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Plateau Assembly Crisis: A Call to Action to Save Democracy on the Plateau and Restore Order

Written by on November 4, 2021

The attention of the Plateau State Government has been drawn to a statement purportedly issued by a former Governor of the State, Senator David Jonah Jang, wherein he raised among other issues, the recent happenings at the Plateau State House of Assembly and offered to lead a public protest of his supporters to reverse the situation.

The Government is shocked not only by the accusations and attacks by the former Governor on the person of his Excellency the Executive Governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Simon Bako Lalong, KSGG, but by the boldness of the former Governor to attempt to change the narrative and preach what he has never believed throughout his political life, all in a bid to fool the gullible members of the public.

Alas, the face behind the mask has been unveiled by no other than the masquerade himself. For those who have been looking for the person behind the ugly stage-managed incidences in Plateau State which culminated into the recent impeachment saga at the House of Assembly, the answer has come out in the most unexpected and spectacular manner.

While we do not intend to dignify the former Governor who is the least qualified to preach any morality about democracy in Plateau State and Nigeria because of his anti-democratic credentials, we deem it necessary to put the records straight and save the people of Plateau State and other discerning Nigerians from being whitewashed with false propaganda shrouded in sentiments.

There is no better case of “Pot calling kettle black” than the infamous sermon by former Governor Jang who is either suffering from amnesia, or has come full circle in the art of deciet that he is attempting to fool the people including himself. Here is a synopsis of his record as Governor with the Plateau State House of Assembly.

First, within the span of 8 years when he held sway, he enthroned and dethroned 4 different Speakers for the Plateau State House of Assembly in his reign of terror, impunity and high handedness. These include:

1. Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Goar

2. Rt. Hon. Istifanus Mwansat

3. Rt. Hon. John Clerk

4. Rt. Hon. Titus Alams

This remains one of the highest Speakership turnout in the history of Plateau State and Nigeria at large. Is this the same person that has the effontry to speak about impeachment and without any shred of evidence, input that His Excellency, Governor Lalong is behind it?

We are not surprised that he is intimidated by the democratic credentials of Governor Lalong which dwarfs all his claims of birthing democracy through NADECO (a record that no one acknowledges or associates him with it in Plateau State and elsewhere).

His Excellency Governor Lalong has contested and won elections since 1999, and till date remains the longest-serving Speaker of Plateau State House of Assembly, as well as the only one so far to emerge as Governor after suffering unfair impeachment in the hands of tyrants with military hangover like the one exhibited by former Governor Jang during his term. He survived recall from the House and later emerged as the National Chairman of the Conference of former Speakers of State Legislatures, a position he holds to date.

We again reiterate and make the point clear to him and his dwindling supporters that Governor Lalong has no hand in the impeachment of former Speaker Abok Nuhu Ayuba or the emergence of Rt. Hon. Yakubu Sanda as the new Speaker. If the former Governor has any evidence, then he can put it in the public domain and stop ranting and inciting the people against the Government. He is definitely being chased by his shadows and thinks every Governor will act with impunity and rascality like he did in his years of tyranny and misrule.

His Excellency Governor Lalong has set the enviable record of being the first Governor in Plateau State and indeed Nigeria to grant full autonomy to the Legislature and the Judiciary. To turn around and accuse him of meddling in the affairs of the House is not only uncharitable, but shameful.

The person we should actually hold responsible for the disturbances in the House of Assembly is the unveiled masquerade or “hand of Esau”  that has finally revealed himself after working behind the scenes to divide the House. If not, when did we have a situation where minority PDP opposition members turn out to be the only ones behind an APC Speaker? This is an aberration that Governor Jang should explain to the people of Plateau State and all lovers of democracy. Could he have ever tolerated such during his regime? But Governor Lalong doesn’t care to meddle like former Governor Jang because the legislature is an independent arm that determines its leadership and runs its affairs.

Is he even insinuating that the members cannot change their leadership if they so wish? Why is he crying more than the bereaved? If anyone is aggrieved, is Governor Lalong the Court of Law? Why would he not advice them to seek legal address, but rather resort to incitement and blackmail of the Governor and the Government? Would he have tolerated this during his bruttish regime? All of a sudden he has become a custodian of the Constitution and quoating it copiously!

We do not need to remind him of his mathematical wizardry that created the famous “16 is greater than 19” in his desperation to become the Chairman of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum, thereby bringing shame to Plateau State. This is the same person that is crying more than the bereaved and claiming to be holier than the Pope. The level of hypocrisy on display by former Governor Jang is his public statement is simply incredible and nauseating.

We consider the open threat by the former Governor to lead a protest on the House saga as a declaration of intent to truncate the peace of the State, and another attempt to continue his efforts in destabilising the State and the Government, having failed during the last Local Government elections which his party the PDP lost out due to his tyranny and dictatorship that gave birth to petitions and court actions that denied his party participation. Rather than bear full responsibility, he is shifting blames and looking for a scapegoat.

Let former Governor Jang know that the Government of the day will not fold its arms and watch the hard earned peace and stability being rubbished under the guise of protests. Since he has openly declared his intentions, he should be ready to bear responsibility for his incitement and threats, should there be a breakdown of Law and Order in the State.

We also wish to let former Governor Jang know that Government is fully aware of the role of his radio station JAY FM which has done everything unprofessional in broadcasting to bring down the Rescue Administration of His Excellency Governor Simon Lalong. His personal threats are just a confirmation of the tones of falsehood, disinformation, bias, provocative content, and inciting narrative that his radio station churns out day in day out, which has so far failed woefully to persuade the people to support him and his rejected party. He remains rejected and has remained a pariah since 2015 when the people embraced the APC and Governor Lalong.

The People of Plateau State will not forget in a hurry how former Governor Jang, out of ethnic bigotry and parochialism, tore into shreds everything that had hitherto bound together the over 54 ethnic groups in the State and how he turned Governance of the State  into Jang Family Business! Governor Jang, if he has returned to being the “man of God” he once claimed to be,  should learn to show some love to the  people of Plateau State, by allowing Governor Lalong concentrate on the hard work of delivering purposeful and all-inclusive governance as well as repairing the damage done to the State during the 8 years of tyranny and turmoil inflicted on the State by his  divisiveness and incompetence.

In any case, we advise him to concentrate on defending his case of misappropriation of 2 billion naira belonging to the people of Plateau State for which he is standing trial before the High Court of Plateau State. The people want to know where their money went to and will be glad to have it back at difficult financial times like this. Afterall, the misappropriated money was meant for empowerment of the vulnerable people in the State that the former Governor now claims to be speaking for. They will listen better when they get their money back.

Finally, the Government wishes to ask the good people of Plateau State to disregard the incitements of the discredited former Governor which he has tried unsuccessfully to hide under the veneer of “fighting for the preservation of Plateau heritage”. The people know him for his impunity and nepotism which no amount of fake and double-faced activism can wash away.

Plateau State belongs to all of us and nobody should destroy it for his selfish ambition. People who are perceived to be elders and acclaimed men of God should not stoop so low as to create crises and toy with the lives of innocent people who are looking for nothing more than peace to pursue their daily living. The Courts remain open for all who are aggrieved to approach it and seek redress. The former Governor’s tirades are therefore dead on arrival and should be consigned to the dustbin.

Let us always THINK AND ACT PLATEAU!

Hon. Dan Manjang

Commissioner for Information and Communication, Plateau State.

4th November 2021.


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