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· Political Forces Unite Against Bwacha

· I'm Not Bwacha Loyalist – Danji SS

· DDI Endorsement For Senate Sparks Ripples


Political permutation ahead of the 2023 general election in Taraba State is becoming tougher as political gladiators in the Southern part of Taraba are in tough battle for the political control of the zone.

The zone seems to be the epic center of 2023 politics as gladiators from the area are realigning their political interest. In the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the zone is hoping on producing the governorship candidate while the ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the zone is preparing to ensure its stronghold is not infiltrated by the opposition party.

Taraba Truth and Facts gathered politicians across different political parties are allegedly aligning to work against interest of Senator Emmanuel Bwacha to govern the state in 2023. Senator Bwacha who is currently representing Taraba South in the National Assembly and a member of the PDP has been at logger head with the state governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku.

At the last APC congress, a chieftain of the party, Chief Ezekiel Afukonyo, alleged that some external forces are trying to destabilise the party in the state to scuttle its plan to take over power from the PDP in 2023.

He accused a serving Senator from the state for infiltrating some APC members and trying to use them to take over the party structure through the recent ward congresses. "Staying in another political party and scheming to take over the structure you have not contributed in building would be vehemently resisted," he said.

Many in the APC believed its member representing Wukari Ibi Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon Danjuma Usman Shiddi, known as Danji SS, is working hard to take control of the party ahead of Senator Bwacha's eventual coming into the party. Danji SS in a brief chat with our reporter however denied working for any PDP politician in the APC.

"I don't belong to any camp. There was congress election in Wukari which I personally witnessed. I don't know where the majority of your reporters got the news that I lost at the congress; that is not true. Where was the result declared and who scored what? I can tell you I have the majority of the Ward Executives.

"It is also wrong to describe me as a loyalist of any politician in Taraba State. I am an independent politician; don't link me with any politicians. I have in the past won elections even against the PDP candidate, how can I now be an errand boy to any politician. I am a political leader in my right," Danji SS said.


•Southern Taraba APC leaders scheme for party ticket

A political analyst told Taraba Truth and Facts Newspaper that the Southern Taraba stakeholders in APC are very united on getting the party governorship ticket. "You know the PDP is looking at bringing its governorship candidate from the North, so political interest in Southern Taraba is very high.

"Also, this is the first time in the history of opposition politicians from Southern Taraba are largely on the same page. Southern Taraba is very key now, whosoever control its politics will have an advantage at the state; that is why you see how fierce the politicians are struggling to control their party within the zone.  

"The southern Taraba stakeholders are arguing that since previous APC governorship candidates had emerged from the Northern zone. There is a strong clamor that the next candidate of the party should come from the Southern zone. The zone should be given the chances of producing the APC candidate for fairness within the party," the political analyst said.    


•Options before Bwacha

Sources said the move against Senator Bwacha at the recently concluded APC ward congress might have been supported by some elements of Taraba State Government who are hell bent on rendering him irrelevant in the next election.
Also it's believed that some government elements has also taken over leadership of APGA in the state, thus Senator Bwacha might faced similar resistance joining the party.

While Bwacha loyalists are boasting of having grassroots support base, the political elites are planning to ensure the three term senator is retired from politics by 2023.

"The options before Bwacha are few. He might decide to test his popularity at the poll by joining another party but not the APC. The APC stakeholders are not prepared to accommodate him. Infact, they will frustrate his interest, but he can build another political party in the state. Mind you, Bwacha has a lot of cult like followers in the government and if Bwacha is joining any political party today, he can boast of some commissioners and Special Advisers following him out of the PDP. Some State House of Assembly members too will also follow him. Bwacha has the financial muscle to prosecute his governorship ambition but his only problem could be the platform," a source disclosed.

According to a PDP stalwart, Mr. Gayus Yakubu, "no one can eat his cake and have it. The Senator is clearly on the crossroads from all indications because I don't understand how he holds the membership card of the PDP but still finds a way to meddle with the affairs of the APC and even go as far trying to hijack the party structure. I would advise that Bwacha should pick a side and define his stand on political issues"

•DDI endorsement for Senate sparks ripples

Meanwhile some members of the PDP are however angry over the endorsement of Governor Ishaku for Senate by Senator Joel Ikenya, saying the governor should be allowed to contest for ticket of the party like any member.

Ikenya, a former senator and ex-Minister of Labour from Southern Taraba, chose the 67th birthday anniversary of Governor Ishaku to endorse the governor, who was a former Minister of State for Power and Environment and Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs before becoming governor in 2015, for Taraba South Senatorial District ahead of the 2023 general election.  

The endorsement which has not gone well with some members of the party in the zone cautioned that the party might lose some relevance if other members are shut out of contesting against the governor at the primary level.

"The governor is entitled to contest for Senate but it is wrong to block chance of other members from the zone who might be aspiring for Senate in the PDP. The Governor should go into the contest like every other aspirant. There should be primary where members of the party will determine who their candidate is.

"We are not against the governor from contesting, but we will reject any attempt to make it a one man show in PDP. In the last election Bwacha as the incumbent senator faced primary so the governor also will face party primary to emerge candidate," a PDP stalwart disclosed.

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