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PLATEAU SOUTH BYE-ELECTION: INTRIGUES AND SCHEMING DOMINATES THE AIR

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By Azi Aware

The Plateau State Southern Senatorial is mad up of Quan’pan, Wase, Mikang, Shendam, Lantang North and Langtang South Local government Areas.

The Senate seat of the zone became vacant after the demise of Late Senator Ignatius Longjan. He spent eight months in office before he was snatched by cold hand of death.

The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), has since put all modalities on ground to conduct the bye-election and filled the vacant seat. This has led to so many intrigues and scheming among the politicians from the major political parties and aspirants that have shown interest to vie for the seat.

One the aspirants that has thrown his hat into the ring to contest the election is the current Executive Chairman of Quan’Pan LGC, Hon. Isaac Kwallu. His letter of intent addressed to the Chairman and Executive Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Plateau state chapter, Titled: “Expression of interest to contest for the Senate seat for the Plateau South Senatorial District, Dated:15th May,2020.
The letter read:
The Electoral system as provided for by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Amended,provides for a replacement of an Elected official when such a seat becomes vacant.
Hon. Kwallu with his divine mandate slogan is being described by many as the man the cap fits, his inspiration is being hinged on the masses of Quan’Pan LGA, Farmers, Youths and women groups are solidly behind his aspiration. For his dream to turn into fruition,the Chairman need to expand his tentacles beyond the shores of the locality, as the Executive Chairman, his influence and relationship with his colleagues can also be a factor that will play a very significant role.”

The major impediment and hurdle he need to scale is the major contenders and political big wigs from his locality that always viewed him as an over ambitious and in grate.

The current Chairman of the Plateau state Board of internal Revenue Service, Mr. Dashe Arlet who was recently on the news on his remarkable achievement toward boosting the state’s IGR is also a contender. Arlet pulled over seven billion naira for the state on the first quarter, the feat which has earned him accolades and encomiums in the state. As a technocrat and Administrator, he can consolidate on his achievements if given the opportunity to serve his people.

His major obstacle is the fact that he has not been into secular politics to muscle the storm and clinch the seat.

The only woman in the race and a Professor of French, Dame Nora Ladi Daduut. Daduut is the current Head of Department of French, University of Jos.
Her sudden appearance and intention to contest the seat is brewing uneasy calm among the APC Members in the state, she is being nicknamed as Government candidate. Political pundits are of the opinion that, she is being backed by those in corridors of power within and outside the state. Her aspiration will equally receive a tremendous boost and support from women particularly, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen. Her emergence will break the jinx of men dominated Senate from the state. She will be the first female senator from the state – the position that is hardly contested by women.

Governor Simon Lalong was equally fingered to be the one sponsoring the current Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Hon. Victor Lapang util recently when the Commissioner cleared the air that, he is not contesting.

The Former Chairman of Quan’Pan LGC,Hon. Nicholas Dakkas Shan, who is now the North Central Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is said to be warming up for the seat,his intention to contest may not be unconnected with the rumours filtering the air that, both APC and PDP may consider Quan’Pan to complete the tenure.

Another Aspirant is Prof. Danjuma Decent Dognant Sheni. He was brought by Jonah David Jang,former Governor of Plateau state as Vice Chancellor of the Plateau state University.

With the rumoured build of sympathy for Quan’Pan local government to complete the tenure, the emergence of Sheni comes as a surprise to many. Further to this, Prof. Sheni has not been known to be active in secular politics and is generally seen by many of not having a significant political structure to win a senatorial election. To further compound his weakness and defects, he comes from a local government that is predominantly PDP, an opposition party in the state, the former occupants of the office, Senate Victor Mainasara Lar, Senator Jeremiah Useini, PDP Governorship Candidate at the 2019 election, the Pioneer Chairman of PDP, late Solomon Lar, the only local government that is controlled by PDP in the state, all the two houses of Assembly members of Lantang North -North and Lantang Central are both from the PDP.

Further more,Prof. Sheni who’s tenure at the Plateau State University was characterized and marred with controversies. He will find it very difficult to sway the election in his favour.

Although, he came fourth in the interview and was not recommended by the Governing Council for the Vice Chancellor, the then Governor Jonah Jang appointed him as the Vice Chancellor, but later sacked him in a controversial circumstances. This has deprived him of any notable achievement as the Vice Chancellor, but being the only notable from Lantang axis, he may enjoy the support of his Langtang kinsmen.

Another aspirant outside Quan’Pan LGA that is eyeing the seat is the former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. George Daika. Daika who hails from Mikang LGA,another disadvantaged local government from the Zone that has never enjoyed the senate seat, unlike Sheni who has never being into secular politics, was as in the House of Representatives and represented the people of Shendam, Mikang and Quan’Pan federal constituency. He was also a gubernatorial aspirant at the 2019 general election. His legislative background is another impetus to his aspirations.

Both Daika and Sheni are not from Quan’Pan LGA, if the permutations, micro zoning and sympathy will be accorded to Quan’Pan,then, these factors may work against the duo.

Another contender for the seat is the one being referred to as high chief by his supporters, Hon. John Dafan. He is the immediate past Chief of Staff to Governor Simon Bako Lalong.

Dafan did not make it in the Governor’s kitchen cabinet. He then pitched his tent with the Abuja politicians most of them are the members of the National Assembly, Rt.Hon. Idris Maje Wase the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives is being fingered to be the god father of Hon. Dafan. Though, he may seem to have wider acceptability from his LGA, and other parts of the state, but the strong brick that will be hard for him to breakthrough is the camp of Governor Simon Bako Lalong.

With these calibre of people, the election will definitely be keenly contested, as observers and political pundits in the state are watching with keen interest as it will unfold. Time shall tell.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article is that of the writer and it does not in anyway represents the opinion of the publisher.

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