By Peter Duru – Makurdi
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Sunday described the defection of its former National Chairman, Senator Barnabas Gemade, from the Social Democratic Party, SDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, as a mere charade by a perennial political nomad.
Senator Gemade alongside Mr Terngu Shawon who served as the gubernatorial campaign Director General of the PDP in the last election at the weekend in Gemade village, Mbajov, Mbawar council Ward of Konshisha Local Government Area, Benue State defected to the APC.
Senator Gemade during the ceremony allegedly boasted that his defection had sent panic in the camp of the ruling PDP and other political parties.
But in a swift reaction by its State Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom, the PDP said it was amused by what it termed a defection charade which the party should not concern itself with.
“However, considering Senator Gemade’s quoted statement at the decamping that his move to APC has sent jitters down the spines of PDP and other political parties in the state, it is noteworthy to state a few facts salient and relevant to the situation.
“Firstly, underscoring the irrelevance of this charade of a decamping is the loud question; as a former National Chairman of a ruling party, former Minister and former Senator, why was the Benue State Leader of the APC, Senator George Akume, conspicuously absent at the decamping ceremony yesterday?
“Was Senator Gemades’s diminishing political value not highlighted by his abysmally poor performance in his Senatorial re-election bid in 2019 on the platform of the SDP where he lost even in his native Mbawar and placed third in the race behind a political greenhorn like Mimi Orubibi, after he had junketed from APC to PDP and then to SDP all in the space of a few months?
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“Senator Gemade needs to be reminded that his party SDP has not won even a single councilorship seat in all elections since he joined the party in 2019. It lost in all the polls he actively participated in last year,” Iortyom stated.
He added that Senator Gemade should also remember that “PDP won the governorship election, 3 senatorial seats out of 3, 7 House of Representatives seats of 11 and 23 Benue State House of Assembly seats out of 30.
“The party also has 23 elected council chairmen out of 23 and 276 elected councillors. So why would PDP be jittery? Was Gemade a member of PDP when it emerged victorious in all of those elections?
“It is unfortunate that while politicians of Senator Gemade’s generation, like Senator David Mark, are retiring and leaving room on the leadership stage for their proteges, the septuagenarian is still embarking on political quests suitable for his children’s generation.
“His current voyage into the APC is most likely ill-fated, as feelers indicate his motive is to wrestle the leadership of the party in Benue from Senator Akume whom he believes lost relevance following the party’s defeat to PDP in 2019.
“Terngu Shawon’s case is even worse, as the man, in his capacity as Director-General of the gubernatorial campaign organisation of the sitting governor, failed to deliver a single polling unit in his council ward, even ran away and could not vote at his polling unit in the 2019 election. Such a man need not be taken seriously by anyone.
“PDP, as a solidly grounded political party, will not be distracted by this mere gallivanting of nomadic politicians whose antics are well known to the electorate and won’t be taken seriously, as the party focuses on guiding and supporting the Ortom administration towards delivering on its mandate to the people of Benue State.”