INEC Excludes PDP from Saturday Re-run Election in Plateau
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has excluded the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from participating in the Saturday re-run election for Plateau North Senatorial District and Jos North/Bassa federal constituency.
This is just as the State Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) warned INEC not to plunge Plateau State into crisis while describing the exclusion as an injustice and a threat to the fragile peace prevailing in the state.
The exclusion on Thursday caused a hiccup at the premises of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Plateau State branch during the distribution of sensitive materials ahead of the election. Immediately the PDP officials at the venue noticed that the logo of the party was not on the ballot papers, there was a confusion and altercations between the party official and staff of INEC.
Explaining the rationale behind the exclusion, the National INEC Commissioner for Plateau, Benue, and Nasarawa State, Mallam Haruna Mohammed, pointed out that the party had been notified early by the INEC Chairman during a meeting with political parties in Abuja that the PDP would not be on the ballot as a result of the Appeal Court judgment, which sacked the elected PDP Senatorial candidate, Senator Simon Mwadkwon, and member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Musa Agah.
He said, “We had a meeting with political parties right before now and told them that in a re-run, disqualified candidate and political party cannot participate, this is an established law, the Supreme Court has ruled about it in Labour versus INEC several years ago, and PDP was a beneficiary of this at that time.
“INEC is a law-abiding institution. We call a meeting of all political parties; if the PDP went to court and the federal high court declined jurisdiction, what that simply means is that the ruling by the Court of Appeal subsists and we have to obey the court; our hands are tight in this regard. What the court said is what we are going to do, whether it is right or wrong, unless it is set aside,” he said.
Speaking to newsmen at the venue of the distribution of the sensitive materials, the State Chairman of the IPAC, Mallam Abubakar Dogara, berated INEC for the sudden exclusion of the PDP from the ballot without prior notice.
Dogara explained that in the last meeting of all political parties with INEC in Abuja, they were not informed that any political party would be excluded, adding that what the INEC Chairman told them was that the names of the participating parties would be sent to IPAC and each of the political parties.
“The position of the IPAC is that either the PDP participated in the election or all parties would not take part because the Appeal Court said all political parties should participate in the election. We noticed that one of us is not on the ballot papers, and therefore we sat down and agreed that an injury to one is an injury to all; therefore, if the PDP is not participating, no political party will participate.
‘We were not informed that one of us would not be part of the election; we were told that the list of parties that will take part in the election will be forwarded to us within a week,” he said.
The Chairman therefore advised the INEC not to do anything that will throw Plateau State into anarchy, adding that the state needs peace.
He said, “we prefer peace on the Plateau to elections or anything; we know how fragile the issue of peace is on the Plateau; we are trying to avert anything that will take us to the doom days.”