By Ralph Madugu
The youth wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN), the women wing (WOWICAN) as well as the Northern Zone chapter of the Ethnic Youth Nationalities have called on Gov. Simon Lalong not to conduct Local Government Elections in LGAs experiencing security challenges.
In a statement ahead of the October 9 local government polls in the State, the groups at a press conference led by state Youth CAN Chairman, Markus Kanda Audu, alongside the WOWICAN Chairperson, Mrs. Rhoda G. Jahota, and Chairman Ethnic Youth Nationalities (Northern Zone), Song Muru, the trio said that the history of elections in Plateau State, particularly Jos North LGA, has been very volatile characterised by crisis and unrest transforming into violent conflicts and disruption of civil activities.
According to them, Jos had been relatively stable since the 2015 general elections, yet the government didn’t conduct LGA elections in Jos North, Jos South, Riyom and Barkin Ladi LGAs, adding that since the last LG polls held in October, 2018, for the reasons of insecurity and wondered what has changed in terms of security considering the resurgence of insecurity which led to massive destruction of lives and property since August, 2021, leading to the imposition of 24 hour curfew which was relaxed and still active from 10pm to 6am in Jos South, Jos North and Bassa LGAs.
“This is indicative of the fact that normalcy has not yet returned to the troubled LGAs of Bassa, Jos South, Riyom and Jos North. The most recent of the ugly incidences are experiences in Bassa and Jos North LGAs in August 2021 in the manner that the University of Jos had to close down all academic activities with only plans of resumption on Saturday 9th October, 2021 as the campus is still under tension and no visible presence of stationed security personnel.
“Unfortunately the said resumption date coincides with the day of the LGA elections and this may expose returning students to danger.
“Given the foregoing, it is therefore surprising that the government is planning to conduct election in these volatile LGAs of Bassa and Jos North. We are in awe as to the insensitivity of government considering that we are just recovering from the effects of the recent security breach.
“We have noted the recent Press Conference by the indigenous tribes in Jos North LGA namely, the Anaguta, Afizere and Berom, which raised some concerns and apprehension at the government’s planned elections particularly in Jos North and Bassa LGAs.”
They advised government to resist the temptation of being insensitive to the plight of Plateau people and refrain from any attempt of conducting Local Government Elections in Jos North and Bassa LGAs for the time being until there is much more stable peace and calm.
“Between 2015-2018 when these LGAs were relatively peaceful, the government in her wisdom chose to appoint Management Committee Chairmen for the affected LGAs rather than conduct elections. One would wonder why elections are planned to be conducted at a time when security situation has worsened,” they emphasized.