PDP Youths in Plateau State today Wednesday 31st January 2024 stormed the Plateau State Office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at Miango Road, Jos demanding evidence of the inclusion of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the Saturday 3rd February 2024 National Assembly rerun elections for Plateau North Senatorial District and Bassa/Jos North Federal Constituency.
Plateau News report that, in November 2023, the Court of Appeal nullified the election victories of PDP’s Senate Simon Mwadkon (Ph.D.) and Hon Musa Agah Avaih in the Plateau North Senatorial District and Bassa/Jos North Federal Constituency, respectively.
This decision came as a result of a petition filed by LP’s Plateau North Senatorial Candidate, Gyang Zi, and PRP’s Bassa/Jos North Federal Constituency Candidate, Mohammad Adam Alkali.
Despite the initial declaration of victory in the February 2023 National Assembly Elections, the Court of Appeal ordered a rerun.
In compliance with the Court of Appeal decision, INEC announced February 3rd, 2024, as the date for the rerun elections for Plateau North Senatorial District and Bassa/Jos North Federal Constituency.
The recent demand by Plateau State youths at the INEC office for evidence of the inclusion of the PDP aligns with the upcoming rerun elections.
However, a group of youths, including PDP members and other nonpartisan individuals, stormed the INEC Office in response to rumors about the exclusion of certain political parties.
The Director of the Youth Campaign of the People’s Democratic Party, Comrade Joshua Hitler Pwajok, addressed INEC officials during the protest.
He stated that their purpose was to caution INEC against excluding any political party, especially the PDP, from the upcoming rerun on Saturday, February 3rd.
Pwajok emphasized, “We are just here to inquire from the Resident Electoral Commissioner if there is something as such, it needs to be addressed… else on Saturday, we cannot guarantee what the situation will be like, so in order to avert an imminent danger, it is better we proffer a solution to the matter…”.
He pointed out that the Court of Appeal had mandated that “All parties in herein shall participate,” implying that the PDP should be included on the ballot.
Additionally, he highlighted that the Supreme Court had already validated the issue of the PDP’s structure in Plateau State, the same structure issue that led to the court ordering the rerun.
Comrade Joshua Hitler Pwajok urged INEC to take into account the delicate peace situation on the Plateau and avoid plunging the state into another crisis.
He emphasized that Plateau North Senatorial District was a stronghold of the PDP and that the PDP Senatorial Candidate had already secured victory with over 100,000 votes.
Pwajok expressed concern that the voters in the district would not simply stand by if the PDP and its candidates were denied participation in the upcoming rerun elections.
Comrade James Nyango added to the discussion, pointing out that the judgment of the Appeal Court did not exclude any political party.
He emphasized that INEC is not a court and, therefore, should comply with what the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court have ruled.
Chairman of the Plateau State Youth Council, Jos South LGA, and Chairman of the Forum of PYC LGA Chairmen of Plateau North, Dalyop D. Dung, echoed this perspective on behalf of nonpartisan youths who joined the protest.
Regardless of political affiliations, Dung, as the Youth chairman, advocated for the inclusion of all political parties in the interest of peace. He highlighted the existing insecurity in parts of the State and cautioned that excluding any political party could be dangerous given the current tension. Dung concluded, “Anyone that the people want in the Northern Zone, let the people go and vote for him.”
Youth Activist Comrade Prince Miaphen emphasized that the commission should recognize the potential danger if the PDP is excluded from the ballot.
He stressed that it should be on record that Plateau youths raised concerns about the rumoured exclusion ahead of time.
In response, Deputy Director Administration and Head of General Administration of INEC in Plateau State, Bisi Ajala (JP), speaking on behalf of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, affirmed that INEC remains neutral.
He assured the protesters that their complaints would be escalated to the Headquarters for further advice.
Responding on behalf of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Deputy Director Administration, and Head of General Administration of INEC in Plateau State, Bisi Ajala (JP), stated that INEC maintains neutrality in the electoral process. He assured the protesters that their complaints would be escalated to the Headquarters for further advice.
The Deputy Director Legal and Head of Legal, Elekwa Onyema Uche, commented on the matter, revealing that INEC in Jos had received a cautionary letter from the police regarding the same issue.
Uche informed the protesters that, according to the law, especially the third schedule of the Constitution paragraphs 14 & 15, the INEC Headquarters in Abuja is the Commission, and states follow directives from the Commission’s Headquarters in line with paragraph 15(X).
He assured the protesters that the Legal Department in Jos would inform the Headquarters about the issue and seek interpretations.
Within the next 48 hours, the matter will be addressed, providing clarity on the concerns raised.
We demand evidence of Inclusion of PDP in line with Court of Appeal order of Rerun – Plateau PDP Youths