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Plateau: Bot-Mang's ambition upsets the balance

Posted by By Mariam Aleshinloye Agboola, Jos on 2006/12/09 | Views: 594 |

Plateau: Bot-Mang's ambition upsets the balance


The picture of who might pick the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party in Plateau State was becoming clearer until the 28th of last month when the new governor of the state, Chief Michael Bot-Mang decided to pick the party's nomination form. Now, nothing but surprises lie in wait as the aspirants march out today.

The picture of who might pick the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party in Plateau State was becoming clearer until the 28th of last month when the new governor of the state, Chief Michael Bot-Mang decided to pick the party's nomination form. Now, nothing but surprises lie in wait as the aspirants march out today.

The 68 year old former deputy-governor, shortly after taking over following the impeachment of his boss, had vowed not to have anything to do with the election even when he was being urged on, by his kinsmen. He went to Abuja for a stakeholders meeting on Plateau State and the whole story changed, to the chagrin of political watchers, creating uncertainty in the political climate.

Governor Bot-Mang who a month ago did not contemplate becoming a governor and did not even have the resources to rob shoulder with those already in the contest, has suddenly, especially after the National Assembly primaries of the party, had his posters springing up in strategic places in the state. Commercials are going on in the local media for him to be voted by delegates.

Apart from the incumbency factor that could work for him, Bot-Mang is from the northern zone which had never had the opportunity to produce a governor, except himself who, as 'a child of circumstance', became one after the chief executive was impeached.
Apart from his age, political analysts doubt it much if his alleged ill health would not work against him because it is doubtful if delegates would prefer as governor a man who was always being sponsored abroad several times by his former boss for treatment. For his late coming into the race Saturday Sun equally gathered that camps have already been formed among the delegates and most of the aspirants have moved their delegates out of the state to places where they cannot be lured with government fund. It is learnt that they would be brought in friday evening for them to cast their vote on Saturday.
It is equally gathered that one of the aspirants that has vowed to match naira for naira has for the past six month placed delegates on salaries. it is uncertain if the new governorship aspirant would be able to penetrate such a camp.

Prior to the picking of form by Governor Bot-mang, the race was between seven other contestants in the PDP. Prominent among them was AIR COMMODORE JONAH JANG, former governor of old Gongola and Benue states. Points working in his favour includes the track record he set in places he had served which are still unbeatable till date.

Twice he had contested the governorship seat with Chief Dariye and twice did he believe he was rigged out. This is likely to work for him as he still has the sympathy of the people. The other point to work for him is also what has been mentioned for Bot-Mang; that is, his zone, Plateau North, has never produced a governor and there is the gentleman agreement in Plateau state that this time around, it should be the turn of the zone to occupy the government House which incidentally is situated in the zone. Other parties including the Action Alliane are respecting this agreement and have zoned the seat to it.

Equally, Air Commodore Jonah Jang has prominent sons of the area, including the Custom Controller General, Buba Gyang, are giving him the moral and financial backing required. His serving on the LNG board in Warri has equally given him some financial muscle to buttress his aspiration. His ethnic group the Berom is equally solidly behind him. The appearance of Bot-Mang would no doubt have placed a division in the group.
The other factor that might work against him is the claim by other ethnic groups, especially none indigenes in the state, that he is too tribalistic. He has denied this severally saying it is being used by his opponents to spoil his chances.

Another aspirant that cannot be wished away is ENGINEER JIMMY CHETO, a retired Director from the Federal Capital Development Authority; known for his pragmatism and prudent mamagement of resources. Once a general Manger of the state's Water Board, the Jarumin Langtang has a strong financial base to muster enough votes for victory. He has also built a strong campaign structure. The clog in his wheel of success is the fact that his zone, Plateau South had produced two civilian governors in the past. These are Chief Solomon Lar the first Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party and Sir Fidelis Tapgun, the present Minister of Industries. Moreover, many consider him to be very arrogant and are likely to use this against him at the primaries.

Another formidable aspirant is SENATOR COSMOS NIANGWAN, presently representing Plateau South in the National Assembly. Though he had only served the senate for a term, he had no intention on going back. With his 'pay back' philosophy, the senator had been able to convince his people that he is out to protect their interest and surely did in the National House. His role during Plateau crisis and during Dariye/Mantu saga cannot be easily forgoten; suffering a lot of humiliation from parties involved. A sailor by profession, both the rich and the poor, the young and old are at home with him But if all these will translate into votes is a different ball game. If zoning would be given any consideration, he is surely out. It is dobtful if he is cut for dirty politicking.

A former Justice Commissioner in the State, BARRISTER YUSUF PAM, is also a contender for the governorship race under the PDP. His strongest point is that he is regarded by many s the Aso Rock candidate because the President served his late father and the tie still remains till date. His mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Pam, served in the Oputa Panel. Sources said a promise the presidency had given the family is to make their son a govenor. How this would translate into votes from the delegates still remains to be seen. Yakubu Pam is also from the northern zone which is yet to produce a governor. His main disadvantage is that he is not cut for politicking. His appointment as a commissioner was mainly because of the romance between the presidency and Dariye and when the romance was over after the state of emergency, he was dropped.

MR. JACK PAM YAKUBU otherwise known as Jack Perry is a businessman who many believed contributed immensely in building political structure for former Governor Joshua Dariye but later disagreed over his policies and had parted ways he was late in making up his mind to contest and it is doubtful if he would go far.
ARCHITECT JOHN ALKALI is another contender in the PDP who had a rich record in the civil service. Having contributed much in the building many governments in the past, he now feels he should be dictating the tunes and should use his wealth of experience to develop Plateau state which has suffered much form past leaders. He has also built a strong political structure. But one is not sure how far he can go. This is because being from Shendam, also in the Southern Zone, the same factor that maybe used against Niangwan and Jimmy Cheto may be used against him.

ENGINEER STEPHEN MATO, a Kaduna-based engineer is also in the race. A fatherly figure feels for having disappointed the state, the youths should sit back and allow the adults take over the mantle of leadership. Though serious in his bid it is unsure if he would be able tomake impact.
It is no doubt Plateau will be a place to watch during the primaries. Will it be the first state an incumbent will be defeated hands down in primaries or will it be a case where the power of the incumbency would be used over night to outstage old players in the game?

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.