Prof. Sonni Tyoden, Deputy Governor of Plateau State.
By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos – The Plateau State Deputy Governor, Professor Sonni Tyoden has denied his principal, Governor Simon Lalong has chosen one of the aspirants for the gubernatorial seat in 2023 saying he is the number two citizen and the Governor has not told him that he has endorsed anybody.
This is even as a gubernatorial aspirant in the State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Yohana Margif has dumped the Party barely two days after the APC had concluded the screening for gubernatorial aspirants across the country.
Professor Tyoden is seeking to succeed Governor Lalong on the platform of the APC but it has been rumoured that another aspirant, a former Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC of Benue State, Nentawe Yilwatda has been anointed by the Governor, the Governor’s wife, the Governor’s father in law and a few others.
This had forced the 18 other aspirants including the Deputy Governor and Chief Margif to threaten to dump the party if there is an imposition.
Tyoden spoke on Tuesday shortly after attending the 101st General Church Council of the Church of Christ in Nations in Jos, where he expressed optimism that a level playing field would be provided for all aspirants.
His words, “My Governor Simon Lalong has not endorsed any aspirant, if he has, he would have told me. I am the number two man in Plateau, I am the closest to Lalong because I am his Deputy. I am not aware of anything like that.”
On the allegations raised by several groups that Lalong has endorsed an aspirant, he added, “I believe what the groups were asking for is a level playing ground for all aspirants which is what democracy is all about. I call on the delegates to do the needful, not to be carried away by the material attachment, because the fate of the state hangs on them.”
Meanwhile, Chief Margif announced his decision to resign from the Party but did not state if he was joining any other political party or not.
His decision was conveyed in a letter that was presented to the APC Ward Chairman of Margif/Kopmur Ward in Mushere, Bokkos Local Government Area of the State, and copied to the APC Local Government and State Executives.
In the letter dated May 17, 2022, he stated the collapse of internal democracy in the Plateau State APC, impunity, and imposition of unpopular candidates as part of his reasons for leaving the Party and added the money he paid to APC for the purchase of forms should be used as his “part of the donation to foster the growth of democracy on the Plateau, Nigeria, and Africa at large.”