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2015: Plateau elders set to battle Jang’s boys
The seeming political lull in Plateau State is underlined by intense underground moves, as elders within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who feel marginalised in the current scheme of things are planning a political coup against the young beneficiaries of the status quo. Isaac Shobayo reports.
WITH the 2015 general election still far away, there is calmness in the political scene in Plateau State. Virtually all the members of the opposition have retreated into their shells, probably waiting for the appropriate time to launch into the deep. From all indications, the government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, headed by Governor Jonah Jang, is having a field day, unchallenged from any quarter, except the intermittent civil unrest witnesed in the state.
Opposition parties like the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), among others, who ought to have been challenging government policies and proffering, are simply watching from the sidelines. It was learnt that some of them are making subterranean moves to defect to the PDP.
Even within the PDP, there is a lull. The activities of the party appear tailored towards one direction, while some of the elders who gave the party a lifeline some years back are taking the back the seat and the young ones are having a field day in the day-to-day running of both the party and the government. Indeed, right from the inception of his administration, Governor Jang had not hidden his love for the youth, especially in the area of moulding them to become responsible and future leaders. He has repeatedly declared this at different forums and demonstrated this by injecting young blood into his administration.
The youth presently formed the fulcrum of his administration and make up the largest part of political appointees. Even at the federal level he has always ensure that the youths take the shares that belong to Plateau State.
However, the gesture of positioning the youth for leadership positions is generating furore among certain classes of people within the state, especially some of the elders and few young ones perceived to have been sidelined in the scheme of things. The elders in this category were those who formed the nucleus of the kitchen cabinet of the governor during his first term and had been his political associates and contemporary right from the days of his struggle to rule the state. The Nigerian Tribune learnt that the governor’s sudden love for the young ones and the alleged sidelining of the elders perceived to have been the stabilizing force of the government is gradually heating up the polity ahead of 2015.
A source close to the elders revealed that the elders are not just embittered by their removal from sensitive government positions, including those in the party; the way and manner the young ones schemed them out, using spurious and unconventional means, seems to be the source of their grouse.
One of the elders of the party and former close confidant of the governor told the Nigerian Tribune that the elders had no problem with the governor but the young ones around him, saying that the young ones whom most of them helped to get in government had soiled their (the elders’) relationship with the governor to maintain their own positions and be in his good books.
“The purpose of the grouping is not to fight Governor Jang but the boys around him who feel they have arrived politically and think they can mess the old ones who helped to stabilize the system. When we were struggling to stabilize the government and fighting to gain control of the PDP, where were they? No matter the resources they have garnered, we are waiting for them. They have succeeded in destroying the relationship between us and Jang, but we are waiting for them and we know their aspirations,” said the elder.
It further learnt that the aggrieved elders, in conjunction with some of the commissioners recently dropped by the governor, are regrouping to fight back and truncate what they described as the tall ambition of the young ones in government ahead of the 2015 general election.
To gather more strength for the epic fight, it was further learnt that the aggrieved elders had started reaching out to some stalwarts of the PDP who had been standing aloof in the past four years as a result of political differences with Governor Jang and also reaching out to the likes of the former deputy governor, Mrs Pauline Tallen, Senator Joshua Dariye and others who defected to the Labour Party (LP) shortly before the 2011 gubernatorial election and are waiting for an appropriate time to return to the PDP.
Analysts are of the opinion that the battle is to be expected, considering what transpired within the PDP fold in recent times, especially over the way and manner the state congress of the party was conducted, coupled with the appointments into various positions, both within the state and federal levels, which tended to favour the youths and rendered some of the elders, once perceived as cronies of Governor Jang, idle, politically. According to the analysts, the lull in political circles, especially within the PDP fold on the Plateau, cannot be attributed to peace.
They, however, added that the problems were simply being being bottled up for possible explosion in the nearest future.
One of the elders declared thus: “The boys around the governor think they are smart and have arrived politically and can insult some of us that made them. They may be sitting on a commonwealth today and enjoying it while it lasts, but they should remember that we have been in the business of politics even before many of them were born. At the appropriate time, we shall meet, nothing lasts forever.”
The Nigerian Tribune’s findings revealed that the boys, too, are claiming they have come of age and have what it takes to make a headway in politics. One of the youths occupying a very strategic position in government, who craved anonymity, recently debunked the notion of the aggrieved elders that they were sidelined in the scheme things. He declared: “They still remain our fathers and mentors. But, certainly, they cannot remain in power for life.
“This category of elders are in their late 60s and 70s, are they saying they still want to be commissioners or what? The decision of the governor to surround himself with young, dynamic youths with sound educational background is not out of place. It is part of the process of building the young ones for leadership positions. What we need from these elders is advice and to tap from their wealth of experience and guide us, instead of competing with us,” he said.
Those who have been watching the trend of political events in Plateau in recent times strongly believe that despite the vantage position occupied by the youths with the backing of the governor, they still need the support of the elders to break even, considering the complexity of Plateau politics. Another question that needs to be asked is the relationship of these youths in government with their contemporaries outside the government. Are they carrying them along? The answer to this will determine their political prowess in the years ahead.
From all indications, the youths are bracing up for the challenge posed by the elders and making efforts to assert their rightful positions in the politics of the state.Share