New Telegraph

PDP’s Dramatic Move On the Plateau

In this analysis, MUSA PAM writes that by pulling a stunt in last week’s rerun, and supporting candidates of less popular political parties, following its exclusion from the ballot, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has asserted its popularity in Plateau State

Plateau State politicians especial- ly stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State and Nigeria as a whole have always boosted that PDP started and has its roots on the Plateau and the state is and will always remain a PDP state. Upon the return of democracy in 1999, former governor of the state, late Chief Solomon Lar, became the PDP pioneer National Chairman. Also, other former governors like Sir Fidelis Tapgun, Sen. Joshua Dariye, Sen. Jonah David and Sen. Simon Bako Lalong were all members of the PDP in the state. So, PDP has been in power in Pla- teau State since 1999, even though Simon Lalong was first elected the Speaker in the State House of Assembly on the platform of the PDP.

It remained so from 2015 to 2023 when APC took over during the tenure of former Governor Lalong due to the disagreement on zoning. Since the PDP candidate then was coming from the northern zone instead of the south especially because the majority of the PDP supporters and Plateau citizens wanted a candidate from the southern zone, they had no option than to support the candidature of Barr. Simon Lalong. The 2015 incident repeated itself on the 3rd February 2034 during the rerun election for the Plateau North Senatorial seat and Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency. In a dramatic move, PDP supported the candidates of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Pam Dachungyang Mwadkwon for Senate and Hon. Daniel Asama of the Labour Party for Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency. They both won.

It would be recalled that the Court of Appeal had in October last October nullified the election of the then Senator Representing Plateau North and former Minority Leader of the Senate Sen. (Dr) Simon Mwadkwon under the PDP for lack of structure and also nullified the election of the Member Representing Jos North/ Bassa Federal Constituency Hon. Musa Agah under the PDP and order for a rerun to replace the above lawmakers. The Appeal Court also nullified the election of all lawmakers elected on the platform of the PDP and when INEC conducted the rerun election on the 3rd of February, 2024 PDP candidates were excluded from the election. To prove a point that Plateau North and the entire state belong to the party, PDP mobilised and adopted unpopular candidates of the ADP the Senate and LP for the Reps and they won both the elections.

It would interest to note that PDP started the mobilisation for the ADP and LP candidates on the 1st of February, 2024, 48 hours before the election, after the party discovered during INEC distribution of materials that PDP was excluded from the election. However, most of the politicians from Plateau State later defected to other political parties their root in the PDP, except the present All Progressive Congress, Hon. Rufus Bature who has never been a PDP member. After the 2023 General Election, the PDP had the majority of the State House of Assembly members and the National Assembly members, but due to the Appeal Court judgement as a result of the lack of the PDP structure, all the seats were taken over by either APC or Labour Party while one Plateau North and Jos North/ Bassa were for rerun elections.

Chairman of the PDP in Plateau State, Hon Chris Hassan, had on several occasions and during campaigns said the party is so rooted in the state that if the 2023 election were to be conducted 10 times or more, the party would win in the state. “Our party can defeat a sitting government by a wide margin, win five House of Representatives seats, two Senate seats and 16 members of the House of Assembly. Since those judgments were passed, Plateau has become a ghost town.” He said no political party in Nigeria has a structure like the PDP, adding that the insinuation of having no structure in the state is baseless. According to Hassan, the judgment against the party’s elected representatives at the state House of Assembly and National Assembly is a big surprise considering the overwhelming support given to all candidates of the party in the last general elections.

Hassan said the PDP complied with the court order, and conducted another state congress on September 25, 2021during which a new state executive emerged, adding that all the guidelines were strictly followed to be in line with the constitution of the party and the Electoral Act. The ruling PDP has described the election of Sen. Pam Dachungyang Mwadkwon of the ADP and Hon. Daniel Asama member-elect, representing Jos North, Bassa Federal Constituency as not only a reaffirmation that Plateau State is an impregnable fort for the PDP but, also showing to the world that Plateau has never voted for another party apart from the PDP. It reaffirmed that Plateau State is home to the PDP. Also, the Plateau State Governor Mutfwang has adjudged the party the most credible platform for any election in the state. He said the plot orchestrated by the ruling APC in the state to take the PDP out of Government House and the state has failed, urging citizens to forget the name APC from Plateau State He described PDP as a probable wife who was rejected and after marrying another one which is the APC, the people turned out disappointed and reverted to the first wife which is the PDP.

Mutfwang apologised to people for the shortcomings of the PDP in the past and assured them the mistakes of the past would not be repeated going forward. He acknowledged that he does not have all the solutions to the challenges currently confronting Plateau but assured that everybody would be brought on board to galvanise valuable initiatives and ideas to move the state forward. Governor Mutfwang congratulated Prince Mwadkon and Daniel Asama for emerging victorious in the National Assembly re-run election. The INEC officially declared Mwadkon of the ADP and Daniel Asama of the LP as the winners of the respective elections. Receiving the elected lawmakers at Government House, Little Rayfield, Jos, Governor Mutfwang said that their triumph transcended party lines, symbolising the true Plateau spirit of accommodation, tolerance, and unity in diversity.

He urged them to collaborate with fellow representatives to attract development for the betterment of the people. Governor Mutfwang acknowledged the leadership qualities of former Minority Leader, Simon Mwadkon, and Hon. Musa Avia Agah, and encouraged them to re- main steadfast in their determination to serve the people. Senator-Elect Prince Mwadkon, appreciative of the mandate from an insignificant party, pledged to be a voice for all Plateau people, irrespective of their background. Daniel Asama on his part promised to ensure credible representation for his constituency and the entire state. He ac-knowledged with gratitude, the exceptional leadership displayed by Senator Simon Mwadkon and Hon. Musa Agah of the PDP during the election.

Meanwhile, the State Chairman of ADP, Hon. Bitrus Boyi Ngah, has expressed appreciation to God and the good people of Plateau State for voting massively for his party the ADP which allowed them to produce the first and only Senator under the platform of the party. Reacting to the victory of the ADP at the Senatorial rerun said, “We thank God, we thank the people of Plateau State, especially those from the northern senatorial district of Plateau State, all Plateau people resident and those that are voting within the zone. They did a great job. We thank them for the support and we appreciate God for granting us victory. We give God the glory. We are happy, we are full of joy”. “We have extended our happiness to the people of Plateau State who are equally celebrating with us and this is a victory that in the history of ADP they are getting a senator for the first time in the whole of Nigeria. That is one of the great things that is giving us, giving us joy from the state to the national headquarters.

All other states are celebrating Plateau State”. “For this immediate change is a victory that we dedicate to the people of the Al- mighty God and the people of Plateau State. We want to assure them that this joy will extend to providing dividends or democracy to the Nuran zone and the entire Plateau. We want to thank them irrespective of affiliations all came out and Mass and voted for ADP. We assure them that we will do our very best having their support”, he added. He noted that the APD and the Senator- Elect will continue with the good works that former Senate Minority Leader Sen. Dr. Simon Mwadkon has started. “From campaigning to the polls to announcement, we will not let them down. We will do as much as possible to build on what is already on the ground, especially where the predecessor of our candidate stopped.

We’ll do our very best to continue the good project he had already started and the ongoing ones, introduce new ones and then as well as implement and complete those new ones also”. While lamenting the security situation and the hardship in the country, Hon Ngah said that Senator-Elect would do his best to alleviate the suffering of his constituents. “We know, everybody knows now that the country today is facing economic challenges…in diverse ways. We want to pay attention to see that we alleviate the sufferings of the people. “We want to pay attention to the area of security, which is very, very key because the essence of government is to protect lives and property. Any bill, I said any bill you are portraying or you are presenting on behalf of the people if does not secure their lives and their property that bill is not a bill that people should celebrate.

So, the most important thing and the number one thing that we are going to do as a party is to encourage and mobilize, to support the senator-elect, to ensure that the security of life of people within this zone and the state is being given adequate attention, proper attention so that people will sleep with their two eyes closed. Because without this all the celebration we are doing is just with it to end in futility. So, our utmost desire is to make sure that plateau people do not feel bad voting us into power”. He added that the Senator will also focus on agriculture as a veritable means to ensure food security in the country to reduce the hardship of the citizens. A former member Board of Trustee of the PDP, and former Nigerian Ambassador to Switzerland Amb. Yahaya Kwande described the rerun outcome as a triumph of democracy and congratulated the winners of the elections. Kwande said: “I have no doubt that both Prince Pam Mwadkon and Hon. Daniel Asama will live up to the aspirations and expectations of the voters, as they embark on this noble responsibility of representing their constituents.

May your tenure be marked by dedication, integrity, and a relentless pursuit of progress for our beloved state and nation. “As we celebrate this momentous mile- stone, let us not forget the challenges we faced during the post-2023 elections period. It is my sincere hope that Plateau State will swiftly recover from the divisions and tussles that marred our unity. Let us unite as one, for the strength of our state lies in our togetherness. It is essential for the government and the people to undertake immediate measures to reconcile and bridge the gaps that have emerged. We must never forget that every citizen, irrespective of their religion or ethnicity, is entitled to their fundamental rights. The use of religion as a tool of disfranchisement must cease; we must affirm that citizenship rights are not conditional on faith. “Let us also strive to recapture the lost glory of our state, when Jos was hailed as the political Mecca of Nigeria, attracting momentous political events and embracing politicians from all shades and ideologies. We can revive this legacy by nurturing an environment that exudes peace, openness, and security for all. Together, we can restore Plateau State as a beacon of democratic excellence.

“I express my utmost optimism for the future of Plateau State. I extend my deepest appreciation to all who peace- fully participated in the bye election, be it as candidates or enthusiastic supporters. Our journey towards progress and development continues, and I am confident that we will stand united, empowered by the unwavering spirit of our people.” It’s worth mentioning that both the Senator-elect and Reps Member-elect have pledged loyalty to the PDP leadeship in the state, the Plateau Governor and those whose mandate was nullified, saying they will represent Plateau State and they belong to the “Plateau People’s Party.”

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