OPEN LETTER TO HON YAKUBU DATI COMMISSIONER OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION PLATEAU STATE

Dear Sir, 


I wish to draw your attention to a grievous mistake you made in your write-up “How Lalong Closed the Gap for Buhari in Plateau” on February 26, 2019. 


In the said write-up you attributed the mass votes gotten by President Muhammadu in Plateau State to the efforts of the Plateau State Governor, and gave him the glory alone saying that the performance of the governor in the state attracted the massive votes.


Sir, in as much as Governor Simon Bako Lalong contributed immensely to achieving the feat in colossally closing the gap at the presidential poll, you were unkind to so many stakeholders who played vital role in the realization of this success including President Muhammadu Buhari himself, religious sects, and ethnic groups that voted the president.


As a journalist, I embarked on series of investigations to know why despite the campaign in so many churches against voting for President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term in the state, the citizens disregarded the persuasion of the clergies that embarked on such calumny.  


There are people that voted for Mr. President because of the N-POWER scheme that they are benefitting or members of their families. So many of them used part of the meagre resources they got from the scheme and campaigned for the president. In this regard, Lalong has no effort in it.


There are also many aged people that are benefitting from the monthly N5000 stipends given to the vulnerable by the Buhari administration.  Most of the beneficiaries and their families showed appreciation by voting for the president.


There are those who based on the school feeding programme gave their votes to President Muhammadu Buhari. There are retired military, police and other paramilitary personnel that Buhari administration cleared their entitlements? There are the liquidated NITEL, Mtel and Nigeria Airways workers whose entitlements have been paid by the Buhari administration. There are also widows and orphans of the police, paramilitary and military personnel who died in active service that were paid the benefits of their late husbands and fathers. Most of them showed appreciation by voting for Buhari.   


The Federal Government Projects too such as; Baban Lamba road, Pankshin – Kanke- Bogoro- Gindiri Road, Mangu Regional Water Plant etc. all contributed immensely to attracting votes  to the President by lovers of infrastructural development.


The labour of some stakeholders such as Dame Pauline Tallen contributed a lot to the votes that President Buhari got in the state.
To state the obvious, Governor Lalong as a person aside being the governor, doesn’t have the crowd of followers Dame Pauline Tallen has. She was a minister, Deputy Governor, and a gubernatorial candidate of the Labour Party in 2011.

 She has a formidable structure across the state, and massive support of the female folk, not to mention her massive philanthropic acts to women, orphans, widows and the less privileged that greatly endeared them to her. Her structure helped Lalong to win the House of Assembly in 1998. And her structure too contributed immensely in the votes Lalong got in 2015 to emerge as governor. 


To buttress my points as facts, a typical example is the All Progressives Congress (APC) Southern Zone 2018 Senatorial primaries where it took the government two and half days to rig her out of the primaries. If Tallen is a light weight, it wouldn’t have taken the government two and half days to rig her out of the contest. Tell me which of the senatorial districts took two and half days to complete their APC senatorial primaries? 

It is a fact that she attended to thousands of people both in her house in Jos and Shendam, persuading them to vote for Buhari. Whenever she came before the elections her house was always a bee hive of people. Tell me one person in Plateau or in the Lalong administration that attended to thousands of people as Tallen did? 


Other stakeholders like Joe Ari and many federal government appointees laboured hard to the realisation of the votes Buhari got, not to mention the labour of many clergy.
As there were churches that solicited votes for Atiku there are clergies that really worked for Buhari too.


Can you count the number of the Izala Islamic Sect adherents that adhered to their leader’s advice to vote for Buhari? Is it Lalong that lobbied them to do that? Don’t they deserve accolades too? Is it Lalong that lobbied the Jonde Jam Fulani Association with thousands of its members to come out en masse and throw their weight behind Buhari? I can go on and on.


Sir, there is the task of getting a second term for Governor Lalong. Think about it. If all those mentioned above that contributed to the votes that Buhari got, got angry and decided to work against Lalong at the polls because of your write-up will it be nice?


Lalong deserves accolades for the votes but does not deserve to take all! You didn’t do well by giving him the whole glory. I will advise you take the statics of all those that contributed immensely and congratulate them for their efforts too.


Thank you!


Yours Shabul Mazadu

 Publisher, The Beacon newspaper