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APC in Disarray Over Pengana By-Election



The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in Plateau state is in disarray following disagreements among its leadership to produce a formidable and credible candidate for the forthcoming Plateau State House of Assembly by-election for Pengana Constituency.

The seat became vacant following the death of its former occupant, Hon Ezekiel Afon who contested and voted in the last general election but died shortly after declaring him as the winners of the election. The by-election will hold in August as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Investigations by CityMirrorNews revealed that shortly after his death, political permutations began with stakeholders in the Constituency divided over who should replace him. Some argued that the wife of the late member should replace him while others are calling for fresh hand to fly the party’s ticket in the election.

The information available to this medium indicates that some aggrieved stakeholders alleged that the lawmaker did not carry them along during his lifetime and felt that this is the best time to revenge.

With three days to the conduct of the primaries as released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the party is yet to conduct its primaries and this development has thrown the Party into disarray.

It would be recalled that late Hon Ezekiel Banda Afon was formerly of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in 2015 where he won his election and the party was in majority with thirteen members while the APC had eleven members yet produced the Speaker and PDP produced the Deputy Speaker but with the death of a lawmaker from Quan Pan South and the Courts nullifying some seats and rerun elections held, the All Progressives Congress formed the majority in the House of Assembly.

With this development, moves for defection began; first with the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon Yusuf Gagdi from Kanatana State Constituency and Hon Naanlong Daniel from Mikang defecting to the All progressives Congress. Hon Afon followed b dumping his party, PDP, to the ruling APC. CityMirrorNews findings indicated that Afon’s Constituency in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State is a stronghold of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and with elections coming, pressure began to mount on the lawmaker from State government and others to join the ruling party with the stage set for Hon Ezekiel Afon to defect to the APC in June 2107 and was made the Chief whip of the 8th Assembly.

In 2019 elections, Afon sought reelections and won but shortly after been announced the winner and celebrations were ongoing at his residence in Rock Haven, he fell and died.

His death shocked the entire state and shortly after the political intrigues of who to replace him began with various groups aligning among interest as it would be recalled that the late lawmaker worked tirelessly for the acceptability of the APC in Pengena and also the grassroots mobilization of the Party which manifested during the Local Government elections in the State where the Party emerged victorious at the polls. This and many more were some of the activities and works of the lawmaker in the State.

The APC Party Secretary, Bashir Sati said the Party is aware of the electoral umpires time and steps are been taken to ensure smooth conduct of the elections.

He also said that the party is interfacing with others on the way forward.

Some stakeholders in the Constituency, illiya Simon and Kudu Asem said the State government and the party should do the needful by ensuring that the political battle in the Constituency doesn’t affect the chances of the party in the forth coming by-elections as the opposition party is working round the clock to ensure that they won the election as they have since engaged in vigorous campaigns across the length and breadth of the Constituency saying that the PDP is fully on ground in Pengena Constituency as witnessed during the last general elections.

They say if the party doesn’t put its acts together, the chances of them winning the by-election is slim and also they said with the wife of the late lawmaker still alive and have been working with him throughout his lifetime and also recently commissioned the Constituency Projects of her late husband.

The best thing for the unity and interest of the party is to allow the widow of the lawmaker to carry on with the remaining tenure of the husband as witnessed in some States like Cross River, Taraba and also on the Plateau during the tenure of the former governor Jonah Jang where late lawmaker representing Barkin Ladi, late Gyang Fulani died and was replaced by his widow. So such scenario should play and this will bring about unity and progress of the party in Pengana Constituency.

However, it is yet clear what will happen as the days approach towards the conduct of the primaries and eventual elections slated for August as presented by the electoral umpire.

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