‘I Won’t Jail Jang When I Become Governor, Says Lalong
THE All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Plateau State, Simon Lalong, has assured that despite looting state’s treasury, he won’t jail the incumbent governor of the state, Da Jonah David Jang, if he becomes the governor of the state. But Jang described the statement as a figment of his fertile imagination.
Lalong, however, said he would ensure that Jang and his cohorts cough out the loot to enable him to pay the civil servants in the state. He was a guest of the state’s Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Plateau State Council to showcase the candidates of the various political parties in the state.
Lalong, who said his party is on a rescue mission in the state to take over power from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), accused Jang of impunity, tribalism and bad governance.
Throwing light on Jang’s misrule in the state, Lalong said: “Teachers are not paid salaries, and so our children cannot go to school; pensioners are not paid; lecturers of state-owned tertiary institutions are on strike for lack of payment, Plateau State University is not accredited; no drugs in our hospitals, among many others.”
He said Jang had misused the state fund to renovate his personal house in Du when he claimed he was going to operate from his house. “Later he renovated Government Lodge, Jishe, and now a new Government House at Little Rayfield that gulped over N15 billion. This is different from the original Government House at Rayfield.”
On the debt profile, Lalong insisted that it is over N100 billion, adding that “with contractual obligation, outstanding salaries and pension, the state debt would amount to over N400 billion”, urging the government to take him to court if it claims otherwise.
He also denied that Dariye’s government, under which he was a Speaker of the House of Assembly, left a debt of N60 billion. Rather, he said the debt was cleared by the Olusegun Obasanjo government through the World Bank.
Lalong also claimed that the Sure-P fund amounting to N81 billion meant to emancipate the poor people in the state was misappropriated by the present government. “And when the state House of Assembly attempted to probe it, they were dragged to the court by the governor’s son.”
He said it was “impunity for the governor to appoint his son as a Special Adviser, and again give him the Ministry of Land and Survey to head”, adding that such appointment should have passed through the State House of Assembly, but that was not done.
He claimed that Jang must have done double registration that made his Permanent Voters Card (PVC) be seized. “I hear that he said he will tell Plateau people to vote with their Temporary Voters Cards (PVCs); does he think INEC is the same as PLASIEC that he can manipulate?”
Apparently reacting to the allegation of corrupt practices against Jang by the gubernatorial candidate of APC, the Media Aide to the governor, Mr. Ayuba Pam, described the allegation as a figment of imagination of the gubernatorial candidate.
Pam who dismissed the allegation said the outburst of the APC candidate was an indication that he lacked the knowledge of governance and did not know the workings of the government, adding that no government in the history of Plateau State has run a transparent government like the Jang.
According to him: “Lalong lacks knowledge of governance. He served and shielded the worst and corrupt government in the history of Plateau State. So, he has no guts to brand anybody of being corrupt. It is glaring that this government is transparent in all its dealings, especially in budget implementation and this gives credence to why EFCC honoured him as one of the transparent governor in Nigeria.
“His outburst is purposeless and irrelevant. He should devise another means of campaign instead of engaging in cheap blackmail. This won’t take him to anywhere. He will face the worst defeat if his life in the governorship election. He is an empty shell.”