Recently the Tarok Elders Forum endorsed Senator JT Useni to contest the PDP governorship primaries in the state . This development has generated negative reactions from stakeholders writes ACHOR ABIMAJE.
The Plateau state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP has zoned its governorship candidate to the Plateau south senatorial district . What this means is that all the aspirants who are going to slug it out in the party governorship primaries are from the Plateau south and are mostly of Goemai and the Tarok ethnic groups.
Governor Simon Lalong the incumbent governor, is from Shendam local government council and he is from the Goemai speaking group.
Plateau south comprises of six local government councils which are Shendam, Mikang, Wase, Langtang North, Langtang South and Quanpan .
As at the time of filing this report there were abaut 14 PDP governorship aspirants jostling to contest the party governorship primaries in the state.
Out of this number the Tarok tribe has about five aspirants. There are Engr. Jimmy Chitto, Sen. Victor Lar, Engr. Ibrahim Ponyah, Arch. Samuel Jatau and Sen. JT Useni popularly called Baba Mai Tuwo.
It is against this background that Tarok Elders Forum (TEF) has allegedly conducted a mock primaries for the governorship aspirants the Tarok ethnic stock, with a view to present only one aspirant during the PDP primaries in the state .
It was said that the Senator representing Plateau South in the National Assembly Gen. Jeremiah Useni has received the endorsement of Tarok nation to contest for the 2019 Governorship election in the State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to a statement jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of Tarok Elders Forum (TEF), Rev Canon Selcan Miner and Barr Danjuma Rimdan respectively observed that “the emergence of plethora of eligible aspirants of Tarok extraction for the gubernatorial race in Plateau State, has generated some concern within the generality of the Tarok people.
“The leader and elders have therefore engaged the different stakeholders and carried out broad consultation within and outside the Tarok nation, especially with the wider Plateau State family with a view to settling down on and putting forward a single aspirant to the good people of Plateau state for consideration and support.”
Describing the former Minister of federal capital territory as a “quintessential and consummate public officer, infrastructural development guru with vast exposure on security management and peace building strategies”, Miner said his emergence was through painstaking consultations and interaction with various interest groups including the aspirants.
He said, “The leadership of the Tarok nation places on record, the deepest respect and appreciation to all the Tarok aspirants for their cooperation and active participation in the process leading to the decision, “especially those who presented themselves in person or were creditably represented at all the interactive sessions, and pray that history will give them a pride of place.”
But in reaction to this development the Plateau ,Southern zone leadership of the Peoples Democratic party has disclosed that it has not reached an agreement on consensus governorship candidate among the Tarok ( Langtang) governorship aspirants to contest the forth coming PDP primaries in the state.
Plateau Southern Zone Vice Chairman of the party, Hon Domle V Simon and the state Legal adviser of the party in a joint communique issued to newsmen in Jos after the meeting of the Tarok Nation stakeholders in respect of consensus governorship aspirant, said consensus is best made after the aspirants have purchased their forms which will enable concerned stakeholders to know who among the aspirants is serious in his aspirations.
According to them,some of the aspirants are unknown to their party’s architectural arrangement, as these aspirants have not even visited their electoral wards, local governments, zones and the state levels of they party as required.
They alleged most of the Tarok Elders in the committee for selection of governorship aspirant were APC affiliates that are sympathisers of Governor Simon Lalong who is the sole governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress in the state.
“That PDP has no area of connection whatsoever with APC,and so the members of the APC cannot and should not mediate for the PDP in a case like this “ they stressed.
They resolved that those of them who are members of Peoples Democratic Party in Langtang North and South local government councils, have distanced themselves from any decision that would be arrived at by these pro- governor Lalong sympathisers within Tarok Nation.
The decision of the Tarok Elders committee to support Senator JT Useni one of the several Tarok governorship aspirants for Plateau 2019 governorship aspiration, generated disapproval among the supporters of Senator Victor Lar, Jimmy Cheto ,Arch Samuel Jatau and host others wishing to run for governorship race in the state.
But senator Jeremiah Useni while submitting his expression of interest nomination form at the PDP national Secretariat, Wadata house Abuja said he will restructure Plateau State, end insecurity, if elected governor of the state in the coming general election in 2019.
The battle for the number one seat in Plateau has begun with candidates submitting their nomination forms, preparing them for the contest ahead.
Useni who is also a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, is promising to provide free education, boost agriculture and attract foreign investors in the State.
Some of his supporters described the General as a man whom the cap fits.
They have however, called on the party leadership to ensure a credible governorship primaries.
If nominated, Jeremiah Useni may be facing Governor Simon Lalong who is for now the only aspirant seeking re-election under the All Progressives Congress (APC).
A cross section of the people who spoke to LEADERSHIP on the development said all the aspirants have the right to contest the primaries in as much as they all obtain their nomination and expression of interest to contest form, adding that they should not have disqualified other aspirants for only Senator JT Useni.
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