The former Senator representing southern Adamawa, Grace Folashade Bent, has described the reference to her person as “Non-Indigene” by the Adamawa state chairman of PDP, Tahir Shehu, as a cheap resort to tribalistic Slur and that only a woman can be conveniently and demeaningly called a non- indigene after being married to a man for over four decades.
Bent contended that the state chairman should have denounced her position with superior facts instead of condescending to making globally unacceptable comments on ethnicity and gender that degrades commonness of humanity and portrays Adamawa and Nigeria in a disgraceful and demeaning light in the eyes of the world.
The senator states strongly that, after over forty years of marriage to her husband, it is only ignorance of the law and a chronic sense of treachery, that would make a man in the position of the state chairman of a party, to make such a derogatory and backward statement about her and that his comments is a reflection of his awareness, exposure and pedantry resort to tribalism.
This is contained in a press statement issued to News Rendezvous, over the weekend in Yola, Adamawa state.
Grace Bent while making reference to the statement made in his rejoinder concerning her interview with Daily Sun, where she remarked that her return to the Senate was frustrated by the state governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri said, “I didn’t make “spurious allegations” against Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri and the person of A.T. Shehu as the state chairman of the PDP, neither did I misrepresent any fact in the said newspaper interview regarding happenings in Adamawa PDP pre-2019 elections and thereafter.
“Secondly, he rightly said the people of Adamawa South senatorial district were magnanimous to me having “overwhelming” voted for me in 2007 against the choice of Senator Jonathan Silas Zwingina not minding that I was a “non-indigene”.
Denouncing Shehu as a tribalist, she said, “Only a tribalist like A.T. Shehu believes that people of same ethnic groups are related by blood, hence his coinage of “blood brother” like that of “non-indigene” – one against conventional English and the other against the law of the land respectively.
“For someone like Shehu, who claims to be a Lawyer by training, to refer to a bonafide Nigerian in Nigeria as a non-indigene (whatever the coinage means) is an exhibition of crass ignorance of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution (as amended) – Section 42 sub-section 1.
“His ignorance is an embarrassment to the Bar and I hereby call on the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to call A.T. Shehu to order if he is truly a member of the noble profession.
“In this 21st Century of Universality, a Lawyer is still beclouded and myopically tribalistic to still see a woman that has lived with her Adamawa husband for 40 years as a non-indigene.
“What a shame to the Lawyer like Shehu, who has little or no knowledge of the Nigeria’s Constitution and the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) regarding qualifications for election.
“Also, there is a subsisting order of a competent court of law in Nigeria that affirms the use of the coinage – “non-indigene” – on any public document as unconstitutional.”
While making reference to her towering legacy as a politician, Bent said, “On winning my election in 2007, If I was not loved by the teeming populace of Adamawa South senatorial district, I wouldn’t have won overwhelmingly as attested to by A.T. Shehu.
“This is a clear testimony to my popularity and good works to my constituents.
“If I was a “non-indigene” in Adamawa, was it only the Yorubas that overwhelmingly voted for me in 2007? This is a poser for A.T. Shehu and his ilks to ponder on and provide an answer.
“After my first four-year stint in the Senate between 2007 and 2011, I was conspired against and was stopped from returning to the National Assembly, thereby denying the good people of Adamawa South the kind of representation they deserve.
“My good works while I was representing the Adamawa South electorate still speak for me, contrary to the futile attempt by Shehu and his paymasters to poison their minds against me.”
Describing the Adamawa state chairman of PDP as a serial political looser, she said, “It is on record that he who is supposedly an indigene of Adamawa State has never won election in his unit in Ganye LGA for PDP, the party he chairs now.
“As we speak, Shehu’s State Constituency of Ganye is being represented by APC in the State House of Assembly.
“While Grace Bent, who he claims is a “non-indigene” has consistently delivered her unit, ward and indeed Demsa local government area with landslide victory in the whole of Adamawa South senatorial district in all elections.
“The records are in the public domain for confirmation.”
She maintained that, “In the November 29, 2020 newspaper interview in question, I responded to a question thus inter alia: “…I happened to be the only female in PDP that contested the primary election in 2019 and won the election, but the political party withdrew the ticket and gave it to someone else.
“My governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, played a key role in that regard. Perhaps, because of his personal interest.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the original result as compiled by the electoral committee sent from Abuja is still domiciled at the PDP national headquarters for verification.”
Restating her position in the interview and the instability the leadership of Shehu is causing in the party in the state she said, “I am not a desperate politician and I am not an ingrate as Shehu and his paymasters will want the good people of Adamawa South and the Nigerian public to believe, hence, I let go of the injustices meted against me in 2011 and 2019 elections.
“The revelations of their lack of dynamism and not being team players in my recent newspaper interview are statements of fact and I stand by them.
Adding that, “Was it not the same “ungrateful” Senator Bent who fought assiduously to nominate Shehu as the state party chairman despite protests from some quarters about his suitability?
“Could he say with all honesty that I was not instrumental to his emergence as the PDP State chairman?
“It’s laughable today to hear him ranting in his so-called rejoinder.
“Has he quickly forgotten the enormous role I played alongside a few major stakeholders in constituting the present State Working Committee (SWC) of the party that he is enjoying today with others?
“My doggedness and determination alongside a few other stakeholders repositioned and stabilised the PDP in Adamawa State, which produced the Governor Fintiri-led administration today. But here we are, most of the stakeholders that repositioned the party for its success today have been alienated and marginalised.
“So, where is the dynamism and teamwork by Shehu and his paymasters, who are at the helm of affairs of governance and party in our State?
“How would A.T. Shehu explain that under his watch, his deputy chairman defected to APC and few days ago, the Senator representing Adamawa North, Elisha Abbo, elected on the platform of the PDP in 2019, defected to the same APC?
“I have been a very loyal member of the PDP from inception, never have I for once, cross-carpeted to any other political party.
“Prior to my becoming a member of the PDP, I was the Deputy National Chairman of the then Progressive Liberation Party (PLP), which later merged with the PDP. I subsequently became the first female Political Adviser to the then National Chairman of the party.
“By God’s divine providence, I went on to become the the first female Senator in Adamawa State, and also in the North-East geo-political zone.
“My being a member of the BoT was earned and well merited, its most uncharitable of A.T. Shehu to adduce that he did me a favour by ‘making me’ a member of the BoT.
“Therefore, A.T. Shehu’s latest tantrums against me can be best described as a defeatist stand of a treacherous person.
“It’s bizarre and incomprehensible that Shehu, whom I single-handedly influenced his emergence as the Adamawa State PDP chairman against the wishes of the larger stakeholders, who knew him to be a betrayer, will turn around to betray me now just because of the crumbs he get from the table of his paymasters.
“The hatchet job by A.T. Shehu, which he dubbed ‘press release’, as a purported rejoinder to the newspaper interview I granted was done in bad faith, and it exposed him as ignorant, ethnic jingoist and a betrayer that he is for the world to see and know him better.”