In an unfortunate blow to Plateau, one of its senior representatives, Senator Joshua Dariye will take a bow from the senate chambers into the abyss of incarceration and imprisonment.
Senator Joshua Dariye today, having been found guilty of 15 of 23 counts of misappropriation and false accounting will commence a long and tortuous journey into political oblivion –decimating his political structures, diminishing his support base, denting his credibility and lowering his standing amongst statesmen.
Similar to Governor James Ibori who was released last year and has since gone into political oblivion, there is a risk that the amiable Governor Joshua Dariye may suffer the same fate if he is to serve all of the 14 years imposed.
It goes without saying, that for years, Senator Joshua Dariye was a stabilizing force in Plateau politics. He was a rallying point for opposition politicians during the last administration –and was the arrowhead for the opposition which ultimately crystallized into the election of Governor Simon Lalong.
Senator Joshua Dariye remains a mentor, strategist and political godfather to many in the current administration, including Governor Simon Lalong. His incarceration means there will be power rebalancing across much of Plateau. The “old order” which he used to lead will be overhauled, into a “new order” which will be led by one of his key loyalists.
For the record, “the Joshua Dariye political bloc” is one of three political blocs that have dominated Plateau politics for the last 4 decades and his incarceration means that like the game of chess -it leaves a void which needs to be filled quickly and efficiently.
The three political blocs that have dominated Plateau Politics for the last 4 decades
To illustrate the point about the three political bloc that have dominated Plateau for the last few decades, these are:
– The Solomon Lar bloc: led by the pioneer Chairman of PDP and comprising people like Damishi Sango, Ibrahim Nasir Mantu, Late Silas Jangfa, Senator Davou D B Zang, Ja’afarus Damulak, Lumumba Dah Adeh, John Alkali, Beni Lar, Victor Lar, Michael Botmang, Barminas Yilkyes etc.
– The Jonah Jang bloc: led by the Senator Jonah Jang and his mentees comprising Hon I D Gyang, Hon Edward Pwajok (albeit left this camp), Hon Solomon Maren, Hon Timothy Golu, Chris Giwa, Kemi Nshe, George Daika, Sarah Ochekpe, Yilji Gomwalk, Olivia Dazyem, Late GNS Pwajok, Davou Mangs etc.
– The Joshua Dariye bloc: led by Senator Joshua Dariye and comprising, Governor Simon Lalong, Hon Letep Dabang, Chief Maichibi Vwarji, Pauline Tallen, Hon Simon Tangni (even though still in PDP), Hon Shem Damisa, Prof John Wade, Hon. Yakubu Datti, Hon Robert Taple, John Dafaan, Hon Agati, Chief Jethro Akun etc.
This is not to mean that these are the only political gladiators on the Plateau. There are others like J D Gomwalk, Senator J T Useni, Samuel Atukum etc who were either not politicians or did not subscribe to the idea of forming political structures and therefore remained independent of any of the above bloc/orders, but they also wield a reasonable degree of influence in Plateau politics.
Filling the Voids left by Senator Joshua Dariye
With the incarceration of Senator Joshua Dariye, a massive void opens up in the Plateau power equation that will have to be filled-up quickly and efficiently ahead of the 2019 elections.
- Plateau Central Senatorial Seat
The most critical of the voids is the Plateau Central seat which will naturally become vacant, as INEC considers holding a by-election. ViewPointNigeria’s analysts assess that several individuals will already be lining-up and auditioning to fill this void –particularly those of the Ngas stock who have opined that it’s their turn. These individuals are mainly within the PDP and include the likes of Former Immigration Boss, David Paradang, Senator Sati Gogwim etc.
Within the APC, ViewPointNigeria considers the front runner to be Hon Letep Dabang. Being the current Chairman of the Plateau APC party, he wields the highest degree of influence in the state (almost comparable) to that of the Governor. He was previously pencilled down as replacement for minister Solomon Dalung, but this did not come to fruition, as such this might be an opportunity for consolation.
Another concept which a few people have put forward is the idea of offering the seat to the current Deputy Governor, Prof Sunny Tyoden and back-filling his position with another loyalist. Plausible as this arrangement may be, its workability remains a scenario that our analysts have classed as “possible but not very probable”.
As such, they assess that given Hon Letep’s strong hold on the party and the fact that he is one of the closest persons to Chief Joshua Dariye (having been his legislative aide for years), it is likely that Hon Letep Dabang may get the nod.
- The Leader of the Dariye Political Bloc
Aside the question of who takes the senate seat, there is also that of who becomes the new leader of the “Joshua Dariye bloc”. This position, in our opinion will naturally be assumed by Governor Simon Lalong. Being executive Governor, it affords him the clout and wherewithout to fill this role effortlessly. Working with grassroot political mobilisers in his administration, Governor Simon Lalong will effectively fill this void and be a custodian to Senator Dariye’s legacy, given the two have been in-extricably linked since the start of Senator Dariye’s administration in 1999.
In closing, it is very likely that Senator Joshua Dariye will appeal the ruling (taking it to the court of appeal and possibly the supreme court), however this will likely be done from incarceration, unless he obtains a stay-of-execution on the ruling.
It is also important for us to point out to our readers that as well as Senator Joshua Dariye, the ex-Governor of Taraba state, Rev Jolly Nyame was last month sentenced to 14 years imprisonment. Jolly Nyame was Governor at the same time as Senator Joshua Dariye and he has since been remanded in prison. This adds to the string of past governor’s coming under the spell of the law ahead of the 2019 elections. Many have opined that the cases are being hurried along in order to bolster President Buhari’s corruption fighting credentials.
In addition to these two, Senator Jonah Jang, the ex-governor of Plateau state was in the last few weeks brought under EFCC spell and was only released on bail after 1 week of remand. If Senator Jang suffers the same fate, that will mean that 2 out of 3 Plateau Governors would have been incarcerated -diminishing the state’s political standing.
A political commentator who spoke to ViewPointNigeria on this matter of incarcerating mainly the Middlebelt governors and not their other counterparts, opined that the case is similar to the international criminal court of the Hague, Netherlands which has only appeared to try African Dictators and never their European Counterparts who set up the law.
This of course is not to say anyone who pilfers public fund should be allowed to go scotch-free. Such a person must face the music to serve as a deterrent to others. However, justice must equally be seen to be non-selective. Other governors of the same dispensation e.g. Abdullahi Adamu, Isa Yuguda, Attahiru Bafarawa, Uzo Orji Kalu remain free men.
By Dr Chinnan Mclean
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