By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Fresh defection of over 200 chieftains of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Plateau State to All Progressives Congress, APC, is posing a threat to PDP’s confidence of winning the coming elections.
The former PDP members claimed they left the party after realising that PDP was planning to disrupt the current zoning formula in the state, saying the party’s governorship candidate, Senator Jeremiah Useni, would want a second term if he won the March 2, 2019 election.
One of the reasons Useni was favoured during the PDP primaries was due to his age and the agreement that he would have one tenure in office.
However, PDP has debunked the decampees’ allegations, saying it was baseless and cooked up to smear the rising profile and influence of the PDP.
Spokesman of the defectors, Garba Abubakar, who spoke at APC rally in Mangu Local Government Area of the state, said they were “initially endeared to PDP by Senator Useni’s declaration that he would serve only one term in office in accordance with the now entrenched zoning principle in the state.
“But based on the happenings within the party, there is a plan by PDP gubernatorial candidate to renege on the agreement, hence the collective decision of some members to jettison PDP for APC whose candidate is going for second term.
“Senator Useni who had invited us to work with him in his governorship campaign has declined to restrict himself to the one term in office if he eventually wins in the forth-coming elections. This did not go down well with some of the supporters and party members from Mangu LGA.
“The Central zone is next in line to benefit from the zoning agreement in the state and Mangu LGA being an interested party will not concede her chance by supporting Useni as he would further delay their chance of contesting the governorship by another four years.
“We would rather pitch camp with the incumbent Governor Simon Lalong of APC who is seeking a second term and who is by the constitution restricted to just two terms from which he had already served one.”
Reacting to the allegation, Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee of PDP Campaign Council, Mr. Abraham Yiljap, said: “It is a mischief to say Senator Useni is scheming for eight years.
“The gubernatorial candidate has repeatedly stated that he was going in for just four years after which he will hand over to young ones. APC just wants to deceive people of Mangu. I want to say that he is going in for just four years.”