IPAC Warns of Potential Crisis
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has excluded the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from participating in the re-run election for Plateau North Senatorial District and Jos North/Bassa federal constituency, set to take place this Saturday.
This move has been met with criticism and warnings from the State Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), who believe that the exclusion could lead to a crisis and disrupt the fragile peace in the state.
The exclusion, announced on Thursday, caused uproar at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Plateau State branch, where the distribution of sensitive materials for the election was taking place.
PDP officials noticed that the party’s logo was missing from the ballot papers, leading to confrontations with INEC staff.
Mallam Haruna Mohammed, the National INEC Commissioner for Plateau, Benue, and Nasarawa State, clarified the rationale behind the exclusion.
He explained that the PDP had been informed earlier by the INEC Chairman during a meeting with political parties in Abuja that they would not be on the ballot due to the Appeal Court judgment, which removed the elected PDP Senatorial candidate, Senator Simon Mwadkwon and House of Representatives member, Hon. Musa Agah from their positions.
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, expressed his dissatisfaction with the sudden exclusion of the PDP, emphasizing that they were not informed beforehand.
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.
He warned INEC against actions that would destabilize Plateau State, emphasizing the need for 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.”