Lalong: Endless opposition fight, intrigues

Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau state, and his All Progressives Congress (APC), assumed office in May 29 2015, with high expectations by the masses that the administration will fulfill its campaign promises, which were anchored upon five policy thrust thus: “Peace, Security and Good Governance; Human Capital Development and Social welfare; Agriculture and Rural Development; Entrepreneurship and Industrialization; and Physical Infrastructure and Environmental development.”

Two years down the line, pundits are asking whither fulfilment of these promises? While pundits are of the views that greater feat has so far most of the promises have been kept, political opponents hold contrary views, saying that little was  achieved in terms of fulfilling the campaign promises.

The government of Lalong, in the past two years has been restoring the desired peace and also working towards its sustainability and confidence building as well as trust among the People of the State, according to Ado Abubakar Musa, a public affairs commentator, who further stressed that the government was able to just do that by impacting, “good Governance through all inclusiveness in its appointments, taking a great departure from mis-governance of more than a decade and half of democratic governance in the state.”

One other area worthy of mention which the Lalong’s administration did well is the payment of workers’ salaries, having met a situation of huge burden of unpaid salaries for eight months,  and to that effect, Mr. David John, a civil servants said; “this fulfilment of Governor Lalong’s promise to us is indeed, worthy appreciating and that is why we even nike- named him ‘Mr. Alert,’ who, by 25th of every months paid us our salaries,” thus, impacting positively on human capital development as well as social welfare of people in the state.

Perhaps, it was against this background that the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), through its President Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel, appraised Lalong, and awarded him exemplary leader, maintaining: “judicious use of Paris Club and bailout funds,” has greatly saved the civil servants, likewise NULGE’s counterparts, the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in the state, through their leaders, Comrades Dinatu Asibi, and Jibrin Bancir, said they appreciate the singular act of the governor who has paid all outstanding claims and salary arrears owed civil servants in the state, they encouraged him to see to the, “full implementation of minimum wage to LG and primary school teachers, payment of no work no pay, approval for the purchase of lands for worker’s housing scheme,” amongst others.

To the governor, payment of the workers’ salaries, is a, “great achievements,” contrary to his political opponents within the fold of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who hold the opinion that; “payment of salary is not an achievement but fulfillment of an obligation.” But Governor Lalong, replied that: “Non payment of salary is a criminal offense, therefore, payment of salary is an achievement, and to him, the payment of salary was very instrumental to bringing peace to the state”.

Similarly, Alhaji Yahaya Kwande, an APC chieftain was of the opinion that within two years Governor Lalong, has put back the state on the, “path of Justice,” and that everybody knows that there is  good change where,  peaceful living is in place.” The elder statesman said “besides peace, Governor Lalong’s, administration has been completing some of the uncompleted projects left behind by his predecessors and is now putting some new ones fashioned out by his government”.

Another sector which Lalong’s, two years of governance has impacted was that of the reopening and restructuring of the decade- old state owned University of Bokkos, which was closed down by his predecessor, living thousands of students, undergraduates roam the streets. But according to the state secretary of the APC, Alhaji Bashir Musa  Sati, Lalong, has within the shortest period of two years in office, “restructured the university, brought in Prof. Attahiru Jiga, as Pro-Chancellor and today, not only that the university has succeeded in securing full accreditation to 17 academic courses, by NUC but has for the first time graduated its first set of students.”

According to Sati, “The primary aims and responsibility of a government, first and foremost is the protection of lives and properties of the people, of which, today, Lalong, has succeeded in bringing to the people of the state, it is a fact that the state is now no longer a sacred cow when it comes to the issues of violence, and today it is one of the safest state.”

Also, in its efforts to jobs creation, the government has revived its owned moribund beverage company, the Highland Bottling Company, at Barikin Ladi, as well as the Bokkos fertilizer processing factory, after decades of closure, a feat seen by Sati, as fulfilment of the government campaign promises. He further alluded that some hitherto, neglected communities within Jos, are now getting government’s attention.

In the words of the President of Jasawa Community Development Association (JCDA), Alhaji Shehu Ibrahim Masalla; “we are so far satisfied with the performances of Governor Lalong, having he rehabilitated some dilapidated roads within our communities, and is now fully constructing new roads and bridges, unlike the past administrations of 16 years of neglect.”

However, the state chairman of Action Democratic Party (ADP), Chief Nanyah Andrew Daman, holds contrary views saying; “In Plateau state, the two years reign of governor Simon Boko Lalong can be rated 20% thus far,” and that, “.apart from payment of salaries has done little or nothing considering the quantum of money sent to the state from the bail out and Paris Fund.”
According to Chief Daman, the administration has nothing to show in the areas of; “Health, Education, as there is no new project that was initiated and completed except the 3km federal low-cost road leading to the governors personal residence,” alleging that; “Humongous amounts of money is daily being spent on vehicles while social amenities are lacking in hospitals, government schools, and youth centres.”

Governor’s Director of Press and Public Affairs, Hon. Samuel Emmanuel Nanle, countered that the governor has been running the government reasonably as directed by the duty of his office transparently and in line with approved procedures for committing the state to an expenditure.
According to Nanle; “The composition of Government  and appointment into political offices have shown inclusiveness not only of various ethnic groups but also gender and special groups,  all in a bid to inch some political capital out of the gullible and ignorant,” and that; “Perceived tribalism in appointments are the mischievous public commentary of politicians.”

Non- payment of salary is a criminal offense, therefore, payment of salary is an achievement and to him, the payment of salary, was very instrumental to bringing peace to the state

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