Plateau PDP protests over by-election, NSCDC deploys 5,300 men

The Peoples Democratic Party and its supporters in Plateau State, on Wednesday, staged a protest at the headquarters of the Independent Electoral Commission over an alleged exclusion of the party from the forthcoming re-run election scheduled for February 3, 2023.

The protesters demanded evidence of the inclusion of the PDP on the ballot for the Plateau North Senatorial District and Bassa/Jos North Federal Constituency where the re-rerun would take place on Saturday.

Before the protests, there had been rumours that the PDP and its candidates would not participate in the re-rerun polls following the Court of Appeal judgment which nullified the elections in the two constituencies earlier won by the party’s candidates, Senator Simon Mwadkwon for Plateau North and Musa Agah, for Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency.

The Court of Appeal had based the nullification of their elections because the PDP, which nominated them as candidates, had no structure.

On Wednesday, the protesters, who were mainly PDP youths,  stormed the INEC office in Jos, demanding to know the veracity of the rumoured exclusion of the party from participating in the rerun election

Addressing the  INEC officials, the Director the youth Campaign of the PDP, Joshua Hitler Pwajok, said, “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.”

Responding on behalf of the REC, the Deputy Director Administration and Head of General Administration of INEC in Plateau State, Bisi Ajala, assured the protesters that INEC remained neutral, adding that their complaints would be channelled  to the INEC  headquarters for redress

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence has said it will deploy 5,300 men and officers for the re-run and by-elections scheduled to be held on February 3 2023.

The NSCDC spokesperson, Afolabi Babawale, disclosed this to our correspondent on Wednesday.

The Independent National Electoral Commission will conduct by-elections and re-run elections in 26 states of the federation on Saturday.

In nine states, two senators, four members of the House of Representatives and three members of State Houses of Assembly will be elected in by-elections to replace members who passed on or resigned their memberships of the national and state Assemblies.

In other states, re-run elections will take place at designated constituencies or Polling Units as ordered by the Election Appeal Tribunals.

All the elections will fill vacancies in three senatorial districts, 17 Federal and 28 state constituencies spread across 80 Local Government Areas, 575 Registration Areas/Wards and 8,934 Polling Units involving 4,904,627 registered voters out of which 4,613,291 Permanent Voters’ Cards have been collected, according to the commission.

Babawale noted that the personnel would be deployed according to threat analysis, urging voters to come out and exercise their franchise.

He said, “The NSCDC will deploy 5,300 men and officers of the corps for the February 3 rerun and by-elections.

“We are ready for the elections. We are going to do the deployment according to the threat analysis that has been established.

“The corps is urging eligible voters to come out and carry out their civic responsibilities. By and large, the officers and men have been adequately briefed and will remain apolitical and neutral before, during and after the elections.”