Former Minister of Information and the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Nasarawa State, Mr. Labaran Maku, has said the attacks on him clearly shows that there is panic in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nasarawa State following his emergence as the standard bearer of the party.
Last week, at the PDP rally in Keffi to commence the campaign of the highly unpopular Alhaji Yusuf Agabi, the Senate President, David Mark, had accused Maku of being ungrateful because he left the PDP to emerge as the governorship candidate of APGA.
Maku said the attention had been drawn to repeated accusations by some leaders of the PDP, who continuously portray him as an ingrate for dumping the PDP to pursue his ambition in APGA.
His campaign team, in a statement issued yesterday, by the Director Publicity, Zakari Edego, said the accusations by the PDP chieftains amounted to blackmailing President Goodluck Jonathan of allegedly sponsoring Maku to contest the governorship of Nasarawa State on the platform of APGA.
The statemed read: “While Maku has high respect for Senator Mark and Dr. Ahmadu Ali and wishes not to join issues with them, he finds it especially curious that Senator Mark has remained mute over the defection in his own native Benue State of former Minister of State for Trade and Investment Dr. Sam Ortom and former PDP National Chairman Senator Barnabas Gemade who have gone to the opposition APC to contest for the governorship and senatorial positions respectively.
“Why has Mark not condemned these defections from his native Benue State? Why the undue attention on Maku and Nasarawa State? The import of these attacks on the APGA governorship candidate clearly shows that there is panic in the PDP in Nasarawa State following the emergence of Maku as the standard bearer of APGA.
“The truth of the matter is that Maku never told anyone even while contesting for the governorship ticket in the PDP that the president was behind him, neither did he suggest to anyone when he decamped to APGA that President Jonathan supported his decision.
“The PDP primaries was marred by irregularities including the change of delegates’ list and the manipulation of religion to impose Alhaji Yusuf Agabi as candidate. Some delegates’ lives were openly threatened at the ill-fated PDP primaries at Nasarawa town if they ever voted for Maku.
“Before Maku left the PDP, he followed the due process to seek redress over the highly bungled governorship primaries including petitioning the PDP governorship primaries Appeal Panel under the chairmanship of the National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mua’zu on the irregularities and other anti-democratic activities that led to the imposition of Agabi as the candidate of the PDP.
Edego said the Appeal Panel neither acknowledged nor invited Maku to defend the appeal he filed against the conduct of the governorship primary election.
“Since loyalty is crucial in party politics, why was Maku, a loyal party member and leader of the party in Nasarawa State for four years schemed out of the PDP primaries on the basis of religion?
Another pertinent question to ask is why scheme out a loyal party member who stood by the party and defended its policies and programmes at the state and national level for many years only to turn around to use his loyalty against him?
“The real issue in Nasarawa State is that some people within and outside the state believe that no Christian should ever be governor of Nasarawa state. Therefore, Maku is being persecuted purely for religious reasons.
The attacks on him are orchestrated to sustain the status quo in Nasarawa, which is already leading to destruction of the state by insurgents and mercenaries. This development portends danger to the future unity and development of Nasarawa state and our dear country.
“Maku’s well considered decision to leave PDP for APGA was actually intended to bring out the real hidden issues that have continued to undermine the unity and development of Nasarawa State.
“In doing so, he is fully aware that he will be blackmailed and maligned because he ever dared to challenge the status quo by those who want a divided state.
It is equally curious how some of the PDP chieftains openly expressed their anger because Maku is campaigning for the president in Nasarawa State even though his new party, the APGA, has adopted Mr. President as its own presidential candidate because of his sterling leadership qualities and many achievements in office.
“The Maku Campaign Organisation views the sustained attack against the APGA candidate as a desperate measure by some leaders of the PDP to distract him from campaigning to defeat their candidate and the incumbent in the upcoming governorship elections as Maku is experienced enough in politics to know there is no way a sitting president will support him in an opposition party against his own party.
“We therefore urge our teeming supporters to disregard all insinuations and threats and sustain the tempo of the campaign for Maku and Jonathan to emerge as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and governor of Nasarawa State in this year’s general election,” the statement added.