Dr Nentawe, right, Gov Mutfwang, left.
I lost to Gov Mutfwang due to religious blackmail —Nentawe
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the 2023 governorship election in Plateau, Nentawe Goshwe, has decried that he lost the election to incumbent Gov Caleb Mutfwang mainly because he was tagged as a Muslim candidate by his opponents in order to score political points against him.
The APC governorship candidate made this known in an interview in Jos while responding to a question about his loss and the recent Supreme Court decision, which upheld Governor Mutfwang’s victory in the poll.
The former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner for Benue, chastised the state’s leaders for using religion as a cheap political tool against him.
According to him, in order to gain political advantage, it has become commonplace for politicians in the state to falsely and unfavourably link someone with Islam.
He said that tagging him and his party as representatives of Islam was deliberately done by political opponents to de-market him and his party, noting that this was not the first time religion was deployed as a cheap political weapon of blackmail in Plateau politics.
“In 1983, the late John Kadiya of ECWA Church, NPN candidate, was tagged as the Muslim candidate on the Plateau when he contested against the late Solomon Lar (NPP).
“It is a well-known fact that John Kadiya was a communion member of ECWA Church, a member of ECWA Church and an elder in ECWA Church. But he was tagged as an Islamic leader. After the election was over, nobody again called him an Islamic leader.
“In 1991, the same thing happened when Fidelis Tapgun was contesting against Bagudu Hirse. Hirse was tagged as an Islamic candidate.
He stressed that the politics of Plateau bears the same vicious pattern, adding that as soon as election is over, the targeted victim’s status automatically reverts to that of sainthood.
“In 2003, David Jang was tagged as an Islamic candidate because he was in the ANPP. The same thing happened to Pauline Tallen in 2011 when she was contesting for the governorship.
”In 2015, the same thing happened to Simon Lalong. The same thing happened to me in 2023. So, it is the normal culture of Plateau politics that some people must tag somebody to have an Islamic outlook just for political reasons.
“The funny aspect is that people are not wise enough to understand that some people are using politics to ensure that a good candidate doesn’t emerge. They use religion as a basis for presenting their candidates to the public,” Goshwe claimed.
The former APC governorship flag bearer has, however, accepted the outcome of the election, as well as the decision by the Supreme Court, which affirmed Mutfwang’s election as the will of God.
Periscope International recalls that besides losing at the apex court, Dr Nentawe, who lost during the election conducted by INEC in March 2023, also lost at the Election Petitions Tribunal, but was controversially declared winner by the Court of Appeal Panel, which also sacked all Plateau PDP lawmakers from the State and National Assembly.