Aspirant Withdraws, Others Threaten Defection as Crisis Hits Plateau APC

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Seriki Adinoyi

A frontline gubernatorial aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Plateau State, Professor Dakas Clement Dakas, has withdrawn from the forthcoming gubernatorial primary elections of the party in the state.

This is as other 17 other gubernatorial aspirants of the party in the state had equally threatened to dump the party, accusing Governor Simon Lalong and the party EXCO of trying to impose a candidate on the party.

But the party EXCO, has denied the allegations of imposing a candidate as unfounded, reassuring that level playing ground would be provided for all aspirants.

Dakas, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), in a statement said, he had to make an excruciating, but strategic decision to withdraw from the race for the governorship of the state on the platform of the APC and reflect on the happenings in the party.

“Against the backdrop of the media frenzy and trending news that I would be purchasing the APC Expression of Interest Form and Nomination Form, today, this is obviously a stunning turn of events. Indeed, I travelled to Abuja to purchase the requisite forms today.

“Additionally, many individuals and groups offered to purchase the forms for me. However, after series of consultations with several critical stakeholders in the Plateau Project, I decided to sacrifice my aspiration in furtherance of our collective resolve to ensure that the leadership recruitment process produces an outcome that is in the overarching interest of our dear state.

“This is consistent with the fact that in my political odyssey, especially, in the context of the governorship race, I have always been of the firm conviction that I am only a channel through which the interest of the good people of Plateau State would be articulated, aggregated, promoted and defended.”

Also addressing the press and pouring out grief, 17 other aspirants accused Lalong of imposing Dr. Nentawe Yilwada, as the gubernatorial candidate of the party.

Yilwada was a Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Benue State, but was allegedly asked by the Governor to resign his position to contest the governorship position with an assurance that he would be backed to win the election. 

The aspirants, however, threatened that if a level playing ground was not provided for all aspirants in the primary election, they would defect to other parties.

Chairman and convener of Forum of APC Governorship Aspirants in the state, Chief Amos Gizo, alleged that Lalong, in connivance with party hierarchy was working to foist Yilwada on the party and warned that any attempt to foist a candidate on the party and the people of the state would be vehemently resisted.

“What initially sounded like rumor has now been evidenced by the body language of the governor, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, with members of the first family (wife and brothers), his father in-law, Mr. Cyril Tsenyil (the Accountant General of the state), Mr. Festus Fuanter, the deputy national secretary of APC, and Rt. Hon. Yusuf Adamu Gagdi to subjugate the collective will of the members of APC by imposing a candidate on members of the party in the person of Dr. Nentawe Yilwada which is unacceptable to all of us.”

But the Publicity Secretary of the APC in the state, Mr. Sylvanus Namang, has denied the allegation, saying the party in the state still maintained its position and assurance of a level playing field for all the aspirants, adding that the APC in the state strongly believed in the ideals of democracy which hinges on fairness, justice and fair play.