The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Patriotic Front Central Zone, Plateau State has saluted the choice of the State PDP Central Zone Chairman, Hon. Benedict Shignugul as running mate to Sen. Jeremiah Useni ahead of the 2019 gubernatorial polls in the State.

Hon. Shingnuhul, 50 is the right choice that would provide "the balance of vibrance, passion and energy that will compliment Senator Useni's experience and wisdom," Mr. Aaron Ladan, an official of the group said in a statement, Thursday.

The group had last week advocated the selection of "a highly qualified running mate" as Hon. Shignuhul.

Jeremiah Useni, PDP’s governorship candidate in Plateau, on Wednesday reportedly picked Shignugul, a retired Theatre Nurse, as his running mate.

A news report credited to the News Agency of Nigeria says Shignugul, who hails from Mangu, was picked after “careful considerations and deliberations within the party’’.

When contacted however, the Director General of the Jeremiah Useni campaign organization, Prof. Biti Mailafiya said no such selection had been made.

Prof. Mailafiya told MKB in a telephone interview that consultations were still being made to determine the right running mate for the ex Nigerian Minister.

While the Public Relations Officer of the PDP in the State was not picking calls when contacted, a Chieftain of the Party told MKB that there were controversies surrounding the choice of Mr. Shignugul.

According to him, the campaign DG and other stakeholders had fronted a top Staff of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Mr. James Dalork.

However, discussions within the party hierarchy have favoured Mr. Shignugul given his denominational background.

While Mr. Dalork is of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) background as the Gubernatorial candidate, JT Useni, Mr. Shignugul is Catholic who is considered best for the battle against the incumbent Governor, Simon Lalong who is equally a catholic.

Lalong who is seeking a second term on the ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has a deputy, Sonni Tyoden who is from COCIN.

This automatically implies that he still maintains substantial support from the over 4 million population Church which has dominated Plateau politics for decades.

Sen. Useni and Mr. Dalork both from COCIN standing against a seating governor whose deputy comes from COCIN therefore is feared to mean automatic ticket for Gov. Lalong.

Moreover, COCIN's influence on the political structure in the State since the 1980s civilian regime of Late Chief Solomon Lar has reportedly created salient grievances arising from feelings of marginalization among other denominations in the State.

Consequently, Mr. Shignugul's chances are higher than Mr. Dalork's even if the selection has not been officially made.