Governor Simon Lalong, Governor of Plateau State.
By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos – Some aggrieved Plateau State All Progressives Congress, APC governorship aspirants have accused the State Governor, Simon Lalong, and his immediate family members of hijacking the process which brought Dr. Nentawe Yilwatda as party’s flag bearer for the 2023 election.
They alleged the intimidation of Party officials, Local Government Chairmen, and Commissioners whom they say were directed to ensure the emergence of Yilwatda or risk losing their positions.
The aspirants in a statement issued on Saturday in Jos insisted what happened in Zamfara and Rivers States would have a repeat in the State because due process was not followed during the exercise.
According to the statement signed by the Secretary of Forum of Plateau APC Governorship Aspirants, Dr. Danyaro Sarpiya, the attention of the National Chairman of the Party has been drawn to the development even as they have written to the appeal committee “for a redress of this fraud.”
It reads, “We have been forced to update you on the recent happenings in the State Chapter of our great Party, the APC… On the 9th of May, we raised fundamental issues that are capable of derailing the fortune of APC in the State if not addressed. The issues raised bordered on lack of sincerity, hijack of the selection process of the candidate by the Governor and his family members, and no level playing ground for all aspirants.
“These warnings manifested when party officials, local government Chairmen, and Commissioners were directed to work and return Dr. Nentawe Yilwatda or risk losing their positions… Governor Lalong and the Party had been warned to avoid the repeat of Zamfara and Rivers primaries in 2019…
“We wrote to the National Chairman on the 25th May 2022 complaining of no delegates election in any ward in the State and we have delegates forms paid and supplied by the Party, up till this time, there is no information about the delegates’ election. We were informed that the expired Party congress delegates will be adopted for the governorship primaries which we objected to because that was contrary to the provisions of the electoral act and the Party’s guidelines.
“Even the expired Adhoc delegates continued to have alterations at the venue of the primary and the final list was not made known to aspirants to even campaign for votes. Only to have arranged people queuing for election as delegates. Even those from our local were not known to us. The venue was overtaken by government officials to save their appointments…”
The aggrieved aspirants maintained that “Contrary to Article 3(j) of the guidelines, the purported winner who until his recent resignation from the INEC, is a member of the party for only four months and some days now making him ineligible to contest the gubernatorial primaries.”
They sought among other things, “A declaration that the gubernatorial primaries held on the 26th of May, 2022 is null and void and liable to be set aside and an order for a review of congresses from the Ward level upward for the proper election of delegates to participate in another primary to produce a credible candidate.”