In a dramatic confirmation of Intervention’s story, (see “Fragile Peace Over Deputy-Governorship Selection in Plateau PDP”), the rift in Plateau PDP over deputy-governorship candidature has escalated. Five party members are asking the state Chairman of the PDP, Mr Damishi Sango, to resign. The five who are now effectively dissidents are Engineer Danladi Mwantok; Hon. Benedict Shignugul; Barrister Simon Barry; Professor Shedrack Best and Barrister Caleb Mutfwang. The statement titled “Choice of PDP Deputy-Governorship Candidate and Matters Arising” is reproduced below with virtually no editing:
“We the undersigned are the five members of the Peoples Democratic Party from Mangu LGA who were privileged to be nominated and recommended for consideration of any of us as Deputy Governorship candidate of our great party by critical stakeholders at a lawfully convened meeting of the party held on Sunday 14th October, 2014.
We wish to express our profound gratitude to the entire PDP family of Mangu LGA for considering us worthy to be recommended for this position of great responsibility without any inducement from any of us, despite the array of competent hands that abound within the LGA.
Following the needless controversy that attended the choice of running mate to the PDP candidate, we are constrained to issue the following statement since it is now clear that our Governorship candidate, Distinguished Senator J T Useni has settled for Dr. James Dalok as his running mate.
We acknowledge and respect the fact that it is the candidate’s prerogative to choose his running mate and also the fact that power comes from God and He gives it to whomsoever He pleases. We wish to also state that we have no personal issues with Dr. James Dalok. However we are worried that the process of selecting a running mate became marred by fraud and lack of transparency orchestrated by the party leadership.
We are pained about the impression being created that no choice of this nature can be made from Mangu LGA without rancour or controversy. Nothing can be further from the truth. Those who promote this view point simply wish to divert attention from the mismanagement of the process by the leadership of the Party.
We are proud to state that from the 2016 PDP Congresses to the Local Government Primary Elections held in Oct/Nov. 2017, elections in Mangu LGA were concluded via consensus without any external interference.
The entire PDP family and the general public is called upon to know that ONLY 1 list of recommended names came from the PDP family in Mangu LGA. Any other list came from fraudsters who were commissioned by outsiders to create confusion in our midst in order to further their selfish ends! Sadly, this act was tolerated and fertilized by the Party.
From all the facts available to us, we have every reason to believe that the choice of Dr. James Dalok had been made even before the primaries began! We as an LGA have been deceived and made to go through a needless process of democratization which has today left our party, not just in Mangu but the entire Plateau in state of disillusion and despondency.
Without doubt, our state party Chairman, Hon. Damishi T. Sango contacted some stakeholders on the night of 13th October i.e. the eve of the Mangu LGA party meeting that produced the five of us to solicit support for his preferred candidate, Dr. James Dalok. Unfortunately he could not make the list because we honestly did not know him in the PDP. Even in Mangun ward where he comes from, he was not known to the Party there as a member of the PDP, at least as at 14th October, 2018.
As further proof that there was a desperate determination to work from the answer to the question; Plan B was immediately activated when the Chairman’s Plan A of bringing his preferred choice through the official party list failed. That is why out of the blue, another list of recommended candidates purportedly from Mangu stakeholders emerged! This clandestine and fraudulent list contained the names of two respected sons of Mangu, namely Hon. Moses Tangsan and Chief Jerry Gushop. Our Party Chairman had held a previous meeting with Mr. Tangsan to intimate him that he was unsuitable on account of his age. His inclusion was dead on arrival as the Chairman knew the name would not be accepted but was only used to block the ones Mr. Chairman detested. As for Mr. Jerry Gushop, he was then unknown to us in the PDP and was even alleged to play his politics in the APC. The other two, Mr. Solomon Chedan (up till now unknown) and Dr. James Dalok were also on the list.
The so called stakeholders who brought the list in (10) above, operated under a fictitious name called Central Zone Church Leaders Prayer Forum. This fictitious group forwarded the names through a letter dated 14/10/2018 and duly signed by one Rev. Tanko D. Yilmak and Dakas Nathaniel Dakas, its self styled Central zone coordinator somehow found its name to our highly esteemed candidate, Senator J T Useni. Rev Yilmak is unknown to us in the Central zone but Dakas Nathaniel Dakas is well known as member of the PDP from Bwonpe State Ward whose ways leave a lot to be desired. We are surprised to discover that our Chairman has had a close and long standing relationship with Mr. Dakas thus fuelling allegations that the former was privy to this fictitious letter ahead of its reaching the Candidate.
It has now come to our knowledge that the leadership of COCIN has since distanced itself from this ungodly group alleged by the authors of this document to comprise all the RCC chairmen of the central zone and PCC chairmen of the zone comprising of the five local government areas (Kanam LGA, Kanke LGA, Pankshin LGA, Mangu LGA and Bokkos LGA) under the COCIN denomination.
We are also aware that several complaints from ALL THE WARD CHAIRMEN, CHAIRMANSHIP & COUNCILLORSHIP CANDIADATES of the PDP in Mangu LGA and other well meaning people within and outside the state have reached the Chairman but were all treated with utter contempt and disdain! The Chairman has also refused to constructively engage us in meaningful dialogue. He initially refused to see a lawful delegation of the party from the LGA, preferring to give an appointment 5 days later, yet had time to promptly see a delegation of jesters termed traditional title holders at short notice! We have since realized that it is part of a desperate attempt to rally legitimacy to a process that was flawed from the beginning.
We have been forced into believing that our State Party Chairman has an axe to grind with the good people of Mangu LGA as he appears to have joined forces with others who also have issues with us. While we are yet to come to terms with his motive in this whole saga, we would like to draw the PDP family’s attention to the rumour mills the Chairman has allowed to fester, that all that has happened so far is in furtherance of plans by the Chairman for his emergence as Minister from Plateau State from 2019 and eventually as the governorship candidate of our party in 2023! Knowing full well that the Central Zone would definitely make a claim to the position in 2023, could it be that this entire manipulation is a strategy to begin to decapitate his potential opponents? Could this be the reason why Mangu people are being given a bad name in order to hang them?
We are aware of desperate efforts by the State Party Chairman to divide and rule us in the LGA but has not succeeded as the party at the grassroots is very much intact but without morale. The PDP family should not be deceived by few of our brothers that have been rented to discredit us. Let the entire PDP family know that as persons who have laboured alongside others to build this party, we have no intention of doing anything that could bring down the house we participated in building. Though the Chairman has wounded and weakened our hands by turning some of our brothers against us for mere pittance, we would do our best as we have always done to market all our party candidates for the 2019 general elections, but our task has been made very difficult. We are burdened enough to warn against building castles in the air. Every vote we can muster must not be toyed with.
Careless statements like we can win elections with anyone as deputy or PDP can even win without Mangu votes must be urgently and sincerely erased from our minds. Let us not count our chicks before the eggs are hatched! The honest truth is that Plateau people are disappointed with the way the PDP has handled this matter. Despite all the arranged endorsements e.g. by the LGA Chairmen of the party, it is an open secret that many PDP members are of the opinion that our great party has lost momentum at its hour of glory. It is also an open secret, despite denials, that there is a sharp divide between the State Working Committee and the State Non-working Committee. The PDP family in Mangu LGA has used all avenues to pass on the true feelings of our members and the people but the Chairman has rebuffed us, forcing us to resort to this last measure of bringing our concerns to the larger PDP family.
Finally, we wish to state emphatically that we have lost confidence in the leadership of Hon. Damishi T. Sango. We do not believe that it will profit the PDP to go into the 2019 elections under his leadership. It is our candid opinion, therefore, that Hon. Damishi T. Sango should urgently resign as the Chairman of the PDP to allow for healing, reconciliation and peaceful elections that will bring victory to our Party. Staying in opposition for another four years, when the political barometer favours the PDP, is not worth it.
Long live the Peoples Democratic Party”