By: Valentine Adese (JP),
There is high level of anger already raging against, Sen. Jeremiah Useni and Hon. Bitrus Kaze, among members of the Plateau State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), over their recent display of alleged ignorance in their Press Statements currently in the public domain and concerning the Wards and Local Government Congresses that took place in Plateau State, before the total shutdown of the state by Governor Simon Bako Lalong because of the need to control the spread of Covid-19 disease in the state.
You would recall that, the PDP had conducted its Ward Congresses and before conducting its Local Government Congresses, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) administration in the state, imposed a partial lock down, which allowed only 50 people to congregate at one time.
These congresses, as may be recalled, came after, Hon. Damishi Sango, had resigned from office, as the State Chairman of the party, while his Deputy, Hon. Amos Gombi, was deposed as the Acting Chairman and in his place, a Substantive Chairman, Hon. Gwott Yakubu Chocho, emerged from the Northern zone to replace Hon. D. T. Sango.
Facts observed and before this Newspaper, during and after the Ward Congresses conducted by the National Headquarters’ Congress Committee led by, Prof. Maxwell Gidado, were that, the Local Government Congresses did not hold on the Saturday it was actually scheduled to hold, which was owing to the pulling out of the exercise by the Plateau State Police Command, according to the Chairman of the Congress Committee, Prof. Gidado.
The Local Government Congresses held the next week Monday based on the directives of the National headquarters and leaders emerged.
You would recall that, REALITY had reported that, while the Local Government Congresses were temporarily suspended by Prof. Gidado, owing to an alleged phone conversation, with the Plateau State Commissioner of Police, some members were also heading to Courts to seek an injunction to stop the exercise from holding, which is alleged to be contrary to the position and directives of the PDP headquarters.
One major directive of the Headquarters to members of the Plateau state chapter, with respect to the State Congress of the party was that, those who have spent two terms already in a particular office cannot contest for that same office.
From the list of contestants made public by the chapter before the botched state congress, none of the contestants seem to be a third timer, before the directive of the Plateau State Governor, for a total shutdown of the state, owing to Covid-19 control commenced.
To put the record straight, members who took time to call on the attention of REAITY to the new developments in the party, owing to the press releases of Hon. Kaze and Sen. Useni, have advised the duo to go back and restudy the party’s Constitution.
These members, who requested that their names be kept secret for now, posited that it is laughable, “That a leadership position that is not recognized by the party’s Constitution is what Sen. Useni is taking to heart and promoting very seriously above the National officers and those of the state. We therefore wonder, if the party’s Constitution has been re-amended to suit him sometimes.
“A further look at his press statement would make any member of the party to believe that, even though he is a leader, he is currently speaking for a/his faction and not for the interest of the chapter.
“And, if he claims to be speaking for the chapter, then it means somebody somewhere is misleading him.
“But for his few supporters, every other member of the chapter and the people of Plateau State knew that Congresses took place in the state at the Wards and Local Government Levels.
“If not, what gave rise to the issue of complaints of manipulation of results or results being changed or omitted, as their press statements seem to suggest?
“We all know that, the move of Hon. Kaze and that of Sen Useni are intertwined to stop the administration of Gwott Yakubu Chocho from completing his assignment, of conducting congresses and to give the party (chapter) back to its original owners, THE PEOPLE.”
“If Useni claims there are complaints before the National office concerning the Congresses conducted, why is he not waiting to see the response of the National office to the matter.
“More so, as a leader of the chapter, is he empowered to oppose the State Chairman, as he just did with his press statement?
“In addition, as a leader, is he a member of the SWC? He should know at this moment that, the comments in his press statement are not only worrisome, but inciting against the State and National leaderships, despite been ridicules.
“For Hon. Kaze, we only want to remind him that, he is a contestant and must learn to remain so, rather than trying to replace his defeatist position with a conspiracy theory that is already fatal abinitio.”
READ THE FULL TEXTS OF SEN. USENI AND HON. KAZE, AS REPRODUCED BELOW (Unedited):-
PLATEAU PDP WARD CONGRESSES AND PURPORTED SWEARING IN OF NEW WARD EXCOS
The Plateau PDP Gubernatorial Candidate in the 2019 election and current leader of the Peoples Democratic Party in Plateau State, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Sen Jeremiah Timbut Useni has come across a message reportedly issued by the Secretary of the party to all LGA Chairmen of the PDP.
In it, he notifies them, “To inform all the newly elected Ward EXCOs in your LGA to be on standby for possible swearing in ceremonies on Thursday 30/04/05” (sic), and undertakes to communicate details of the plan “in due course.”
Senator Useni therefore wishes to make the following statements on this matter:
“I am not aware of such “swearing in” as is being contemplated. It has neither been officially brought to my notice as a critical stakeholder in PDP, and indeed Leader of the party in Plateau State, nor has it been discussed and agreed upon as the collective decision of the faithful, sacrificial and hardworking PDP stakeholders in the state.
“This is because, the Ward Congress itself, and other congresses scheduled by the party had resulted in unresolved issues from across the State by party members.
“I am rather fully aware that such contentions have been documented and presented to the national secretariat of our great party for proper resolution by our leaders.
“I state unequivocally that there has been no official report by the Congress Committee or the Congress Appeal Committee on the congress itself.
“The question therefore is: who then are those who have been lined up for “swearing in” at the behest of the State Secretary?
“Even on the LG Congress, it was clear that the Plateau State Government had already announced a lockdown on the state to curtain the spread of the Coronavirus among our good people of Plateau. Their health should have been of greater concern to us as a responsible party than our craving for political offices.
“My dear and precious PDP leaders, Elders, stakeholders, members and supporters, the current action being contemplated will not bring the desired inclusiveness, reconciliation and unity of purpose sorely needed to prepare us for the next crucial battle ahead. We need each other. We must not insist on accelerating on a path that will lead us to more bumps and tempests.
“I call on you all to discountenance the notice by the office of the Secretary, and await further developments on concrete steps to ensure togetherness in the party by our national officials.”
“I further appeal to members and supporters of the PDP not to give room for the destabilization of the very good achievements of the recent past, but to rather stay focused on rebuilding our relationships and channeling our resources toward bouncing back in 2023.”
Sen. Useni called on the people of Plateau to remain strong and courageous in the face of the challenges posed by COVID-19.
“It is a passing phase. Plateau people are alert, resilient and tough enough to overcome this challenge. We must come out of it stronger, healthier, and wiser.”
Media Consultant to
Lt. Gen (Rtd) Sen. Jeremiah Timbut Useni, DSS, Fwc, mni, CFR
April 29, 2020
LOCK DOWN INAUGURATIONS VIA SMS, AHEAD OF TENURE EXTENSION?
Events leading to the resignation of Hon DT Sango polarized PDP into two factions, each of which were led by a State Working Committee (SWC) member. To unite both warring sides, Wadata Plaza Abuja in its wisdom blocked the Plateau North nominee from benefitting from a crisis he had championed, hence the emergence of the Hon Y.G. Choco on 22nd February 2020. Rather unfortunately, the new leadership has furthered factional tendencies and reneged on its pledge to conduct credible and transparent congresses.
Nominations forms meant for the State were purchased in bulk and shared selectively, the SWC usurped the function of the LG Working Committees and constituted both the Ward and LG Congress Committees. Less than 24hours after the Prof Maxwell Gidado-led State Congress Committee announced postponement at an all-inclusive SEC/Stakeholders meeting on 21st March 2020, Congresses in the State were rescheduled without recourse to SEC. Results of congresses that were never held emerged hence the flurry of petitions and litigations, in the midst of all these the screening for State Congress commenced in a hotel oblivious to many aspirants.
It is an open secret that some SWC members, who are re-contesting are desperately working to continue as the State Caretaker Committee even after their four-year tenure office expires on 10th May 2020. They cannot become judges in their own court. Tenure elongation is foreign to the PDP Constitution (as Amended 2017), the Electoral Act (2015) and the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). Extension of tenure tantamount to administering drugs, it is not tenable because it requires the amendment of the PDP constitution at a national convention and after a two months notice. Even if that is done, laws are not made in retrospect.
The story is rife that the Hon Choco leadership wants to ensure that new EXCO including those whose results they manipulated are inaugurated even if via phone calls or SMS ostensibly to beat the lockdown. Nobody envisaged the COVID-19 lockdown, but we cannot repeat the fatal errors of 2015 and 2019, we must avoid the tragedy that befell the APC in Zamfara and Rivers States. A plethora of court judgments over this matter are succinct and clear, “The rule by might must be checked by the rule of law.” Anything done by the SWC beyond their tenure of office will not survive in the courts of law.
Kaze Media Team 2020