Disgruntled members of All Progressives Congress under the aegis of the Progressives Foundation Movement have warned the national leadership of the party not to submit the name of Governor Simon Lalong’s loyalist, Dr. Nentawe Yilwatda, as the party’s governorship candidate in Plateau State for 2023 election.
Yilwada was Resident Electoral Commissioner with the Independent National Electoral Commission in Benue State before he was allegedly asked by Lalong to resign his position to contest the governorship position with a promise to back him.
The move was said to have infuriated other aspirants, who threatened to defect to opposition parties if a level playing field was not given to all for equity and justice’s sake.
Rising from a meeting on Wednesday, the foundational members also accused Lalong of abandoning his job to pursue his ambition to become the running mate to the party’s presidential flagbearer, Bola Tinubu, an allegation that Plateau Commissioner for Information, Dan Mangjan, has debunked.
While calling on APC national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, to summon an all-important stakeholder meeting to address “the very critical issues and allegations” on Wednesday, the Progressives Foundation Movement warned that the party risks losing the elections over Lalong’s poor performance.
This was contained in a statement released on Wednesday in Abuja and signed on behalf of the party stakeholders by Mr. Jacob Gyang, Elder Victor Useni and Musa Ardo.
The statement read, “This is more so considering the poor performance score-card of the incumbent administration in the state. Any wonder the Governor has literally relocated to Lagos State where he has been lobbying for the VP slot to Tinubu. For we can bet that the Party would fail if it banks on the Lalong-led government to retain power in 2023 amidst mounting opposition.
“Resist and rescind every form of pressure from Governor Lalong to forward the name of Dr. Nentawe whose authentic membership of our great Party remains a doubt to INEC as the commission’s deadline draws near.
“Pick someone from among the aggrieved aspirants who is more acceptable and popular and whose membership we are sure of as a substitute for Nentawe who is seen within and beyond our State as a stooge of the Lalong administration.
“This is our position and that of all those we represent, numbering over 50, 000 members of our party across the three Senatorial zones of Plateau state.”
“For us as foundational elders and leaders of APC in our various rights, wisdom and positions, we cannot sit down and watch the Governor, Simon Lalong waste the labours we have put in to build and unify the party to retain power in 2023 by derailing and misleading the Party’s National leadership on the true state of affairs regarding the May 26, 2022 governorship primaries in the State.
“The memories of Rivers and Zamfara are still and ought to remain very fresh in the minds of sincere lovers of our Party- the APC and we do not want same to happen to us here in Plateau State,” the statement added.
Rising to the defence of Lalong on Wednesday, Plateau Commissioner for Information, Dan Mangjan, told our correspondent that the aggrieved party chieftains were just attempting to paint the governor in a bad light.
“There was no iota of truth in that allegation. Lalong did not impose Yilwatda on anybody. Everybody is aware there was a primary that produced him as the winner of the party’s governorship candidate,” he said.
Mangjan also denied the speculation about Lalong relocating to Lagos in a desperate bid to become Tinubu’s running mate.
“We wish to remind those behind this hatchet job to calm all the way down over Governor Lalong’s name being considered for running mate to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, APC Presidential Candidate. It is not a coincidence or matter of lobby that his name keeps resonating. He fits the post and is ably qualified in his own right.
“Lalong has never campaigned for the said position and is not desperate for any elevation in life. He was not born with any position and will never tarnish anyone’s image to get one. Even if he does not occupy any office again, he is a fulfilled man. His political pedigree is towering above many who are loosing sleep over him because God has blessed him enormously.
“If God says he will be the next Vice President Nigeria, nobody can stop it. It is up to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the APC family to decide. Lalong together with his colleagues have done their part in insisting that power goes to the South,” he said.