How contentious zoning arrangement is shaping Plateau politics ahead 2023

6 days 2 hours ago #8215 by patrickd

When the All Progressives Congress (APC) was formed, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was not only in control of the central government, but also in charge of Plateau State. APC went on the displace PDP at the national level.

In Plateau State, APC also got substantial support of voters over allegations that PDP had jettisoned the zoning arrangement. It was also alleged that PDP leadership ensured that a particular tribe in the Northern Zone enjoyed juicy appointments at both the federal and state levels.

But, shortly after APC formed government in Plateau, conflicts of interest in terms of appointments into various positions equally emerged among the different parties that fused into APC to clinch power from PDP.

Unfortunately too, it was claimed that the President favoured mostly his ANPP and CPC loyalists, a development that did not go down well with other parties that formed the coalition.

In Plateau, Governor Simon Bako Lalong used to be a supporter of former governor Joshua Dariye faction of PDP. Lalong, as speaker of the legislature then, fought against Dariye’s impeachment. So, the relationship between the two is cordial and symbiotic.

However, since the party at the national level came on board, it has not held congresses both at the state and national levels, except making appointments and forming caretakers. In Plateau State, since 2015 when Mr. Latep Dabang became state chairman of APC, there has not been ward, local government and state congresses.

The party constitution recommends four years and renewable for another four years and that renewal can only materialize through a congress and convention where new leadership will emerge. But till now, that has not happened.

There are few founding fathers of APC in the state that continue to complain against how the party is administered. It is likely that the party may hit the rocks in 2023 if peaceful and credible convention does not take place before then.

Some supporters are alleging that appointments and running of the party are not democratic but only selective. Another issue to deal with is its inability to conduct elections in four local governments of the Northern Senatorial Zone. These local councils are Jos North, Jos South, Barkin Ladi and Riyom. But government attributed the suspension of the elections to insecurity in the areas.
Some political affairs watchers are of the opinion that if elections are conducted, APC’s chances of winning these councils are very slim.

There are grievances by the electorate of the four excluded councils because they feel denied of democratically elected officials at the grassroots. The 2019 governorship election showed that the margin of victory was about 15,000 votes in favour of APC, which depicts that 2023 may be a herculean task. APC has zoned the next governorship to the Plateau Central based on the zoning agreement.

The Deputy Governor, Professor Sonni Tyoden, who comes from Central, may not get the blessings of the governor because some of the governor’s ardent loyalists are alleging that the deputy is a PDP member who was handpicked by the party to be Lalong’s deputy. They argue that Tyoden was not part of the formation of APC in the state.

The background was that Tyoden and the late G.N.S Pwajok contested the gubernatorial primaries of the PDP in 2015, which he lost to Pwajok. Tyoden is not likely to fight for a slot, which might create a rift between him and the governor because some of the governor’s loyalists are suggesting that the slot in the zone be given to another loyalist of the governor who has come a long way with him when he was a speaker in 2003.

Another likely problem of the party could be the fact that Dariye’s loyalists are still very strong and are working hard to produce a governorship candidate to take over from Lalong as the zoning favours the group. So, there are three camps now the governor’s loyalists, deputy governor’s loyalists and Dariye’s loyalists. These contentious factions may cause a crack in the party by 2023 if not resolved .

SOURCE: The Guardian

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