Plateau State, the home of the founding father of the ailing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Late Chief Solomon Lar – the emancipator – is one state many people thought would remain in the grip of the PDP even if other states of the middle-Belt falls to the wind of change of the All Progressives Party (APC), but all that is now history as the state fell to the rescue mission of APC led by Rt. Hon. Simon Lalong, ex-speaker of the state House of Assembly. Lalong defeated Senator GNS Pwajok of the PDP by a simple majority of total votes cast at the polls.
The wish of the state governor, Jonah Jang, was to hand over power to Pwajok, his party’s candidate. Pwajok is a student of his Redemption Programme on the Plateau, but that wish was dashed in the just concluded general election by the combined forces of power shift and labour leaders in the state who had a running battle with Jang throughout his 8 years’ reign.
Senator Pwajok, the Plateau PDP Governorship candidate, is one young aspiring politician that the youths on the Plateau wished had taken over the mantle of leadership in the state. In politics, however, certain variables come into play to change the game over night. That was exactly what took place on the Plateau as the votes from Jos North LGC of the state, over night, made ex-speaker Lalong, of the APC, winner of the state governorship poll.
Now, it is no longer news that the 16 year reign of the PDP in the state has come to an abruptly end as a result of the political miscalculations of those saddled with the responsibility of managing the affairs of the party in the state, and now Governor Jang, the Chairman of Governors Forum, will hand over power to APC governor-elect, Lalong, on the 29th of May at Rwang Pam Stadium where he, Jang, took over power from Senator Joshua Dariye 8 years ago.
Already, APC leaders on the Plateau seeing that power is now within their reach in less than six weeks has started firing at Governor Jang and his lieutenants, with Jang and his aides now putting up a defence to keep them afloat for the remaining days of the regime in power.
The Plateau State chapter of the APC, throwing its first salvo at Governor Jang, said it had uncovered plans by the Governor Jang-led administration to employ 6, 800 workers before the expiration of his tenure. The allegations were raised Monday by the State’s APC Chairman, Latep Dabang, at a press briefing held in Jos.
Latep said: “It has come to our notice that serious decisions that require serious policy considerations are being taken with respect to finances, creation of institutions, massive recruitment in key sectors of the state economy, without recourse to the incoming government.”
These, he alleged, include securing facilities from financial institutions, interviews/recruitments as well as promotions in the civil service.
He maintained: “We have it on records that massive recruitments are already taking place in several ministries, governmental sectors and the Plateau State University, Bokkos.
The APC Chairman added that, in some of the organizations where the alleged recruitments/replacements were recently carried out, were said to have been backdated to 2013/2014.
Further to the alleged purported mass recruitment saga, the APC Chieftain said, “It has come to our notice that about 6, 800 people are to be recruited, cutting across the following ministries and departments: Agriculture (500), Cabinet and Special Duties (500), Finance (250), Government House (175), Housing and Urban Development (200), Health (1, 500), Lands, Survey and Town Planning (100), Local Government (2, 750), and Works (275).
The APC leader alleged that the lists had been sent to the Civil Service Commission, through a Commissioner, for execution of the mandate.
Latep wondered why the Jang administration which had barely six weeks to go would embark on such major policy decisions.
It would be recalled that last Saturday, the APC in a press statement signed by the Director, Media, Publicity and Protocol of its governorship Campaign Organization, Festus Fauntet, alleged that the outgoing administration was embarking on a massive looting of the State’s treasury, citing some irregularities in the civil service records, lopsided appointments, sale of government owned landed property as well as conversion of government property for personal use, amongst others.
The PDP had, in its reaction, countered the allegations in a press statement signed by Mr. Clinton Garuba, Jang’s executive aide, and made available to journalists in Jos, the State capital.
It read: “Our attention has been drawn to a press statement issued by Media Aide to the governor-elect of Plateau State Barr. Simon Lalong in which some spurious allegations were raised against the governor of Plateau State, Dr. Jonah David Jang.”
The statement continued: “While the incoming administration has the right to be concerned about modalities for a smooth transition, it is petty for it to begin to peddle unsubstantiated claims in order to further malign the person of the Governor who has done his best for the good of Plateau State and in process scoring some cheap political points.
“It must be pointed out that the same Plateau people who gave the mandate to the incoming administration graciously gave the Jang administration the opportunity to serve and this we have done to best of our abilities.
“We hold our heads high because we delivered on the mandate given to us by the Plateau people as evident in the numerous projects that dot the Plateau landscape.”
“Our advice to the incoming administration is that it should concentrate on having a smooth transition process and going further to surpass the Jang administration because the bar of leadership has been raised. Plateau people now know what it means to taste meaningful development and will not accept anything less.
As the situation stands on the plateau right now, there will be no dull moment till the change of baton of power by May ending and more fireworks to be fired from both sides as Lalong assumes mantle of leadership as the 5th elected civilian governor of Plateau State.