Distress Call From Taraba

Source: pointblanknews.com


We were not surprised that the ward congresses held last Saturday, 1st November, 2014 went the way they did. A desperate Garba Umar was bound to become childish, despotic and primitive. He didn't disappoint. Apart from the old school tradition of using the police and soldiers to intimidate voters, he was rapacious in his acquisitive mission. Returning officers were “returned” empty having been captured Boko Haram style and forced to convert to UTIciyya's ideology. Handpicked delegates were imposed with relish. In some of the local governments, elections never held. There were beatings, kidnapping and ballot boxes snatching. Suddenly, the old ways returned and the already sad situation in our once peaceful state became even sadder. All this happened as Mr Aliyu Indabawa, having been heavily paid by Umar, looked the other way. The Abuja committee clearly came to make money and they made tons of it. In fact, they were brought to Jalingo by UTC and they were here to do his bidding.The beatings, kidnapping and violence all happened under their watch.

The ward congresses were simply a tip of the ice berg and a sign of things to come. It is a pointer to the turbulent politics coming in the next few weeks. Specifically, the election showed that Garba Umar is bent on ensuring that power does not shift to the southern part of the state. Umar wantonly rigged the election as he planted delegates of his choice who, as he hopes, would swing the election his way. Gangsterism was introduced into the exercise as returning officers were threatened, commanded to drop their own result and forced to accept other handwritten list as brought in by Umar's thugs.

While there were pure tyrannies in the hinterlands, the collation center at Jalingo Motel was nothing but a theater of war as angry gun men on Umar's pay roll manned the gate and openly harass any perceived enemy. A member of the House of Representatives, Isiaka Bawa, was beaten up. An assistant Returning Oficer from Donga was equally beaten to a state of comma. His boss, Barrister Tukura, out of fear even reported that his assistant has been killed. Thank God the man survived.

Above all, the state chairman of the PDP, Victor Bala, was threatened and had to run from Jalingo since his life was clearly in danger.

Then the results themselves were split among the politicians. The result from Donga was divided by the committee. There was no election in Karim Lamido were Umar comes from. But the committee from Abuja accepted Umar's list. Wukari's result was forcefully seized and destroyed at the collation center by none other than the Speaker, Hon. Josiah Kente. He also detained the returning officer. There are issues everywhere. Zing and Yorro's results were alright initially but we learn that too is getting upturned.

The dangers of Saturday's exercise are glaring. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Taraba is endangered. A situation where the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party can unanimously look the other way as Umar decimates the southern part of the state is disheartening. Overnight, we in the south have become orphans with no one showing us any forms of concern or care.

It has also shown that it is not interested in the power shift arrangement of the party in spite of all the sound-proof reasons for the demand. We are amazed that the power shift arrangement in Akwa Ibom state and Adamawa state were permitted with relish but in Taraba, no one cared. The cases of both states is not even as convincing as that of southern Taraba. Yet they have been granted their zoning request. Everyone in southern Taraba is starting to wonder what we have done that the National body of our party is treating us like this.

This, for us, is an affront on our collective sense of decency. It is challenging our loyalty to the PDP and daring us to jump ship. But above all, this is an insult on the person of General TY Danjuma who is passionate about the power shift project. The peoples of the southern zone are also dismayed as they helplessly watch the PDP abandon them to be treated like outcast and slaughtered. This is the same southern zone that gave this party its biggest wins since the inception of party politics in the state.

Joshua Jibo
Public Relation Officer
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