Lalong and the travesty in Plateau

The seeming fraternity existing between gubernatorial aspirants and their deputies, especially at campaign periods has continued to emerge as a mere mendacious affinity.

This is because it could have been the best practice in line with democratic ethos for incumbent governors, who are serving their second and last term in office, to support the aspirations of their deputies to succeed them.

Unfortunately, not only the required support is missing, the governors tend to impugn and malign the personality and interest of their deputies, the moment such deputies indicate interest to succeed their principals.

At other times, the situation often precipitate to the subjugation of the inalienable rights and entitlements of such deputy governors who expressed publicly their ambition; or even impeachment processes instigated by the governors against such deputies, as witnessed in some states across the federation.

It is morally wrong and even against the intent of the constitution which presumes governors and their deputies are should work in synergy. Instead, deputy governors have been turned to political eunuchs (without any influencing relevance in the scheme of things).

Thus, it is obvious, most Nigerian politicians are bereft of political ideology; what prevails is the insatiable personal ego and interest, which becloud and short-change the incipient formative philosophy of the political-platform, which they rode to their privileged positions.

It is public knowledge that most governorship aspirants or even presidential candidates nominate their deputies, not because they profess same political ideology, but to fulfill the requirement of the law.

Presently, the Plateau state escapade stands out. Few days ago, a coalition, comprising all governorship aspirants of the All Progressive Congress (APC) which controls the state, remonstrated against the antics of the incumbent Governor Simon Lalong.

Instructively, all APC aspirants, except one, who happens to be the bone of contention, denounced the governor’s surreptitious imposition of an unpopular candidate. The APC governorship aspirants threatened to defect en masse with their supporters if the governor goes ahead with his plans.

At a press conference, spokesman of the aspirants, Chief Amos Gizo, urged the governor to allow all contestants, including his anointed, to test their electoral strength in a fair and free contest.

To amplify the apparent imposition move by Governor Lalong, another group has also emerged to further condemn the governor’s schemes. A more eminent assemblage of APC elders premised their public outcry on justice and equity and the need to preclude Lalong from hijacking the APC primaries, by imposing Dr. Yilwada Nentawe, who is said to be a cousin to Lalong’s wife, on delegates.

The state APC elders made their position known through a press briefing by their spokesman, Barrister Omar Shittien, himself a veteran, coming from Lalong’s Goemai ethnic group.

There is yet a different group, APC Elders Advisory Committee, chaired by Ambassador Danladi Wuyep, which had previously cautioned the governor, in the light of his biased inclination, on the need to ensure a level playing field in the primaries.

If there’s one thing every stakeholder in the state is agreed on, including the governor, it is that the next governor must come from the state’s central zone, as the rotational principle has ensured a sense of fairness, balance, and stability in polity.

Consequently, all those aspiring for the office of governor in the state, from both the ruling APC and opposition PDP, are mostly from the central zone of the state. It is pertinent to note that for a multi-ethnic state like Plateau, there’s an invaluable import to rotation within the state’s three geo-political zones.

In the situational context, it bears highlighting that Plateau state, despite its plurality of ethnic groups, is dominated by the big five ethnic groups, namely, Berom, Mwaghavul, Ngas, Tarok and Goemai.

However, it is worrisome, to state that Governor Lalong deputy of the last seven years, Professor Sonni Tyoden, a respected former vice chancellor of the University of Jos who has served the nation in various capacities, one of which was being on the Oputa panel with Father Matthew Kukah and late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, is now being sidelined.

The Plateau situation at once brings to mind Alexander Pope’s famous aphorism, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” For a man who attained power as a consequence of his predecessor doing a similar thing, it is a curious but apt demonstration of the corruption of power that Lalong will himself undertake the ignoble course that undid the man he succeeded.

To his credit, Lalong comes across as a humble man. He is not typically given to hubris. At the moment, though, it appears he is set to disprove this. Should he insist on playing God, he might find out, as the man preceding him did, that God, who gives power, is quite adept at humbling those who claim for themselves the privilege that belongs to Him.

Mohammed Isa Bilal,

Managing Director,

Royal Publicity Company,

No. 8, Shendam Street,

Jos, Plateau state


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