The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Plateau State is engulfed in much litigation which has threatened its State Congress, some of the issues can be traced to problems which arose from the Ward and Local Government congresses.
One of the aspirants for the Chairmanship seat; Hon. Bitrus Kaze spoke with Marie-Therese Nanlong in Jos on the issues affecting the Party.
There ought to be a congress but nobody knows what is happening. What is the position of things?
There are many things that went wrong since the Ward and Local Government congresses in February and March; there were many issues in some places including Jos East where I come from.
There was truly no congress; there are other instances like that across the State, people have been hoping that the Party will sit down with those who have written to say we have problems with our Ward or local government congresses but that was never to happen.
Because people exhausted all possible avenues of resolving their grievances within the Party and nobody was responding, they approached the courts and the courts actions started taking effect on the Party. There are injunctions here and there, even we the aspirants too. The complains of the people are genuine and we can’t hold a congress because it was simply not realistic.
It is as if there is nobody at the helms of the affairs of the Party in the State, what are the stakeholders doing about it?
It is not as if we are totally without somebody who can provide leadership; at the national level, there are leaders. In the State, the gubernatorial candidate is there, leaders like baba Jang, Mantu, Sango, Tapgun and others are there so if there a matter that affects the Party, our tradition, as allowed by the Party constitution is that they quickly provide leadership for the Party. We have a Senator, Members of House of Representatives, State House of Assembly and a serving local government Chairman. If there is any matter for the Party to take action, we can convene and provide direction.
All these people you mentioned, can’t they rally round and solve the impasse on ground?
The thing is, I say this with utmost respect, all the big names I have mentioned are involved one way or the other in the whole problem and it has become difficult for them to command the confident of fellow key stakeholders not to talk of others that are far below. Because there is absence of confidence in the State, it is telling on the administration of the Party. So many people are aggrieved, some of our key leaders are perceived to be part of the misdeeds of the immediate past exco… unfortunately, that is what we are facing in the PDP in Plateau State.
What is the news from Abuja?
They have been holding meetings; the problem is that, even the leadership or the gods of the Party have already taken sides, nobody is willing to shift ground. The problem in PDP on the Plateau started here and it is best settled here.
What we hear is that some of our leaders say that the immediate past exco must come back and they should be given one month but some people are saying that even their position as caretaker was faulty because it was tenure elongation. Their tenure originally ended May, 10, they were never really dissolved, the Party just appointed as caretaker committee.
If that position was questioned, now that even the tenure of that borrowed time had expired, what will be the justification to return people under whose watch the Party was torn into pieces like never before? We have never experienced this in Plateau State, a litany of court cases like this, complains, bitterness, lack of confidence, mistrust, animosity, the atmosphere is so poisonous. Under an exco that such sordid credential was obtained, how do you expect them to come back and command the confidence of the people?
With all these, has the Party learnt any lesson from the defeat of 2019?
I think you are asking the wrong person because in 2014, I said something that differed from almost everybody, I had a cause to tell the leader of the Party in the State at that time, then the Governor, I said sir, taking a decision against zoning on the Plateau would be consequential. I was not listened to, I was ostracised, punished, molested, insulted but I managed to hang and kept saying that we needed to allow the governorship go to the South. If there is any lesson; that should have been learnt in 2015.
Don’t you see the various courts litigation are impediments to the congress?
Oh yes, even the petitions are impediments to the congress, the PDP in Plateau State has a history of litigations, when the Professor Shown of blessed memory was booted out by the Vincent Ogbulafor national exco and Shuluwa was illegally brought in, he was effectively dealt with by the court. That was a clear precedent so where our leaders have shown that you can obtain fairness in courts, what stops anybody from going to court to obtain the same fairness?
Given the right leadership and atmosphere, do you think the PDP has the chance to recover the State in 2023?
Oh my God, it is just there for the taking; what Plateau requires desperately is fairness. If we can provide fairness, when you take out suspicion, animosity, selfishness and offer integrity, justice, equity, PDP is the Party to beat on the Plateau anytime.
APC is an accident on the Plateau even those in APC know this and if PDP gets the right leadership, they will come back after all about 85% of those who call themselves APC were actually born and bred politically by the PDP.