By Yakubu Dati

One of the oft repeated canards in the current journey towards electing leaders in Plateau State is the worn out phrase that ‘Plateau is PDP state.’

The cliché, obviously a product of shallow thinking is not only delusional but illogical and can be defenestrated on three major planks. 1) Is the fact that it does not  address current realities but chose to dwell in the past, 2) is the fact that it is blind to the vital elements that account for the success of a party in a given society; and 3) is the fact that it negates the dynamism of human societies.

The fact is, the people of Plateau cannot use their God given right to make a choice, then a misguided few would try to define their choice, based on selfish interest, as an aberration. No.  Plateau people did not make a mistake when they several times, chose the APC over the PDP.

This point has been emphasized in the number of people that have defected to the APC with more still joining since the party began to provide quality leadership for the state since 2015.

It is this reality that some are trying to deny by covering it with a cloak just to assuage the reality of their abandonment by the teaming  people of the state.

Given the context of the current political realities in Plateau State, one can say without fear of contradiction that Plateau is an APC State!

A state that has the governor, top government officials, almost all the top politicians  and all the chairmen of local governments from the APC cannot be denied its fair designation as an APC state no matter who feels offended by that fact.

Going back to the three points I mentioned earlier, the proof that the PDP is living in the past is evident in the kind of analogue, reactionary and weather-beaten personalities it is presenting to the people of Plateau to elect as leaders at a time when ideas, adaptation to modern trends and dynamism rules the world.

It is probably this encumbrance that has entrapped the PDP to a microscopic worldview that borrows heavily from the past with little or no regard for present realities.

Secondly, the PDP members have forgotten that those who made it possible for the party to win elections in the past have long left its fold leaving the party with political gamblers, tribal bigots  & spent forces who cannot deliver beyond their cubicles.

It is a shame that the kind of persons our late father, Chief Solomon Lar due to his politics of emancipation and accommodation had attracted to the party had all been sent packing due to the high-handedness, lack of internal democracy and chauvinism of a few selfish individuals leading the PDP.

The leading lights of the party have all left, leaving behind a carcass without  soul.

Even those now carrying themselves as leaders of the party on the Plateau, have at one time or the other had cause to leave its fold with some even swearing never to have anything to do with it again but only came back due to selfishness and greed.

For instance, the current state chairman of the party, Damishi Sango had at one time left the party for the Labour Party and later to the ANPP; the same thing with some  other leaders of the party. The party’s governorship flag bearer, Jerry Useni never even believed in the party and had so many times described it in unpalatable terms. He was even the national chairman of another political party and is only a recent convert since he has been deceived that he can use the PDP platform to realise his political ambition.

And thirdly, no society is static. Occurrences both internal and external can influence certain changes in the world view of communities and states. Yes, the people of Plateau voted for the PDP in the past but the same people have now realised that they had placed their hopes in the wrong boat and have since moved to the APC.

The point must be made that the PDP cannot be thinking of coming back to power when it has hardly shown remorse for its past misdeeds.

Many historical references abound to remind the PDP in Plateau that it cannot continue to rely on past records to beat its chest that it is the party of choice in Plateau as no party has been riddled with scuffle, strife and infighting and tendencies that promote injustice and favoritism while negating the fine principles of internal democracy like the PDP.

In 2007, the state chapter of the party was engulfed in deep crisis due to attempts to impose candidates which caused the schism leading to the exodus of quality leaders from the party.

People forget that a governorship aspirant had to kneel down on the bare floor of the Rwang Pam Stadium crying and praying before he was handed over the party’s governorship ticket in defiance of the party’s rules which states that a rerun must be conducted in case none of the aspirants scores up to 50 percent of the votes cast at the first ballot.

People thought that the party had learnt its lessons only for it be torn by a worse crisis in the build up to the 2011 elections when the party was split into two, PDP 1 and PDP 2.
The worst came when a sitting deputy governor defied her principal to contest in the governorship election.

 It was a clear indication of the injustice, despotism and lack of respect for the tenets of democracy that led to that.

As if  the people have not had enough of that, a worse scenario happened in 2015 when against all logic and rules of fair play and equity, one man tried to lead the party by the nose and became deaf to reasoning, insisting that he must have his way on the party’s candidate making the party in the process to lose its state chairman, deputy governor and other prominent and the few respected members of the party that were left.

This is 2019 and the party seemed not to have learnt any lessons and is ready to disgrace itself again by carrying on  like before.

 It has forgotten that unlike the PDP, the progressive elements in the APC have maintained decorum and respect for one another and have ensured internal democracy and rule of law in the belief that it cannot offer the people what it does not have.

The APC has shown that it is the party of the people and one that listens to their yearnings and is willing to serve their interests.

The people have since realized this and have reciprocated the gesture by voting massively for it in the last local government elections.

Plateau is excited about seeing the party continue in power due to how it has mitigated conflicts and ensured peace within a short period of time, attracted development and notable projects to the state and the promise to do more.

The people are aware that Governor Simon Lalong has delivered on the five point policy thrust of his administration and has touched the lives of many, cutting across social boundaries.
Thousands of youths have been trained and given tools to be self reliant. More than 1151  persons living with disabilities have been given equipments and other aids to assist them. The Governor has passion for assisting the physically challenged, and that informs why even when he was Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, he passed into law the creation of the Disability Rights Commission and on coming to office, set up a commission with a DG to run it.
Governor Lalong in his humility has been able to bring the state together through initiatives and commitment to peace.
Employment in the civil service that was banned for almost 6 to 7 years has been lifted and the governor has made the process of recruitment very transparent as everybody is given the opportunity to be able to aspire and apply to get the jobs and things are being done in a very transparent manner.

Again, more than 22 roads projects are ongoing. Work on the roads stopped sometime back because of the rainy season, but the contractors have since resumed. Work has resumed in all the local governments. The Lalong Legacy projects are ongoing in all the local government headquarters; buildings are springing up for primary schools and health care centers across the state because the governor believes the issue of health and education is paramount to every society and that is why those projects are coming up at a very fast pace.

Colleges are being designated to include more of technological skills in our schools.

 More than 5000 rice farmers have been empowered with farming implements, generators and seedlings. The school feeding program is ongoing, the safety net programs are also there, and people are benefiting directly at the grassroots levels.

The people are tired of elements that have brought them scuffles and fights in the past. They don’t want to go back to despotic rule; they want a humble leader whose doors are open to all irrespective of tribe or faith. That is why the PDP will lose Plateau state in the forthcoming elections.

This is because the choices before them are clear- PDP represents their dark past while APC offers them renewed hope, sense of belonging & the enabling environment to excel.