Jos - The Plateau Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it will “severely deal with” members found to be involved in anti-party activities during the Feb. 25 local government elections.
“The PDP has already directed its chairmanship and councillorship candidates to write reports on how and why they won or lost; the reports will help the party to determine who did what,” the party’s Chairman, Dr Haruna Dabin, said in Jos.
Dabin told the media on Sunday that the measure became necessary to instill party discipline that was “very crucial to cohesion and future electoral success.”
He said most of those that challenged the party’s candidates were PDP members who moved to other parties when they could not get the PDP ticket, and explained that such actions were inimical to party solidarity and unity.
“What we want to do is to get to the root of our performance in some few local governments, especially in the councillorship elections.”
“We specifically want to know why we should get overwhelming victories in the chairmanship polls and get something different in the councillorship polls; we want to know who aided and abetted what, and address that,” he said.
Dabin said that the PDP constitution provided for all manners of sanctions, depending on the level of involvement in such anti-activities, adding that a committee would be set up to study the reports and determine measures to be taken.
The PDP boss, whose party won the 14 chairmanship slots so far declared, expressed optimism that the PDP would win in Langtang-North, whose results had yet to be declared.
“The Plateau State Independent Electoral Comission (PLASIEC) has ordered a by-election in Jat Ward to determine the winner, but I am optimistic because the PDP has won eight out of the 17 councillorship seats there.”
“Langtang-North has always been a PDP area, having produced the founding National Chairman, the late Solomon Lar, as well as three senators – Silas Janfa, John Shagaya and the incumbent, Victor Lar.”
“But I think there is a consistent problem of leadership recruitment challenge there because people get elected into various positions and desert party before the end of their tenures.”
“We are studying the cause of this steady disconnection between members and their elected representatives so as to address that once and for all.”
“Before the local government elections, we had several disputes in that local government and at a point, we spent more than four months to resolve them.”
“We even held two or three primary elections there, which only underscored the need to resolve the lingering issues there.”
Stressing the need for teamwork among PDP members, Dabin attributed his party’s overwhelming victory to the “great performance” of Gov. Jonah Jang, and promised that such service delivery would be sustained.
On alleged lack of internal democracy, Dabin said the PDP had been fair to all, but noted that some aspirants were disqualified in the run-up to the local government elections because more attention was paid to members that had been loyal.
“We did not give much waivers because we wanted to avoid a situation where people will just leave government jobs and casually pick PDP tickets.”
“We wanted such new members to be around for some time and serve the party before seeking elective posts.”
He also spoke on the confusion over some councillorship seats in his Kanke Local Government, and expressed surprise at the situation.
He said PLASIEC had specifically released names of cleared candidates which showed that some PDP councillorship candidates were unopposed.
“I think the confusion is from the ballot papers that had all party logos, but again, PLASIEC should have categorically instructed its officials not to enter votes for candidates that were disqualified as such votes were invalid.”
“The PDP candidate knew he was unopposed and therefore did not even prepare much for the elections, but PLASIEC kept quiet over the candidates it disqualified and that is why some people are alleging that the commission merely set booby traps.”
“But even more surprising is the refusal of the Kanke Local Government Chairman to swear in the PDP councillorship candidate, who was issued a certificate of victory by the PLASIEC.”
“The chairman said he needed clarification, but we kept wondering what clarification was better than the PLASIEC certificate which qualified him (chairman), to also be sworn by the governor.”
He said, “it is rather surprising because the issues in contention, like the disqualification by PLASIEC, the validity otherwise of votes cast for a disqualified candidate, are already being lined up for hearing by the elections tribunal.”