Forum warns Plateau governor, APC against imposition
The Equity and Justice Forum in Plateau State have warned Governor Simon Lalong against the imposition of candidates in the coming All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election.
It also cautioned the APC in the state to tread carefully, as the injustice that made the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lose the 2015 general election was hovering in the atmosphere.
During a press conference at the weekend, Chairman of the Forum, Omar Shittien, recalled that in 2014, the Forum had cautioned the governor to halt the plan of imposing a governorship aspirant during the primaries. But the warning fell on deaf ears, leading to the mass protest vote against the governor’s candidate, which gave APC’s candidate the upper hand on the general ballot.
The Forum at the time, according to Shittien, sensitised Plateau men and women across party lines and teeming voters not to vote for PDP’s imposed candidate, which he said gave rise to the ‘Plateau Project’ mantra, as they headed to the call.
Co-Chairman and former Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Chief Samuila Makama, was at the briefing.
“Unfortunately, it is now evident that the present administration and beneficiary of the Plateau Project appears not to appreciate the efforts of the Plateau people in combating injustice and undemocratic processes. Instead, we see anti-people policy and undemocratic processes playing out within the party.
“It will amount to total hypocrisy, bias and injustice to Plateau if the Equity and Justice Forum keep mute and watch nonchalantly a repeat of the vice and undemocratic process it fought against in 2014 and 2015.
“If we give our consent to this act about to be perpetrated within the APC in the state, we have become partakers of it, and this contradicts our firm belief in the growth of democracy and dispensation of justice to all,” the chairman added.
Quoting the late Nnamdi Azikiwe and Kofi Annan, two African greats, he said elections must be free and fair; otherwise, it is illegitimate.
According to Shittien, what started as a rumour that there was an anointed candidate in the APC that must win the primary election at all costs is gradually becoming an unacceptable reality.
Shittien stressed: “We acknowledge that any member of the party has the constitutional right to support any aspirant of his or her choice within the APC. What is worrisome is the crooked process being used to ensure that a particular candidate clinches the APC gubernatorial ticket at all costs against popular wish, even among party men and women.
” Should the governor insist on imposing a candidate on the people, we will do what we did in 2014 and 2015 by rallying the electorate against the government’s choice. We will tell people to rise against the governor’s choice.”