The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has barred the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from participating in the rerun for the Plateau North senatorial seat and Bassa/Jos North federal constituency slated for tomorrow, February 3, 2024.
INEC’s national commissioner for the north central zone, Mr Mohammed Haruna, disclosed this during the inspection of sensitive materials for the poll in Jos yesterday.
“We had a meeting with the political parties, right before now and told them that in a rerun, disqualified candidates and political parties cannot participate. This is an established law, the Supreme Court has ruled about it in Labour versus INEC several years ago and the PDP was a beneficiary of this several years ago.
“INEC is a law-abiding institution, we never flaunt any law. We called a meeting of all political parties if 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 tied by the court 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.
The rerun will take place in six local government areas, which include Bassa, Barkin-Ladi, Jos North, Jos South, Jos East, and Riyom, respectively
On Wednesday, the PDP and its supporters in Plateau State staged a protest at the headquarters of the INEC over its rumoured exclusion from the rerun.
Reacting to the exclusion of the party from the election, the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in the state threatened that if the PDP will not participate, no party will take part in the rerun.
Addressing journalists in Jos, the chairman of IPAC, Mr Abubakar Dogara said: “It is either all parties participate in the elections or all parties will not participate in the elections, because the Appeal Court said all parties should participate in the rerun elections. We understand that one of us is not on the ballot paper; we therefore sat down as Inter-Party Advisory Council, all the political party chairmen on the Plateau, we agreed that an injury to one is an injury to all.”
“Therefore if PDP is not participating, no political party is going to participate in the forthcoming elections on Saturday 3rd February 2024,” he said.
He was however reminded that Haruna said a meeting was held on January 9, 2024 and all the political parties involved were properly informed about the exclusion of the PDP in the election.
Responding, Dogara said: “No, we were not adequately informed that one of us will not be part of the elections. We were told that a list of the parties that will participate in the elections will be forwarded to us within a week.
“No information was sent to us until this morning (yesterday) that parties realised that one of us is not going to be on the ballot paper.
“That is why we sat down as IPAC, as a body of political parties on the plateau; we agreed to support each other. Let us all participate in the elections. We prefer peace on the plateau than elections or anything. We need peace; we know how fragile the issue of peace is on the plateau. You know what has been happening recently.