By Olawale Abdul-Fatah
Activities at the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) primaries ahead of council election in Plateau State were disrupted by hoodlums who invaded the venue, beat up members and party officials.
The thugs disrupted the primary elections organised by PDP to decide its chairmanship candidate for Kanke ahead 2018 local government elections in the state.
It was learned that the thugs, who invaded the Kwall Stadium, venue of the election, beat up members of the PDP electoral committee and officials of the party, and destroyed several cars.
Worst hit in the attack among the electoral officials was Anthony Joro, whose eared was mutilated by the hoodlums at the venue.
Also not sparred by rampaging thugs was PDP Chairman for Kanke Local Government, Dauda Waptu, who sustained various injuries on his face.
Eyewitness stated that the election, which began peacefully with delegates voting after accreditation, turned violent when it was Waptu’s turn to vote.
Trouble started when some of the delegates said he should not be allowed to vote because they did not recognise him as the party chairman, a position others vehemently rejected, insisting that he was the leader and must vote.
The argument later turned violent and the thugs, usually fenced off the voting centre, invaded the arena and attacked their targets.
Speaking on the incident, Waptu, who expressed surprise at the attack that disrupted the exercise, argued that list of delegates for the election was approved by members which does not give reasons for any person to halt the exercise.
He accused an unnamed member of the House of Representatives of sponsoring the thugs, and described such attitude as crude and primitive.
The lawmaker representing Kanke/Pankshin/Kanam federal constituency, Tim Golu, blamed the incident on alleged mischief by the party officials.
“The authentic list of delegates, whose election was witnessed and certified, was doctored by Amos Gombi, PDP State Deputy Chairman, who is from Kanke, in a desperate effort to impose his crony,” he alleged.
Golu said that the party officials were warned of the impending danger, but insisted on conducting the primary election “even when they were told that the environment was not conducive”.
“Those who insisted that the primary election must hold should be arrested and held responsible for the unfortunate crisis. They changed the list of delegates three times and the people at the wards protested; even after the security operatives and some of us, who sensed danger, warned them, they insisted.
“This incident wouldn’t have happened if they had listened to us; now look at the level of damage and animosity it has created,” he fumed.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) Plateau Police Command, Tyopev Terna, who confirmed the incident, said that the Police were already trailing the political thugs that disrupted the exercise.
“We have not arrested anyone, but we are investigating the matter; the thugs beat up many people and destroyed several cars. We shall not rest until they are fished out and dealt with.”
He advised politicians to adhere to the rule of the game, warning that anyone found culpable in the Kanke incident would not be spared.