Officials in Nigeria’s Plateau State are set to conduct County elections that may have never been budgeted for. The elections slated for Saturday 9 Oct. were neither in 2021 appropriation act or any supplementary budget, a local pressure group has alleged.
“We wish to also express our concerns on how the proposed election is being funded,” said Mr. Dachollom Jambol, leader of a “concerned elders of Plateau” group, “The election expenses were not captured in the 2021 Appropriation Law,” Jambol said at a press conference in Jos, the State Capital.
“We are also informed that no supplementary budget has been presented to State House of Assembly to appropriate funds for this crucial public expenditure. What is worth doing, is worth doing rightly,” he said.
The electoral body – Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) is however a “statutory body” with annual budgetary allocations, said Mr. Dan Manjang, the State’s Commissioner of Information. “PLASIEC is also at liberty to raise funds anywhere and conduct elections,” Manjang told The Light Bearer by phone.
But the fears of Mr. Jambol’s group are also that there are pending suits against the planned polls which could lead to more spending on rerun after the polls.
“We therefore call on the PLSG and PLASEIC to postpone the elections to allow the judiciary do its bit without forcing on it a fait accompli, must be noted that any haste to conduct elections without exhausting the judicial process, may amount to a waste of our scarce resources if the court eventually reverses all the steps hastily taken,” Jambol said.
The group is also worried that some groups might be disenfranchised and tensions following recent violence in the State Capital still subsist. “It is horrifying to note that as recently as this week; there have been reports of further killings in both Irigwe and Pengana Chiefdoms of Bassa LGA.
“While we do not pray for any re-occurrence of the mindless violence that necessitated the closure of the University, we strongly insist that any event that could result in the breach of the peace in the state or any part thereof, be postponed to allow students finish their 2019/2020 academic session without any threat to their lives.
“Further to the above, we implore the PLSG to show more empathy towards the situation of numerous indigenous communities who are still living in IDP camps having been displaced from their ancestral homes due to the violence unleashed on them by land grabbers. It will be a great betrayal to disenfranchise these thousands of people in haste to conduct elections,” said Jambol.