By Marie -Therese Nanlong
The unfolding realignment is yet to have any significant effect in Plateau State as the status quo remains in the two major parties, the APC and the PDP.
Apart from Governor Simon Lalong, nobody has shown interest either verbally or through body language in the governorship seat in the ruling APC. The party had, some months ago, unanimously adopted the governor as its candidate for the 2019 election. The party chairman, Hon. Latep Dabang, who once said that Lalong would not be given automatic ticket, later said everyone was free to contest the seat but such a person would only be wasting both time and resources.
The situation is different in the PDP which has its number of aspirants for the gubernatorial seat swell by the day.
Among the aspirants are Senator Jeremiah Useni, who currently represents Plateau South in the Senate; Sam Abashe, a retired military officer with experience in peace-keeping operations, George Daika, a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Victor Lar, a former senator, Kemi Nshe, a former ALGON Chairman, Hart Bankat, an architect, Caleb Mutfwang, a former Local Government Chairman, Sam Jatau, an architect and Ibrahim Ponyah.
Among the number, six of them have officially informed the Party of their intention but as the Party commences the sale of its form in the next few weeks, it would then be clear how many of them are actually serious about their ambitions.
How they stand:
Useni, a former military governor, FCT Minister, a serving senator, among other qualifications, has the needed requirement to clinch the seat as he has the people and money but age may count against him as he is already in his 70s.
Abashe, a peace-keeping expert, voluntary retired from service, having served in the Horns of Africa for 15 out of his 22 years’ career in the military. He said governance in the state failed due to lack of blueprint but would hit the ground running with his template which he and his team carefully designed and would leave the stage at the end of a tenure.
George Daika was a Speaker in the state House of Assembly as well as the member representing Qua’an Pan, Shendame, Mikang federal Constituency in the National Assembly. He is a savvy politician but he has been so quiet recently; one cannot say exactly what is in his mind as he vies for the seat.
Victor Lar, a former senator representing Plateau South, was a political son of General Useni but they parted ways since he defeated his godfather to clinch the Senate seat before Useni eventually got his in 2015.
Not much is known about Hart Bankat except that though an architect, he does more of contract works than designing. He is a young man in his 30s but it is yet to be seen if the not too young to run law would count in his favour via massive support from his immediate constituency; the youths.
Caleb Mutfwang, a lawyer by profession, has been in private practice before he became the Chairman of Mangu local government area of the state. When Governor Lalong sacked them before the end of their tenure in office, the unassuming lawyer went back to his practice but recently indicated interest in vying for the governorship seat.
Kemi Nshe was an elected Chairman of Shendam local government area and a former ALGON Chairman in the state, a strong member of the party who has the grassroots’ support. He can pull an enormous crowd anytime but that may not really translate into votes that would make him clinch the seat.
50 years old Architect Sam Jatau is an alumnus of the famous Boys High School, Gindiri, a master’s degree holder worked in the state Civil Service and voluntary retired as a Deputy Director in May 2018. He believes he will be the next governor of Plateau.
Ibrahim Ponyah is not too known but he believes he has what it takes to govern the state as he vies for the seat in 2019.