By Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State a fortnight ago took his oath of office to commence his second tenure after his impressive outing during the 2019 gubernatorial election.
Lalong won the election against all odds despite the gang up by some elites in the state; who never wanted him as Governor at all cost since 2015. But luckily for Lalong, he was with the masses who queued behind him.
The Governor looks very prepared, serious and determined to make great impact on the lives of the citizenry in the next four years.
This suggests why the Apostolic Administrator of Jos Archdiocese and Coadjutor Archbishop of Abuja Archdiocese, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama went to the Government House to pray and seek God’s wisdom for Lalong as he kick starts the journey of governance for the second tenure.
It is obvious that Lalong can’t administer good governance in the state alone, though he is the visioneer, but he needs competent and capable hands who have the fear of God to run a righteous government.
This would be seen from his first three appointments in the office of the Secretary to Government of the State (SGS), his Chief of Staff and most importantly his Director of Press and Public Affairs, who to a very large extent should have practice Journalism and have mutual and better understanding of the workings of the media and journalists for both the print and electronic media.
Many have believed that having a reputable politician who have practiced Journalism in a national media to function as Director of Press, Special Adviser on Media and Commissioner for Information and Communication will help Lalong deliver on his vision of rescuing and taking Plateau to the Next Level.
These appointments are critical to the survival and effective function of Government in the delivery of dividends of democracy as they give proper direction with the directive of the Governor in running a near perfect and righteous administration.
Lalong, who has worked with most of his aids in the last administration knows who did what, at what point that deserves to be returned but certainly, there is need for him to rejig the Government and bring fresh thinkers who will help him deliver, particularly in the media sector.
For the position of the SGS, Lalong knows who fits in, having taking his time to observed since Hon. Rufus Bature resigned to contest Plateau North Senatorial elections.
There are speculations that the ex-SGS, Rufus Bature, the Director General Lalong/Tyoden Campaign Organisation 2019, Architect Pam Dung Gyang, Prof. Danladi Atu and some elders from Plateau Central have indicated interest in the position but the Governor has the last judgement of who fits into the position.
It was observed that discussion in some political quarters in the state are based on Arch. Pam Dung Gyang and Prof. Danladi Atu who are season administrators and have cultivated relationship with people within and outside the state over the years.
For the Chief of Staff, who is very close and directs most functions of the Governor, most people believe that he should be someone who is straight forward, God fearing and has the patience to work and give people hope.
There are speculations that the former Chief of Staff, Chief John Dafaan has also indicated interest in the seat. Some believed that Festus Fuanter, former Commissioner for Lands and Survey who work assideously for the reelection of the Governor fits in the position.
Some have a different opinion that the Personal Assistant (PA) to the Governor is a round peg in a round hole as far as the position of Chief of Staff to the Governor is concerned .
Their reasons are premised on the fact that he is a calm, good listener and always willing to resolve issues that affects the Government.
He was believed to have been the brain behind the settlement of most issues that affected Government in the first tenure, sometimes without even the knowledge of the Governor.
This suggest why most people are rooting and lobbying for him even without his knowledge because of the conviction that he will change the fortunes of the Government and the people in the next four years.
For the office of the Director of Press and Public Affairs, which has suffered for several years due to lack of appointment of seasoned Journalists who have learned the art of politics to be able to manage the media which is the most difficult and important sector of governance.
There are speculations that Hon. Stephen Jings, former Management Committee Chairman of Pankshin Local Government Area and secretary, Media sub-committee APC Campaign Council; he was also an Information Officer with the Local Government; Gloria Thomas, a Correspondent with Voice of Nigeria (VON) and a practicing journalist who had worked with Plateau Radio Television are eyeing the seat.
Another person on the list is, Hon. Ayuba Pam, former Special Adviser to Plateau State Governor on Media/Publicity. He was the Plateau State Bureau Chief of The Nation Newspapers and had reported for several national dailies including Crystal Magazine where he served as the regional editor North Central/Eastern Nigeria.
Pam was also an ex-Chairman, Correspondents’ Chapel, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Plateau State; National Media Director, Grassroots Mobilizers for Buhari/Osinbajo and a Radio Presenter with the Armed Forces FM Radio, Abuja and one of the Spokespersons of APC 2019 Campaign Council, Plateau State.
His wealth of experience in the media industry and politics placed him in a better position to manage the image Governor Lalong and the rescue administration for the prosperity of the state.
It is obvious that other persons are also lobbying for the seat but it is interesting to note that the media suffered tremendously in the last four years not because the Governor is not media friendly but most of those who were appointed have not practiced in the media and do not have fair knowledge of the workings of Journalists.
It was observed that some of the media aides to the Governor took advantage of their position for personal gains, leaving Journalists the image of the Governor in bad shape.
It is interesting that Lalong has made remarkable achievements in the last four years, particularly the “Lalong Legacy Projects” across the 17 Local Government Areas that most people are not aware of.
The Governor has said it severally that he is no longer looking for re-election but his thoughts and concentrations would be on how to raise the bar of governance through providing sound and enduring projects and bridge the gap between the young and the old generation for the prosperity of the State.
To realize this goals embedded in the 5 Pillar Policy Trust, credible, competent and God fearing persons who have worked for the success of the party and re-election of the Governor deserve appointment into key positions, particularly the media sector to enable Lalong to end well and installed a credible successor unlike his predecessors who failed in that regard.