From Ado Abubakar Musa, Jos
A group popularly known as Shendam APC Grassroots Movement has accused former Deputy Governor of Plateau state, Pauline Tallen, who is also a chieftain and member of Board of Trustee (BoT) of the All Progressive Congress (APC), of plotting to divide members of the party in the state.
The former Deputy Governor in her reaction to the allegation has denied that her contest to win APC ticket of Plateau South Senatorial District is not to divide the party.
With this development, the ex-minister is apparently in disarray with some stakeholders of the party, particularly who are loyal to Governor Lalong.
Tallen, who described the allegation as baseless, also said there is no going back in her aspiration under APC.
In a statement signed by the coordinator of the group, Ezekiel Nyollong, and made available to journalists in Jos the group described the senatorial ambition of Mrs Tallen as selfish and capable of creating division in the party.
“Being a cousin of the serving Governor, Simon Lalong, her ambition negates the principle of zoning which has promoted justice and peace in the state.
“The Governor of Plateau State hails from Shendam local government area while the seat of the House of Representatives had been zoned to the same LGA. Her declaration to contest for Senate therefore means one local government will now produce Governor, Senator and House of Representatives, leaving nothing for the other five LGAs and over twenty ethnic groups that make up the Senatorial Zone”, it said.
Tallen, who is the only popular woman among the APC in the state has this to say in response to the accusations.
“I know where they are coming from. How I, Pauline Tallen, being a member of BoT of the party, will aspire to divide APC. I am coming out on the women platform. It has nothing to do with anybody. It has nothing to do with zoning or anything. This is a demand that has been directed by her Excellency, Aisha Buhari and supported by the international community which is asking Nigeria to key into, like all other Africa countries.
“It does not make sense for someone to say I am contesting to divide APC, the party we suffered for. I do not want to quote anybody, but it is very clear that it is an open secret that someone somewhere is sponsoring the group to accuse me of doing damage to my party. This is the party for which I am always campaigning.
“Why are they afraid of direct primary in the first place? All I know I have the support of the people of my senatorial district and there is no going back. It is not about anybody deciding who is contesting here or there.
Tallen however said her contest is not on the basis of zoning but the need for women to participate in state and national politics.