Sunday, July 17, 2022 6:00 pm
By Danladi John Yakubu/Abuja
I refer to the petition that 27 people who called themselves faithful and loyal members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Taraba State Chapter, wrote to the Zonal Chairman, South, of the party in the state. They accused Chief David Sabo Kente of anti-party activities for which they asked him to resign.
In terms of lexical items and syntax, the document looks and sounds like the knee-jerk response of desperately drowning politicians who are ready to grab at every straw and destroy everything on their path to stay alive. It is like a poor Mathematics student working to an already conceived answer! In local parlance, it is “called wuruwuru to the answer…” The first six paragraphs were devoted to unnecessary repetitions and verbal pyrotechnics. This style makes it look like what William Shakespeare in his eponymous play, Macbeth, describes as a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. The petitioners, like the small minds that they are, started by attacking the personality of Kente, not the issues.
It was in the 7th paragraph that the writers, like an upstart cramming the dictionary to sound scholarly to a new girlfriend, started delivering their message(s). They strove to sound highfalutin – with their high voltage diction. Anyhow, I was able to make some sense out of the labyrinth they constructed!
The petitioners said Kente is one of the highest beneficiaries of the goodwill, benevolence and fortunes of APC (government). They accused Kente of anti-party activities, especially, his alleged calling of some party members as foreigners, against Article 3 of the 7 of the APC Constitution (as amended…)
Another accusation was that Kente was “complicit in acts of overt and clandestine hobnobbing with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) opposition in Taraba State and particularly Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku with whom he had held nocturnal meetings in Abuja and Jalingo on subjects inimical to the progress of the party in Southern Taraba and Taraba State in its entirety.” And that during the meeting, “money was given to him to frustrate the ambition of some noble party men and our great party.”
The petitioners also accused Kente of sponsoring thugs to disrupt the accreditation process during the electing National Convention and that in the process, voting materials were destroyed and party stalwarts attacked. They added that Kente on three occasions sponsored thugs from Taraba to stage another protest that almost turned violent at the APC National Secretariat “wherein they casted(sic) invectives on well-meaning and ranking members of our party and in the process disrupting the smooth running of activities at the secretariat.”
They also said Kente was not “committed to securing membership and support for the party by leveraging on all his combined strength in various parts of the state and his position on the Board of North East Development Commission.” And that Kente “have(sic) willfully and negligently refused, for the umpteenth time to recognise duly elected Sothern Taraba Local Government Executive, certified by the National Working Committee.”
Worse still, they claimed that Kente openly challenged Usman Shiddi’s intent to contest for the Senate seat in the Senatorial District to pave way for Governor Ishaku. Also, the petitioners said Kente’s attempt to hijack the party structure failed and instead of supporting Senator Emmanuel Bwacha’s gubernatorial candidature and others, he is hobnobbing with the opposition.
Let us look at the matter legally whether or not the people hurling these missiles are qualified to do so. The answer is NO. The reason is that the purported petitioners are not the authentic officials of Kente ward as produced by the July 31st ward Congress of APC. Put differently, they are mere impostors trying to seek relevance. Who are they, therefore? They were those who lost out in the July 31, 2021 ward Congress and accused Chief Kente of being responsible for their defeat. Talk of bad losers who are bent on blowing every sane arrangement into smithereens! They are full of sour grapes. The petitioners, after losing the ward Congress, therefore, turned themselves into opposition.
Now, let me address the allegations the petitioners raised. It will sound not only funny but a figment of imagination for anybody to accuse Kente of either romancing or working for Governor Darius Ishaku of PDP. The duo who are like cat and dog cannot and have never at any time sat at a round table. Never! How could they? These are individuals whose relationship can be compared to the one existing between the goat and the cocoyam or the mongoose and the cobra.
On financial inducement, Kente said, “this is laughable”. He has been a successful businessman with his business scattered across Nigeria and West Africa. As published in TheNEWS in May, “To sum it up David Sabo Kente (DSK) as he is popularly known across Taraba State and beyond, is a household name. He has, all his life, been an enterprising fellow, very receptive and accommodating to all shades of opinion.
Kente is an all-rounder: an accomplished businessman, a technocrat per excellence and a social crusader who takes people’s projects as his personal problem. An example of these concerns is the establishment of his DSK Foundation to cater for the needs of the less privileged in society and empowerment of widows, women and the youth in skills and trade.
Chief David Sabo Kente has remained one distinguished political figure in Taraba State that has directly or indirectly touched the lives of citizens. This is irrespective of their political, religious and ethnic affiliation.”
On the accusation that he has not used his influence on the Board of the North East Development Commission, let me say this. For the benefit of the doubt, Taraba state has not enjoyed the most desired social amenities and infrastructures from the NORTH EAST DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION where Kente served on the board as commissioner representing the state. This is because Governor Darius who views Kente as a threat to his administration has refused to cooperate and create enabling environment for such development in Taraba. How on earth, therefore, would anybody in his wildest imagination accuse Kente of romancing Governor Darius clandestinely? If they ever met at all, it was official. A few examples will suffice here.
One was during the donation of Agricultural equipment to the state government by the North East Development Commission last year. During the event, Chief Kente publicly accused Governor Darius of frustrating smooth operations of the Commission in Taraba state.
Another meeting between Kente and Governor Darius was during a courtesy visit by the management of the Commission in early 2021. During the visit, Darius gave two cartoons of Highland Tea as a souvenir to Chief Kente, probably the two cartoons of highland Tea were misconstrued by the mischief makers to be money!
It is on record that Chief Kente has been funding APC in his home local government, Wukari and at the state level for the past six years. He had purchased several vehicles for the operations of the party across Taraba state. Kente has remained consistently in APC since 2016. He has spent hundreds of millions in pursuing his aspirations to govern the good people of Taraba state. Is it not ridiculous for such a person to be accused of anti-party activities.
We know the sponsor of the petition is principally an APC senatorial aspirant from the southern zone and funded by the desperate governorship aspirant. The senatorial aspirant who serves as an errand boy for the governorship aspirant came to Wukari last week to hold a meeting with the fake kente ward APC officials and allegedly greased their palms to write the trash-called petition.
He sees Kente as the major stumbling block to his aspirations and he must adopt all strategies, blackmail and character assassination to dent his good image.
* Danladi John Yakubu, a Taraba indigene, and political analyst, writes from Abuja