Why Jos North should not be ignored in “Next Level’ cabinet

As Nigerians await President Muhammadu Buhari’s ‘Next Level’ cabinet Muhammad Tanko Shittu writes on the concerns of Jos North local government area, Plateau state.

Anxious wait

As Nigerians anxiously await the list of persons that will make up the new national executive council under President Muhammadu Buhari, many communities across Nigeria are hopeful that some of their sons will compose the new cabinet, in appreciation of their contributions to the second term of the Buhari presidency.

In Plateau state, individuals and communities that had given their supports to the return of the Buhari administration, in specific terms, the Jos North local government area, which gave the highest votes from the state to the president, look forward with eagerness to the new cabinet.

However, in spite of their voting strength, which has not only brought President Buhari into power, but also has always been the hope of any governorship candidate in the state, they fear their loyalty has not always translated to reward by way of appointments. Their fear is palpable.

 The people of Jos North will readily tell that they voted massively for voted Governor Simon Lalong, ahead late Gyang Pwajok, to emerge governor in 2015. Sadly though, they are quick to say the gains of their respective communities in terms of appointments into key positions and provisions of infrastructure have not been commensurate with their investments.

Buttressing the argument, a group known as the Jos Political Forum (JPF) through its Coordinator, Auwal Abubakar, said their communities despite not being rewarded once more demonstrated their passion by supporting both the APC as a party, President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Simon Lalong, and all candidates of the party at pre and during the 2019 general elections.

In this latter effort, they are, however, wondering what would be their reward especially given the fact that the president is yet to constitute his cabinet for the new Next Level APC federal administration.

The antecedents of last four years, as its affects the development/progress or otherwise of the communities, reflecting on the physical happenings in terms of infrastructure development or appointments into key positions in appreciation of their efforts, must be taken into consideration as the federal cabinet is formed and other largess by way of federal presence allocated.

Governorship 2015
To put the records right, Plateau state has, 17 LGAs, and in 2015 the APC/Lalong, scored; 13,151, votes in Barkin Ladi, 28,770, in Bassa, 35,689, in Bokkos, 15,356, in Jos East, 117,443 in Jos North, 31, 760 in Jos South and 41, 513 votes in Kanam. They also got 18,458, votes in Kanke, 25,202, Langtang North, while 13,663, in Langtang South. 74,981, in Mangu, 12,512 votes in Mikang, 33,364, in Pankshin, 27,472, in Quan’pan, 7,253 votes from Riyon, 40, 464, in Shendam, whereas, Wase gave, 27,844 votes. From the above records one would be right to say if not for the block votes of Jos North LGA, the APC and Lalong wouldn’t have been elected into offices.

Presidential for 2015
APC/ Buhari won in only 5 out of the 17 LGAs, with 22,625, votes in Bassa, 11,765, in Barkin Ladi, 13,117, in Bokkos, 10,875, in Jos East, 177,505 in Jos North, 22, 490, in Jos South and 58, 859, votes in Kanam. 8,063, votes was scored in Kanke, 9,416, in Langtang North, while 9,977, in Langtang South, 52,977, in Mangu, 4,994,votes in Mikang, 11,558, in Pankshin, 19,616, in Quan’pan, 5,291 votes from Riyon, 25, 839, in Shendam, whereas, Wase gave, 35, 940 votes.

And whereas the presidential election results for 2015 showed that Jos North LGA, gave APC/ President Muhammadu Buhari, 177,505 valid votes, far ahead of all the 16 LGAs, out of the cummulative, 429, 140 scored in the state, again statistics indicated that the bulk of the 177,505 votes came from the Hausa and Fulani communities in the local government area.

Considering their morale and financial support before and during the elections, the people had strongly and still do hope that both the APC and President Buhari would have sufficient reasons to consider their sons for recognition and appointments into key positions. Some though are sad they may again be neglected and are pleading that there shouldn’t a repeat of the post 2015 experience.

A community member, Muhammad Salisu Muhammad said; “when the president was making appointments in 2015, we thought members of our communities would be considered, but none was deemed qualified and important to be so appointed. While the state governor, Simon Lalong, is from the Southern Zone of Plateau state, Mr President also appointed his former minister, Solomon Dalung, from the same Southern zone.”

“We could recall that the president also appointed two ambassadors from the state, and initially both late Abdullahi Wase and Mrs Pauline Tallen hails from same Southern zone of the state, and when Mrs Tallen rejected the appointment, her replacement was made with Mr.James Dimka, from the Central zone, where the deputy governor also hails from.”

According to Muhammad, at the APC level, two Board of Trustee (BoT), members that represented the state, Mrs Pauline Tallen and Alhaji Yayaha Kwande, all hails from the Southern zone same with Simon Lalong, stressing that as if that neglect was not enough, the APC appointed Hon Ibrahim Dasuki Salihu Nakande from Jos North LGA, who was the pioneer secretary of the party in Plateau state as its zonal Secretary North Central, yet the state chapter of the APC, met, rejected it, and the national secretariat replaced him with yet another non contributing member, Zakari Muhammad Wase, from same Southern zone of the state.

It is imperative to stress that from the narratives, it was certain that unfair and lopsided appointments in both government and party positions were mated on the Northern zone of the state. The community leader said the most especially neglect has been visited on Jos North, which is the only LGA aside Jos East that the APC won, out of the six from the zone.

Consequent upon that a pressure group within the APC fold, christened ‘APC Jos North Next Level Promoters’, frowned at how things unfolded in the last period of four years, saying their people have again deemed it wise to vote Simon Lalong and President Muhammadu Buhari, but fear they may not be rewarded as due.

Governorship for 2019
The communities also threw their weights in of support of Simon Lalong to help him bulldoze Senator Jeremiah Tumbut Useni out of the way to Government House. It is important to also reflects on the APC scores per LGAs, where it had 18,680, votes in Barkin Ladi, 29,401, in Bassa, 26,219, in Bokkos, 18,602, in Jos East, 108,847 in Jos North, 33,075, in Jos South and 54, 394, votes in Kanam. They also got, 23,360 votes in Kanke, 18,979, in Langtang North, 33,075, in Langtang South, 44,964, in Mangu, 15,150 in Mikang. 35, 769, in Pankshin, 31,962, votes in Quan’pan, 12,729 votes from Riyon, 61,646 in Shendam, while Wase gave, 37,593 votes.

Justice and fairness demands that Governor Simon Lalong show of appreciation to the communities that have done so well using both their resources, time and votes to ensure his successful at the polls. Likewise, the APC as a party and President Buhari as an individual should appreciate them as well.

Presidential 2019
As the APC Jos North Next Level Promoters, have said, they have again reposed confidence on President Buhari by mobilising their people to vote massively him. It is important to reflect on the scores per LGAs, if at all such is another yardstick for measuring who gets what in the tenure of, “rewarding loyalty and hard work,” as President Buhari has promised.

Ironically, the APC/Buhari, won in only 5 out 17LGAs, in 2015, same pattern was repeated in 2019, where he scored, 15,390, votes in Barkin Ladi, 27,632, in Bassa, 18,328, in Bokkos, 11,847, in Jos East, 93,800, in Jos North, 25,574, in Jos South and 51,017, votes in Kanam. And 17,946, votes in Kanke, 16,665, in Langtang North, 25,574, in Langtang South, 42,947, in Mangu, 10,869, votes, in Mikang. 21, 607, in Pankshin, 20,872, votes in Quan’pan, 8,710 votes from Riyon, 38,196 votes, in Shendam, while Wase gave, 35,931 votes, respectively.

The APC group through its chairman has called the attention of the president saying; “We are certain that Mr President is not forgetful of our people’s glaring unshakeable loyalty, show of inner most love and admiration, even for his political ambitions including the quest to become president,…”

Political pundits are also of the opinion that going by the 2015 and 2019 results, alone both the APC as a party and President Buhari, as an individual, “there isn’t any community to be considered first, than those of the Jos North.”

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