Amb. Fidelis Tapgun is one of the respected elder statesmen in Plateau state. Aside being a one time civilian governor of the state, our culture and modern religions instruct us to see someone of his age and status as an elder.
Tapgun, whose tenure as governor was truncated by the military junta, was later appointed Nigerian Ambassador to Kenya and Minister of Industry by former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
The second civilian governor of Plateau is not just an ordinary member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP,) but a member of its Board of Trustees (BOT). This goes to say that he has a high stake in what transpired in the party at all levels.
By virtue of his position as member of the party’s BOT, Tapgun should be seen working towards building the party to greater hieghts and not to be one of its albatross at night and claim to love the party in the morning.
It has been speculated at different quarters that Tapgun has been silently working against the PDP. Many of us didn’t believe it and took his silence over matters that concerns the party as playing the role of an ‘elder statesman’. But considering his body language and lackadaisical behaviour over things that concerns the party, one may simply want to agree with the rumour mongers.
If his recent comment asking Gov. Caleb Mutfwang to congratulate Dr Nentawe Yilwatda over the appeal court judgment, is something to go by, it is obvious then that he is tired of pretending.
I do not know why the PDP is foot-dragging in expelling Amb Tapgun over this glaring anti-party activity. What gross misconduct is more grievous than asking a governor who was legitimately voted by the majority of Plateau people to give way to someone that the people vehemently rejected at the poll? It is evidently clear that Tapgun has been romancing with the opposition or does the PDP still needs a soothsayer to know this?
One will wonder why Amb. Tapgun will ”advice” a governor that was elected through popular votes to give way simply because of the kangaroo judgement delivered by the Court of Appeal against his victory. Even the local market woman in Nigeria doesn’t need to be schooled to fathom that the recent appeal court judgments that nullified the election of governor Mutfwang and members of the State and the National Assemblies were purely on technicalities. The judgments are a ”miscarriage of justice”.
I’m particularly bewildered because this same people that former governor Tapgun is defending today, had, in 2016 described him as the worse governor Plateau ever had.
The Simon Lalong-led administration described him as a total failure and that he left no legacy for the state. They further said that as minister and ambassador, Plateau people cannot actually point out to one of his legacies.
The Lalong government also accused Tapgun of running down the economy of the Plateau to bankruptcy during his stint as governor.
They said he sold all critical assets like the barc farm and many other properties that the state should have been proud of. They accused him of wasting Plateau resources on trivial things.
They said he is more of a ”liability and a wet blanket” to the PDP and without mincing words, described him as a ‘political merchant’, who initiate crisis wherever he finds himself for selfish interest.
The APC were quick to remind him of how he wanted to break the PDP in the wake of the 2015 general elections as he was one of the people that orchestrated the crisis in the party. They said he shifted original PDP and formed a rival group called the ‘Reformed PDP’.
But in all of these, the PDP who sees him as a revered personality in the state defended and stood by him. So, it is appalling to see this same man supporting those who nearly strip him naked in public. Today, he is against the PDP that fought to ensure his integrity remains intact.
Ask if I’m surpise at his recent comment about Gov. Mutfwang and the PDP, I will say no, and permit me to state my reasons.
When he contested for governorship seat in 1992 on the ticket of the SDP, he faked a picture of his NRC rival, Bagudu Hirse, clutching a Muslim chaplet – something like the Catholic Rosary, and claimed he (Hirse) was a Muslim. He used that to deceive the Christians to get their votes.
Hirse is Mwagavwul and was clearly a cleaner and better candidate; Mutfwang is also Mwagavwul. It means his (Mutfwang) only sin is the fact that he is Mwagavwul. Tapgun’s phobia for Mwagavwul is, thus, playing out.
Similarly, Tapgun also contested the primaries in PDP with former governor Jonah Jang, and, later, with late GNS Pwajok, and lost at both attempts. He is still bitter and cannot hide the fact that he lost to both Jang and GNS. One could clearly see the hieght of his hatred.
Rumours has it that during the last administration, Tapgun was bankrolled and placed on a monthly stipend during the last administration, and this was after he went through the back door to apologise to Lalong and promised ”to be loyal”.
So, it is not surprising that he quickly jumped at the crumbs given to him by enemies of Plateau to say things that are capable of destroying the peace of the state because his pocket has suddenly turned dry. It would be more honourable for Tapgun to age with his dignity in tact than dance to the drums of clowns for bananas.
I strongly and sincerely advice Plateau people not to consider the likes of Tapgun and what they say as a take home package; he speaks with both sides of his mouth. His utterances are merely targeted at what will come his pocket and not for the interest of the state.
Come to the think of it, what is Tapgun’s electoral value? If you go to Shendam today only but a minute will remember his name. This is largely because of his egocentric style of politics.
By way of conclusion, i wish to call on the elder statesman to work toward bequeathing a legacy that will stand the test of time and not to romance with the enemies of Plateau for selfish reasons.
Plateau will not only rise again, but will be great if the likes of Tapgun will stand and speak for the truth. God bless Plateau the beautiful!