About three weeks after the controversial local government elections in Plateau State, the Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday said it had lined up 20 lawyers, including Senior Advocates of Nigeria, to challenge irregularities at the Local Government Election Appeals Tribunal.
The PDP alleged that officials of the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission deceived party agents with telephone calls only to disappear to Jos and announce the results in favour of the All Progressives Congress.
The Legal Adviser to the PDP in Plateau State, Binchen Jantur, who stated this in an interview, alleged that the government could not even have pity on a cripple and the PDP chairmanship candidate in the Mangu Local Government Area, Ayuba Gofwen Burki, who, it claimed, won the election.
The election was held on Wednesday, October 10, less than one year to the end of the current administration of the APC.
The Chairman of PLASIEC, Fabian Ntung, had while declaring the results, said the APC won the polls.
The PDP in faulting the election claimed that it won 11 LGAs.
Jantur said, “So, we are challenging the LG election, our team of lawyers are working assiduously to see that we show the world that this type of election has never been held anywhere in the world. We are assembling about 20 lawyers; we have divided these lawyers into zones. Some of them will handle the LGs in the southern zone, while others will handle the LGs in the Central and Northern zones effectively.
“We are looking at our opponents and what they will showcase. Some SANs are behind us, but for now we have to keep our weapons in the dark. I’m surprised because this is not how elections are conducted. For instance in the Mangu LGA, the electorate unanimously voted for the candidate because of his popularity, even though he is a disabled (cripple).
“The entire people of Mangu came out and voted for him massively. But the governor and PLASIEC manipulated the results without even sympathising with him. In fact, the election was won clearly by the candidate of the PDP. We are spirited because election was won by the PDP candidate, votes were being collated and results came in. But yet, Lalong and PLASIEC asked the electoral officers to leave the area and return to Jos where the results were announced. We have evidence and we will show it in court.”
He added, “In fact, the irregularities were systematically done in all the LGs, that was what happened. The same system that happened in Mangu was the same that took place in all the LGs. I was there and witnessed it. For instance, in the Langtang North LGA, there are 18 wards, out of which PDP won 14 in the councillorship polls. So, we were in the LGA for the collation of the chairmanship results.
“Incidentally, the LGA management committee chairman and the electoral officers, including the returning officer, were disappearing one after the other. One said, ‘let me answer a phone call’, and we never saw him again. That was how all the agents of the political parties that participated in the election waited till the following day.
“We were there when we heard that the Langtang LG election was inconclusive after waiting for about three days. They did not tell us what made it inconclusive, thereafter it was announced that the APC won the election. The interesting thing is that the PDP defeated Lalong and the Deputy Governor, Prof. Sonni Tyoden, in their polling units.”