From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The crisis rocking the Plateau State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) took a disturbing turn after the recent publication by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of the names of party candidates for the 2023 general election.
A group comprising foundation members of the party under the auspices of the Progressives Foundation Movement (PFM) expressed reservations over the publication of Nentawe Yilwatda Goshwe as the 2023 party’s governorship candidate for Plateau State.
The group reiterated its earlier warning that the ruling party may not have a valid candidate on the ballot at the general election if the decision is not changed.
PFM, in a statement issued in Abuja and signed by Jacob Gyang, Elder Victor Useni and Musa Ardo, on behalf of the others, reminded the national leadership of the APC of an earlier petition.
The group further warned that they cannot guarantee supporting the party to victory in the forthcoming elections unless the right thing is done.
Insisting that the purported primaries that produced Nentawe Goshwe as governorship candidate was marred by alleged irregularities, it revealed that the participants have vowed to seek justice if the party fail to use the window period for substitution of candidates to right the wrongs.
“For the record, we are bonafide members of the APC who are duly registered as required and whose membership is in compliance with the APC guidelines and constitutions,” the statement read;
“We painstakingly entrenched the party in the state and further still indicated our respective interests to contest the governorship of Plateau State under the platform of the APC and in further compliance, took all the requisite steps including but not restricted to buying the party’s nomination forms.
“They believed that the processes leading to the party primaries were not only going to be all inclusive but was to be free, fair and credible such that its conclusion was to be easily acceptable and capable of galvanizing our collective efforts and unity of purpose towards ensuring the overall victory of the party in the state,” the group noted in the statement.
PFM insisted that non-compliance to the party’s guidelines and a litany of undemocratic practices in the primary foisted “an unpopular, unqualified aspirant in the person of Nentawe Goshwe on all of us.”
The group said that despite the expressly stated process that delegates were to emerge through a democratic process of being elected at the ward level and forms sold to the effect, “the case in Plateau state was completely different and in outright contravention of the APC Guidelines and Constitution and the Electoral Act 2022 (As Amended).
“An unknown list of delegates was concocted in Jos, kept in Jos and was used, whereas the state party Chairman had assured us of full compliance to the party’s guideline where the election of delegates was to be conducted in all the 207 Wards of the state on the scheduled date as indicated in the party guidelines. This can be verified by the INEC report on the party primaries in Plateau State.
“Given the last window of opportunity as prescribed by the Electoral Act (2022) as Amended. We once again reiterate and rest upon our earlier petitions on the invalidity of the candidacy of Nentawe Goshwe and state unequivocally that unless the party takes urgent and acceptable decisive steps to address these issues, and amicably resolved same, we cannot guarantee supporting the party to victory in the forthcoming elections for the following reasons:
“That Nentawe Goshwe was a staff of INEC until December 23, 2021, when he purportedly resigned his appointment but he had not resigned his appointment from the University of Agriculture, Makudi, from where he had gone to on secondment.
“Meanwhile records show that he had drawn salary to March 2022. He joined the APC on January 6, 2022, when party membership had been closed. All registers had been transmitted to INEC via State Party Offices. Not qualified to contest under APC platforms unless a waiver is sought and granted and available evidence does not support the facts that this has been complied with.
“NEC of APC ceded powers of granting the waiver and other statutory functions to NWC and it is not on record that either NEC or NWC has granted the said waiver to him or any aspirant. The moral burden to the APC and an embarrassment to INEC and all these facts are in the public domain.
“As leaders of the party in the state, despite knowing and having these facts at his fingertips, the governor chose to ignore, turn the black eye because of his self-serving interest to appease his In-laws and members of his immediate family,” the statement read.