…Explains the Ayu, Jang links
…Counsels Gov against going to S’Court
…PDP plotting incoming Gov’s fall, claims APC
By Kingsley Chukwuka
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees (BoT) member and former Governor of Plateau State, Mr. Fidelis Tapgun, has claimed that his party enabled the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) to presently be in the driving seat for a sensational return to power in the State.
incumbent Governor Caleb Mutfwang was last Sunday, 19 November, sacked by the Court of Appeal which declared the APC governorship candidate in the 18 March gubernatorial poll in the state, Dr Nentawe Yilwatda Goshwe, winner of the election.
The judgment caused great dissention in the PDP camp nationwide with protests staged over the matter with the Governor declaring his intention to head to the Supreme Court.
Mutfwang has been in office for just about six months.
However, Tapgun told a select group of journalists in Jos, the Plateau State capital, yesterday that the PDP should blame itself squarely for the misfortune.
According to him, the defeat in court was self-inflicted as the party refused to follow due process of conducting its State Congresses.
Tapgun disclosed that a fraction of the party who were dissatisfied with the congresses, which were conducted twice, maintained that internal democracy must be adhered to for all party members to be satisfied.
He said: “The faction has maintained that the Jos High Court ruling must be obeyed for every party member to be carried along.
“The consistent failure of the party to obey the court order led us to this point. I played a middleman role trying to reconcile the two factions so that the party will do the right thing and avoid this unfortunate embarrassment that has befallen us, but my advice was ignored.”
Recall that the Appeal Court had also sacked all National Assembly members as well as the Governor, citing that the PDP does not have a valid party structure to sponsor any candidate for election.
Going by the decision of the Appeal Court, Tapgun has advised Gov. Mutfwang not to bother going to the Supreme Court as that would amount to a waste of time and resources.
“Mutfwang should accept defeat and congratulate the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Dr. Nentawe Yilwatda Goshwe who by the Appeal Court verdict is now the Governor-elect,” he said.
Tapgun also accused the national body of PDP in Abuja for not helping the State chapter to resolve the issue of state congresses.
His words: “I blame the former National Chairman of our party, Iyorchia Ayu, for sleeping over this matter. I personally approached him on the crisis in the State, with the hope that he will use his experience to resolve the issues between the warring factions. But rather he chose to listen to Jang (former Governor of the State) who is the reason we are where we are today.
“Jang’s determination to control the party which led to a power tussle with Jeremiah Useni (a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory) is the crux of the whole trouble we are facing today in the party.
“Ayu shouldn’t have listened to Jang but would have heeded to my advice and we would have silenced the APC for good in the State.”
He added: “I think this thing that has happened to us is self-inflicted. Self-inflicted because we caused everything that has happened. And when I say we, I am not saying everybody. There is one person that I want to single out in this State, and that is Jonah Jang. He has been the fulcrum of all these problems we have been facing.
“You know I thought Jang should have learnt a lesson in 2015 with the mistake he made by imposing a candidate from the Plateau northern zone against the zoning principles of zoning in the State.
“Plateau reacted against Jang and voted against his dominance and that is why the APC came into the political scene in the State. I thought that he should have learnt a lesson from it and rectified it.
“At that time, we lost only one position; but now we have lost everything because Jang wanted his foot soldiers to form the State Exco.
“When I was invited to Abuja by the national body in 2021 to proffer a solution, I said ‘look there are two sides to this problem. There is the Jang faction and the Jeremiash Useni’s faction. If we don’t dissolve the two and set up an independent caretaker committee, we will never solve the problem’.
“At the end of the day, the matter was not resolved because Chris Hassan who is the State Chairman of the party wants to remain as the Chairman and with Jang’s support, they scuttled everything.”
As he spoke, the APC in the State raised the alarm over what it termed DPD’s ploy to frustrate the incoming Goshwe government.
The APC said the resignation of the PDP-controlled Plateau House of Assembly Speaker, Hon. Moses Sule and his Deputy, Hon. Gwott Fomson, was to finetune an alleged plan as the new Speaker under the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Hon. Gabriel Dewan, immediately after being sworn-in, declared a two-month recess for the Assembly till 21 January, 2024.
The APC, in a statement signed by its State Publicity Secretary, Sylvanus Namang, said the ”impunity plan” is spearheaded by Gov. Mutfwang.
Namang alleged that the Governor’s aim was to stop the APC’s incoming Assembly members who, he said, were declared winners by the Appeal Court, from being sworn in.
“Mutfwang wants to stop the swearing-in of our members who by the pronouncement of the Appeal Court this Wednesday as winners will have the highest number in the House”, Namang said.
According to him: “In order to execute the toxic and ill-motivated script by the Governor, as soon as the new Speaker was sworn-in yesterday, he immediately declared a two-month recess till January 21st, 2024.
“This onslaught and legislative impunity has put paid to the speculations about the grand design by Governor Mutfwang to stall the inauguration and swearing-in of the new members returned by the Court of Appeal, which is to be effected next week.
“It is instructive to note that going by the Appeal Court judgments, the APC would have an overwhelming majority of 22 members out of 24 members in the Plateau State House of Assembly while the YPP and Labour Party (LP) would have one member each.
“From every indication, the Governor is spoiling for a war with the very likely incoming APC-led Government as his action is clearly designed to operate a parallel legislature in the same manner he is operating an illegal Transmission Implementation Committee with appointed Chairmen who operate in guest houses and hotel rooms, thus flouting with impunity the Inspector General of Police directive ordering the reopening of LGA secretariats for the 17 elected Chairmen and 325 Councilors to operate.
“This invidious move is a clear invitation to crises as by next week, in line with the Appeal Court judgments, all the 16 PDP members would cease to be members of the Plateau State House of Assembly.
“This, therefore, implies that the 22 APC members are expected to operate under a one-man riot gang as ‘Speaker’ for the two months because even when the House is in recess, legislative functions would take place under oversight functions.
“It leaves us in no doubt that, as he has done in the case of the illegal Transition Committee Chairmen, he would continue to equally illegally operate with the sacked House of Assembly members in his remaining days in office.”
The APC advised Mutfwang not to throw caution to the winds but to remember the oath of office that he swore to uphold.