A group, Concern Taraba Citizens Forum, has alleged that the post election violence that has trailed the re-election of Governor Darius Ishaku in Taraba state was caused by members and supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The group in a statement sent to Legit.ng on Sunday, March 17 and signed by its coordinators Kefas Bulus and Muhammad Umar, said the state government should take responsibility for the violence that engulfed the state capital, Jalingo, after the elections.
The group was reacting to a statement by the Taraba state commissioner for information, Simon Dogari, who accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of instigating the violence.
They described the allegations by the ruling party in the state as irresponsible, insisting that the PDP was desperately attempting to cover its track by introducing religion politics to the state in 2015 and had vigorously sustained it till the recent election.
The group berated the state government for accusing the APC of encouraging religious politics in the state, saying its not only disheartening, double standard but also ludicrous.
The group added that the violence started when PDP members celebrating Governor Ishaku's victory at the poll started attacking APC supporters after the polls. “When INEC declared Ishaku as Governor-elect those who went on celebration were PDP supporters not APC but instead of doing the traditional rally as APC supporters did in the aftermath of presidential victory, they went on rampage; breaking shops, smashing doors and windows and attacking innocent people along Nasarawo and Mallam Joda areas of Jalingo.
“The worst of it all was their blasphemous attack on the faith of the Muslims insinuating APC as Muslims party and that a Muslim will never rule Taraba state because Taraba is for Christ and PDP is a Christian’s party. “Taraba state belongs to everybody, Nigeria is a secular state, therefore no religion should claim monopoly of any state in the country,” the group stated.
The group added that the just concluded governorship election in the state was never free, fair and credible. “Both international and domestic observers unanimously agreed in their condemnation of the excessive rigging perpetuated by the PDP in form of vote buying, intimidating other party agents and forcing INEC officials into compromise by force or by cash.
“Also many PDP supporters were caught with hundreds of PVCs and thump printed ballot papers in favour of PDP and some were even paraded by the DSS where they directly admitted to being sponsored by high ranking state government officials,” the group concluded.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room) has called for an independent inquiry into the conduct of 2019 general elections. The group made the call at a press conference addressed by its convener, Mr. Clement Nwankwo on Sunday, March 10.
The group said the inquiry should address many issues that have bedeviled the conduct of the polls including procurement, logistics management, role of the military and abuse of process by INEC officials amongst others.