun would be held are Barkin Joju polling unit in Barkin Ladi local government area where they are 570 registered voters, in Bokkos, five polling units including Bot Buut – 907 voters, Primary School, Dimak – 300, Primary School, Orit – 1,062, Bot Bot – 1,871 and Mandar – 1,174, totalling 5,314.
In Bassa, two polling units of PU 1 with 695 voters and Mr. Ali – 2,383 totalling 3,078. Langtang South had results cancelation in six polling units of Dadin Kowa – 845, Magama – 951, Timbul – 870, Turaki – 741, Timbul PU001 – 1,192, Timbul PU002 – 1,192, Violence – 2,094, totaling 7,595.
Pankshin has Tat RA 1 PU – 397 registered voters. Kanam has Tamara Private School with 1,247, Igabi with 1,380, totalling 2,627. Jos North has Polling units 014/018/067 totalling 4,157. Mangu has Mangu-Ward 1 with 8 Polling Units bringing the figure of cancelled to 25,035. Shendam has Dong Polling unit with 851and the grand total of votes cancelled is 49,624.
Since the rerun was declared, the two major contenders, the All Progressives Congress, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are claiming the affected areas as their strongholds and anticipating victory although both parties won fairly across the nine affected local government areas.
For instance, during the presidential election, the PDP won in Pankshin, Langtang South, Bokkos, Bassa, Barkin Ladi and Mangu while APC won in Kanam, Shendam and Jos North but the table turned in the governorship election as the earlier declared results, saw APC winning Mangu, Pankshin and Bokkos though with slight margin.
As the clock ticks, both parties are canvassing for votes in the affected polling units but the outcome of the campaigns would be known after March, 23rd with the rerun had been conducted, citizens are only hoping for a violent-free exercise and the electoral umpire allowing their will to prevail.