By Marie-Therese Nanlong, JOS
Eighteen gubernatorial aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Plateau State have threatened to dump the party, if Governor, Simon Lalong and his allies impose their preferred aspirant on the people.
The aspirants, who insisted that the governor, his family members, and a few members of the party were planning to foist an unpopular candidate that would cause misfortune to the party, warned that if that was done, they and their supporters would collectively dump the party for another.
Addressing journalists in Jos yesterday, the 18 aspirants noted the purported preferred aspirant, Dr. Nentawe Yilwatda, who was recently disengaged from INEC as a Resident Electoral Commissioner and was yet to get his membership right with APC even as he has not totally disengaged from INEC. Speaking on behalf of others, one of the aspirants, Chief Amos Gizo said: “We desire to produce credible, qualified and electable candidates, who are loyal to the party leadership and a person without baggage.
‘’We don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the previous leaders, who could not install their successors by being selfish and imposing unpopular candidates…
“We all agreed that Plateau is not progressing, as the indices of progress show that we are derailing… The aspirants resolved that there should be no impositions of any kind and consensus will be done by the aspirants themselves…
‘’We all agreed that delegates will emerge either by consensus of the aspirants or an election must take place. That no concurred list will be accepted.
“This press conference is necessitated by what looked like rumour but has been evident in the body language of the state governor,
‘’Simon Lalong with members of the first family (wife and brothers) his father in law. Mr. Cyril Tsenyil, the Accountant General of the State, and Mr. Festus Fuanter, the Deputy National Secretary of APC anchored by the member representing Pankshin/Kanke/Kanam in the National Assembly, Hon. Yusuf Gagdi subjugated the collective will of the members of APC by imposing a candidate on the Party in the person of Dr. Nentawe Yilwatda.
“Since this matter became open, the governor has remained silent over it. This means, silence is consent. He has the authority to caution all the perpetrators.”
On the issue of ad hoc delegates, the aspirants asked the party leadership in the state to address that, saying “the use of former delegates amendments is objected to by us and we insist that election must be held in all the 207 federal wards to come up with the five delegates of which two must be women.
‘’The rumour of a concocted list of ad hoc delegates is hereby opposed by all of us. The governor should be neutral, the party should maintain their neutrality as any overt attempt to take sides will surely erode the confidence reposed in them. “We will unanimously present to the party a consensus candidate who has the quality to win at the general election.
“If the state leadership allows those bent on subverting our nascent democracy to thrive, it shall put the state chapter in crisis and we the 18 aspirants have vowed and agreed to dump the party with our teeming supporters for any party of our choice.”