A splinter group with reactionary character emerges within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Plateau State making curious claims to the leadership of the party, a development which analysts say, by timing and gusto, smacks of ‘the hands of Esau and the voice of Jacob. CHAMBERLAIN ODEY, reports on the build up, thrills and twists to what is apparently a sheer conjecture towards the ultimate stake in 2019
From a whimper, it became a whisper, before it burst into the open as full onslaught by an incendiary and cynical group grieving from the outcome of the Peoples Democratic Party Congresses of 2016 that produced the present executives in the state, with Hon Damishi Sango as Chairman.
Party Congress And Positions
The said congresses preceded the doomed national convention of the party in Port Harcourt that catalysed and orchestrated festering leadership crisis, and cast a cog in the party’s wheel to recovery after a cataclysmic and devastating loss in the 2015 general elections. The two arrow heads of the snowballing ‘opposition’ in the
Plateau State chapter of the PDP, Gyang Badung and Emmanuel Macham, who awarded themselves the positions of Chairman and publicity secretary respectively of the revolutionary council of their faction, actually participated and contested for different offices in the State Working Committee during the said congresses but were rejected by the collegiate as they were voted out overwhelmingly.
Without stating whether there were petitions against the congresses and whether the National Working Committee (NWC), and or the National Executive Committee (NEC), worked on such petitions and reviewed the conduct of the said congresses, Badung and his collaborators contend that “the congresses that produced the Sango-led state executive were marred by irregularities and too flawed to be accepted, and were to that extent set aside and the Sango executive dissolved”.
The Drummers Behind
The reactionary group contends further that, following the dissolution of the Sango executive by the embattled Ali Modu Sheriff, nominations were invited to constitute a care taker committee to take charge of affairs to avoid a vacuum in the state leadership of the party. On this note, Badung claims further, since the party had earlier zoned the position of chairman to Ryom Local Government Area from where he, as Sango, hails, his name was forwarded to the national secretariat of the party, alongside others. The names, he said, were all approved and they were subsequently inaugurated with him as chairman.
However, those familiar with political party structure and its administrative organogram dismiss Badung’s claim as bunkum and balderdash of a fiction capable only of a desperate impostor. They cite, for example, the inability of the Sheriff faction to convene a National Executive Committee meeting where such a matter could be considered due to lack of quorum. It was gathered that in the aftermath of the Port Harcourt debacle, the party leadership was badly and precipitately split into ineffective blocs, which left the Sheriff platoon with only himself and two other members of the executive, namely National Secretary and Treasurer. This leaves Badung with a thesis question: how and when was his Caretaker Committee constituted and inaugurated?
But Badung has not ceased to stoke the fires and stir the embers of provocation. In the latest offensive, he has moved beyond the grapevine and radio house grandstanding to what appears as a final detour – a seeming declaration of hostilities and war that must be won at all cost. For instance, shortly after the Easter celebration, Badung hosted a crowd of rural politicians “from the 17 Local Government Areas” after allegedly receiving a mobilisation of two million naira from his sponsors. During the occasion which held at the dilapidated and nauseating environment of the old-fashioned Plateau Hotels, Jos, Badung towered and showered, much to the cheers of his familiar and choreographic gallery.
Ownership of Secretariat
“We are on course. We have to build a new PDP in which popular will and wishes of the majority will be the culture rather than impunity and imposition”, he told the crowd that sat awe-stricken like a captive audience. Badung also assured his fellow party revolutionaries that the executive led by him has already alerted the Police command in the state that Sango and co should vacate the PDP secretariat along Yakubu Gowon Way, Jos, and to stop parading himself as the state PDP chairman to avoid confusion and a possible collapse of law and order.
He claimed further that he has also written to Sango himself to pack up in honour, and go home in peace as the care taker executive wants to move in and take effective occupation of the secretariat. Badung also said he is armed with the necessary correspondences from the national secretariat of the party, and recognition by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He however did not show proofs.
The Court Hammer
After successfully guiding the crowd to move a motion and make a declaration supporting the contested leadership of Ali Modu Sheriff, Badung was beaten to it: an irony walked into the premises, tall, unambiguous, confident, and unmistakeable, with a no less lucid but stern and terse message. Damishi Sango and his executive colleagues effectively ambushed and closed in on Badung, and here was a Court bailiff with a court summons that put and humbled Badung and his ‘publicity secretary’, Emmanuel Macham, in the dock, two days later, Thursday, April 20, to answer charges bordering on criminality.
Badung and Macham were arraigned in court following direct criminal complaint brought pursuant to sections 143(F) of the civil procedure code and sections 97, 132, and 399 of the Penal code of Law of Northern Nigeria, and slammed with a four-count charge of conspiracy, impersonation, criminal intimidation, and intentional provocation.
They however pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Secured later on bail, the case is however continuing just as analysts and watchers of the turn of political events in Plateau are of the view that Badung and co are ponds on the political chessboard of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), in the state.
According to this view, the ruling Party in the state is frightened and worried by the ability of the PDP in the State to get its acts together immediately after the last general elections, and revive itself at the grassroots and looking good for a state-wide resurgence. Further espousing this view, they cite delay in conducting local councils’ polls, and a discernible plot by Lalong and his APC to destabilize the PDP and render it vulnerable to enable the APC have a work over and easy victory in the local polls, and be fully in charge at the grassroots and be sure of total control of security and allied paraphernalia during the general elections in 2019. Accordingly, Lalong was alleged to have mobilized Badung with the two million naira he used for the test flight of Easter Tuesday, and also alleged to have waded in before Badung and Machang could meet up the tall bail conditions and escaped being remanded in prison custody.
National Legislators Game
Badung’s ‘insurgency’ in the PDP is also linked with the ambition of some National Assembly members from the state who want to seek fortunes in the APC to continue their personal political projects beyond 2019. For this, group, Badung is a warrior and worthy purveyor, because they want to make the issue that there is a ‘crisis’ in the PDP to justify the road from Golgotha. This group is also said to be funding the Badung mission in the state PDP. Contacts explored by Forefront at news time actually indicated that Gyang Badung is a local Plateau phenomenon unknown to Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
With the case instituted against Badung and co-travelers still subsisting in Court, the build up to 2019 in Plateau State gets more interesting and intriguing, especially as the issuance of certificate of registration to the Action Democratic Party (ADP), is a potentially huge game changer in the permutations, calculations, equations, and factorisation into the algebra that will eventually shape the outcome of 2019 in the state.