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Published On: Thu, Jun 5th, 2014

Plateau 2015 and political shenanigans

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By Vincent Girma.

Political observers within and outside Plateau state must have been dismayed by the recent declaration by a group known as Plateau North Political Front (PNPF) to the effect that the Northern Senatorial Zone reserves the right to seek for the gubernatorial position of the state on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general elections.The chairman of the group, Evangelist Daniel Izang, at a press briefing in Jos, denied allegation of a zoning agreement in the state and challenged anybody with “such claims to step forward and present their case and facts if ever there have been such an agreement entered into in our political history.”Evangelist Izang said that the three senatorial districts of the state comprising Plateau North, Central and South had each produced “a governor of the state and Governor Jonah Jang’s eight years tenure only completes the circle.”The group then called on citizens of the other zones to queue behind another candidate from the zone that will be completing the circle in 2015, saying that the “zone still has a lot to offer and it is only logical that it should be accorded the right and privilege to present a candidate of northern extraction because we have been tested and found trustworthy in good governance.”

In a similar vein, PDP stakeholders in the Plateau Central Senatorial District met in Pankshin and issued a communiqué, arguing that it was their turn to replace Governor Jang, “especially since all the three senatorial zones have had their slots.” See page 46, Blueprint of May 29, 2014).The communiqué which was read by the PDP national vice chairman, North Central, Mr. Yusuf Tokit, stated that since all the three zones had occupied the governorship seat, the zoning formula should start (or is it continue?) with the central zone.It is quite interesting watching the shenanigans currently unfolding on the Plateau. And where does this leave the Plateau South Senatorial Zone? Perhaps, we shall find the right answer by going down the democratic memory lane and setting the records straight. The argument about zoning or no zoning arrangement does not fly in the face of equity, justice and fair play which are the hallmarks of democracy.

Since the evolution of democratic dispensation in the state, it has been the norm to rotate the leadership of the state among the three zones. The first beneficiary was the late elder statesman, Chief Solomon DaushepLar, a Tarok, who emerged from the Southern Senatorial Zone in 1979 on the platform of Nigeria Peoples Party (NPP). Chief Lar ran a first term (1979 – 83) and got re-elected for the second term but his tenure was truncated by the Buhari/Idiagbon coup of December 31, 1983. During the everlasting transition programme of military president, Ibrahim Babangida, Sir Fidelis Tapgun from Plateau South was elected as governor of Plateau state and was at the helms of affairs (for less than two years – 1992 and 1993 until the collapse of the regime occasioned by the June 12 crisis. Tapgun was as unlucky as Solomon Lar, the two ex-governors of Plateau south extractions who had the misfortune of running truncated tenures.

It is noteworthy that among the three zones of the state, it is only the North that is poised to complete two uninterrupted terms. Both Chiefs Solomon Lar and Joshua Dariye had their tenures truncated by circumstances beyond their control. It is inconceivable for the clowns in the PNPF to scheme to hang on to power come 2015 on the premise that there has never been any zoning agreement in the party. If there were no such arrangement, how come the office of the governor of Plateau state is being rotated among the three zones and not monopolized by a section of the state all along? The PNPF shot itself in the foot by admitting that the incumbent “governor’s eight years tenure completes the CIRCLE (my emphasis).” Why did the Front talk about the CIRCLE if there was no such rotational understanding in the party ab initio?

Everybody knows the unseen hand behind this political charade and where the stooge that is being schemed to take over from the incumbent governor is coming. It will be naïve to assume that power cannot change hands in the state come 2015. A typical example of this possibility is the next-door Nasarawa state, governed by the PDP until 2011 when the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) swept its way into power. Power is, indeed, very sweet, intoxicating and corruptive. No one likes to give it up easily. Lord John Acton (1834 – 1902), the British historian, had the clowns in the PNPF in mind when he declared and I quote: Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

 

Vincent Girma, a public affairs analyst, wrote in from Kaduna.

 

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