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Plateau North Divided by Political Interests

News » Politics

IMAGE: Jonah David Jang, Plateau State Governor »


Until recently, Plateau North senatorial zone, though with a few ethnic tribes of Berom, Afizere, Anaguta, Irigwe, Penganna and Rukuba in it, was one formidable entity. Their few differences were not enough to stop them from forging one political front.

It is even believed that this political unity amongst the tribes contributed a great deal to the emergence of the incumbent Governor of the state, Jonah David Jang. The zone knew it was its turn to produce the governor in 2007, seeing that the southern and central zones had been represented at different times, and so were not going to leave any stone unturned to achieve this. The tribes buried their differences and gave the needed support for the emergence of Jang.

Jang, who had contested and lost twice in 1999 and 2003 for the same position, however had a smooth ride over all other candidates in the party primaries and the general election of 2007 as well as in 2011.

But this is not anymore. Diverse political interests and intentions are beginning to tear the people apart. While a group believe that Plateau North could retain the governorship seat in 2015 as long as the candidate is competent and credible, others feel it is selfish and unfair to conceive such an idea at the expense of the other zones in the state.

A leading voice in the group that believe that the seat should by zoning go to Plateau South, Honourable Bitrus Kaze, representing Jos south/Jos East constituency in the House of Representatives, insisted that the gubernatorial slot should go to the South senatorial zone “in the best interest of fair play, equity and justice.”

The lawmaker, in a press statement, urged all the good people of Northern zone (from where he hails) to encourage Jang to allow power shift to the South, adding that such will guaranty lasting peace and unite the Church and the heterogeneous people of the state. He added that by doing so, Jang would have fulfilled the divine mandate given him by God Himself to unite the Church and unite the people, as well as run a righteous administration.

Kaze had turned down the invitation extended to him to attend political summit organised by the Plateau North Political Front (PNPF) “to drum support for the emergence of credible candidates of Plateau North extraction for the various political positions in the state, especially the gubernatorial position in the 2015 general election.”

He argued further that “The fact cannot be contradicted that all senatorial districts of the State beginning with what is now Plateau South, followed by Plateau Central and finally Plateau North, have occupied the seat of governor of the state in that order.

“Since Plateau North is the outgoing incumbent and having completed the circle as rightly alluded to by the PNPF in its first press outing, I urge all the good people of the zone to encourage Governor Jang to institute the principle of zoning for the seat of governor of Plateau State beginning with the Plateau South senatorial district in 2015.

He recalled that long before Jang emerged as the fourth democratically elected governor of Plateau State in 2007, the tradition has been that selected elders and leaders of thought from Plateau North Senatorial District led by him (Jang), consulted and fashioned out a zoning formula which guided the emergence of candidates from the 6 LGs that constitute the zone into various political offices.

“It was on this basis that Senators Timothy Adudu, Late Gyang Dantong (both as MHR and Senator) and GNS Pwajok as well as Honourables Martha Bodunrin, Peter Akujah and my humble self among others emerged at various times.

“For the PNPF to stage a political summit wherein a whooping 600 delegates are expected to converge to drum support for the emergence of candidates for political offices including the governorship when the 2015 zoning arrangement in Plateau North is yet to be unfolded and when no aspirant from the zone has publicly declared interest for governorship under the PDP is a strange novelty to me.”

The lawmaker argued further that, apart from the fact that the “Holy scriptures emphasised the need for us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves and to do to others what we would have them do to us, the letter and spirit of Sections 7(3)(c) of the PDP Constitution 2012 and 14(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (both as amended) respectively encourage the principles of zoning of party and public elective offices in order to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty.”

Kaze said he had held this view from the outset narrating his encounter with different group over his position on the matter.
“Towards the end of 2012, two prominent elders from Jos East LG, who were part of the elders from Plateau North that determined the zoning formula which ensured the emergence of Senator GNS Pwajok, invited me and graciously offered me the opportunity to air my views as to which zone should produce Governor Jang’s successor.

“I told Engineer M.I. Azi and Brigadier General S.A. Abok Rtd (now the Executive Chairman of Jos East LG) that in my considered view, it is in the best interest of fair play, equity and justice for a credible gubernatorial candidate to emerge from the Plateau South senatorial district in the 2015 general election.

“Also, on Sunday 16th February 2014, when the Hon Members of the National and State Assemblies from Plateau North converged at the instance of Senator GNS Pwajok, I was emphatic in expressing the same views. Respected honourable colleagues, who attended this meeting, bear me witness.

“And when Hon. Daniel Izang led a delegation of the PNPF to my house in Jos on Saturday 2nd August 2014, I further stressed the same views. It is unambiguously clear from the foregoing that I have formulated, articulated and consistently sustained my convictions on this important subject long before the PNPF was born in the second quarter of 2014.

“In my considered view, if Plateau North must produce the next governor, I believe the best approach will be to allow other senatorial districts canvass the case in our favour rather than for us to resort to self-help.

“Considering the massive support reported by the PNPF for its objectives, it would have been easier for me to conform by saying ‘Yes’ but I have elected for myself to say ‘No’, meaning, I do not subscribe to the opinion that Plateau North should retain the governorship of Plateau in 2015. If however the decision of the people of Plateau State is to allow Plateau North Senatorial District to produce the next governor, I will be guided accordingly.

“The letter and spirit of Sections 7(3) (c) of the PDP Constitution 2012 and 14(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (both as amended) respectively encourage the principles zoning ‘of Party and Public elective offices’ in order to ‘promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty.”

Responding, Plateau North for Good Governance and Transparency (PNGGT) berated Kaze over his view, saying he was only fanning the embers of discord between the three senatorial districts in the state for selfish political reasons.

Chairman of PNGGT, Pam Jok and its secretary, Bitrus Ajik, in a press statement said the group “has noted with shock the utterances of Kaze, in which he was trying to cause disaffection among the political class in the state over the seat of the governor of the state in 2015 and have come to the conclusion that Kaze is out to pursue his selfish ambition.

According to Jok, Kaze is now fighting the very hands that fed him, saying without the singular effort of Jang, who pleaded with the people of Jos South and Jos East to allow him to represent the people of his constituency at the federal House of Representatives for two terms, Kaze would not have seen the light of the day in the elections.

The two wondered why Kaze did not seek wise counsel on his views before going to town on a sensitive issue that is capable of causing political tension and crisis in the state.

According to them, the groups were aware of the role Kaze played in the last local government election during which he tried to install an unpopular candidate to run for the chairmanship of Jos East local government against the wishes of the people until his move was stopped by Jang, who insisted that proper party primaries be conducted, which eventually saw Kaze’s candidate losing to Brigadier-General Abok, who contested the Jos East Local Government elections and won to the admiration of all.

They added that Kaze should realise that Jang is the party leader of the PDP in the state and has told the people of the state to allow him to seek the face of God for His anointing on whoever will become his successor. They also alleged that Kaze’s position is in connection with his aspiration to become the deputy governor of the state to a Plateau South candidate.

They urged the people of the state, especially PDP faithful in the state to ignore Kaze, whose political carrier, they maintained, has come to an end as from 2015, adding that only Jang and the party delegates will decide the faith of who will fly the party’s flag in the 2015 governorship elections.

Corroborating Kaze’s position, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Lt Gen Jeremiah Useni, said it would be absolutely and morally wrong for anybody to say the governorship seat should go to Plateau North again, “especially as the incumbent governor, Jang, who is from the zone is about completing his second term of eight years.”

“The southern zone has done it, even though they didn't complete the eight years, Tapgun did one and half years but it doesn't matter; they have done it. The central has done it through Dariye and by the time Jang from the north hands over in 2015, he would have done eight years without one day of emergency rule. It would be absolutely wrong, morally wrong and religiously wrong for anybody to say it would start from the north again, it cannot go anti-clockwise. So it has to move to the south.

“Though during the time of Solomon Lar, people from others zones contested and during the time of Dariye, people from other zones also contested; even Jonah Jang contested but failed. I gave him a slot to contest governorship in my party, he failed.
“The system has been in rotation without any agreement, we are not saying people should not come out to contest but it is the turn of the south. If there is no good material from the South – that is a different ball GAME.”

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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Tags:     Jonah David Jang     Honourable Bitrus Kaze     PNPF     Timothy Adudu     Hon. Daniel Izang