There was a mild drama on Thursday in Jalingo, the capital of Taraba State when stakeholders from Donga Local Government Council threw caution to the wind and engaged in a free-for-all fight.
The incident, which took place in the Executive Chambers of the State Government House, was necessitated by their inability to arrive at a consensus candidate who will fly the flag of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the council for the forthcoming local government elections in the state.
Unlike in the past, where candidates emerged through the party’s primary, the reverse, as noticed by DAILY POST, was the case, as the councils were said to have been mandated to come up with consensus candidates.
The inability of the stakeholders from Donga to come up with the name of a candidate who will fly the party’s banner at the council election, was observed to have ignited the free-for-all fights which compelled the former Majority Leader of the State House of Assembly, Captain (Rtd) Douglas Neatse, to descend on some persons from the council who opposed his choice of candidate.
The former assembly leader, who engaged in a physical fight with some PDP stakeholders from the council, was alleged to have been desperate to impose an unpopular candidate on the people of the council ahead of the forthcoming poll.
Speaking with newsmen after the incident, one of the stakeholders who was allegedly slapped by the former majority leader said trouble started when all PDP critical stakeholders in the local government resolved to respect the PDP zoning arrangement that has been on ground since 1999.
The stakeholder, Garalie Suntai, who was a former councillor, said the former majority leader, who opposed the stakeholders’ decision, insisted that the political zoning arrangement of the PDP in the council would not be allowed to see the light of day.
Irked by the alleged misdemeanour of the former assembly member, he said, “It is unfortunate that Ndatse, who is a product of PDP zoning arrangements in Donga council, has chosen to oppose the idea that has kept PDP in Donga under one umbrella.”
Adding that “Why he is fighting us publicly is because 99 per cent of us have agreed to consider the normal zoning arrangement that PDP has been using in the local government, which has kept the people in peace politically.
The former Assembly member, according to Suntai, “is opposing the decision that can best be described as a unanimous decision,” stating that he is “insisting on ideas that would not only consume PDP in the local government but also capable of bringing disunity among the various ethnic groups in the area.
Aligning his weight to that of Suntai, another stakeholder from the council who craved anonymity, expressed sadness at the alleged inability of the state governor, Agbu Kefas, to allow aspirants seeking the position of council chairmen and councillors to emerge through primary.
He said, “His decision for the candidates to arrive via consensus would be inimical to the growth of our great party and could as well cause more crises across the sixteen local government councils.”
Efforts to reach out to the former majority leader, who was alleged to be at the centre of the controversy, proved abortive as he failed to pick our reporter’s calls or reply to the Short Message Service (SMS) sent to him.