A respected analyst of political events on the Plateau recently had a cause to ask why it looks like it is only the All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship candidate, Governor Simon Lalong that is the only one seen on podiums and  rostrums and standing behind lecterns to talk to the people of the state about his stewardship and  plan for them.

While it cannot be said that other candidates have not been campaigning, the level of interaction does not compare with what the APC candidate is doing.

Lalong has, aside the perfunctory address at political rallies, created a peoples’ assembly that radiates around his person and gives every person on the Plateau the opportunity to know what the governor plans for the state in his second term.

The campaign embarked upon by the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong has been well received across all the 17 local governments and senatorial zones in the state and it is evident that the people are eager to return a favourable verdict on the All Progressives congress, APC in the next elections.

In all the local governments in Plateau State, the APC governorship candidate has been welcomed  by a tumultuous crowd of eager voters whose excitement on the opportunity of an interface with the governor is boldly written on their faces.

This is unlike the PDP whose presence has all of a sudden dwindled  from important functions, such that people are beginning to ask if the party is serious about contesting elections.

While Governor Lalong is eager to interface with the people and explain to them certain policies of his administration as well as educate them on the ideals that drive his people oriented policies, the PDP governorship candidate, hitherto thought to be a major contender in the race, is avoiding such outings because he probably has nothing to offer.

For example, when the opportunity for the two major candidates to make their presentations to the electorate came by way of a public debate, the "Plateau Gubernatorial Debate" under the auspices of the "Plateau Gubernatorial Election Debate Group", the PDP candidate was nowhere to be found.

While candidates of ANN, Alex Ladan; SDP, Godfrey Miri; ADP, Gen. John Temlong; APC, Rt. Hon. Simon Lalong and; APP, Danauta Kyarshik and the other candidates turned up, the PDP candidate, Jerry Useni did not come and he failed to offer reasonable explanation  as to why he failed to show up thereby showing contempt for the electorate.

Everybody knows that the PDP is hiding something. The only thing the PDP keeps holding on to is the narrative that its candidate being  a retired general would give  the issue of security  priority.

But the PDP candidate knowing fully well that he would be held to task to back his claims with practical proofs and clear cut methods that are different from what the current administration in the state is doing, did not have the ball to face such a scrutiny and therefore adopted an escapist plan.

Lalong however, in a calm manner, was able to explain to the voters in Plateau what has been achieved and  further plans he has for adequate security when he returns for a second term.

The governor made it clear that he has been in pursuit of peace since the day he took the oath of office and that that is why for some time now the state has enjoyed peace consistently and without a break,

This he explained were achieved through engagements with communities and later the establishment of The Peace Building Agency, approval for  the establishment of 2 Police mobile barracks in Barkin Ladi and Shendam LGAs, Airforce Search and Rescue base in kerrang and the Early warning signals platforms. Appropriate legislation was also initiated with the review of appropriate laws to see to the sustenance of lasting peace in the state. 

The governor acknowledged that the people of the state have suffered a lot in the past but that the efforts of the current administration have mitigated the suffering while there are plans to do more.

“I am saying this is what I have done. Given the opportunity I will do more,” he stated adding that the plight of the people is his responsibility.

The governor made it clear that other tendencies that tend to add to the tension in the state like the lack of employment opportunities and non- payment of salaries have been handled to the acclaim of the people of the state.

He gave practical examples of what he is doing, like the buyback of BARC farms which will create opportunities for the teeming youths in the state to be employed and would increase agricultural yields in the state and ensure food security by wiping out hunger and poverty.

The governor recalled the provision of tractors to boost farming in the state and made reference to the 400 number of tractors he was able to provide for farmers at subsidized rate for mechanized agriculture to thrive in the state.

He said this is because no meaningful agricultural development can take place without the heavy duty components.

The governor also reiterated his partnership with the ASDP saying by next year, Plateau State will start exporting potatoes, while the inland container depot which would take care of freight business at the ports would commence in full scale.

On the drug problem bedeviling youths in the state, the governor showed his concern for the damage the use of drugs is causing the youths and narrated how he was touched when he visited the office of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA and saw firsthand the effect on the youths.

This the governor said he will tackle through a legislation that would see to the rehabilitation of those who have fallen victims of abuse by building rehabilitation centers..

The governor also said he believes in preventing the youths from taking the drugs rather than allow them to get disoriented by the effect of the substance before efforts are made to rehabilitate them.

The people were excited to see the on going schools and hospital projects going on in their locality under the Lalong legacy projects.

The big one has been the plans of the governor for the health sector. The governor affirmed a strong belief in Universal Health Coverage and the aphorism that "Health is wealth".

Governor Lalong said when he came on board he discovered that doctors were  not well treated so he harmonised their allowance and enhanced their package. He then promised to refurbish the Plateau Hospital and build new ones in Wase and Mangu while equipping all the government hospitals in the state.

Even on the issue of his stance on the Middle Belt, the governor took the more pragmatic approach for cohesion rather than segregation saying he believes in the unity of the country as he is from the northern part of the country and wants Plateau to excel in the north.

He wittingly made reference to how others go the ACF when it serves them right  but come home to claim other things to deceive the people.

But more importantly is the fact that the Rescue Administration on the Plateau has reiterated its readiness to consolidate on the gains of the 3Es of Engagement, Empowerment and Employment if elected for another four year term.

In the picture above, Gov. Lalong dedicating " Forgiveness Garden" on Plateau "Forgiveness Day", February 2, 2019.

Yakubu Dati is the present Information Commissioner, Plateau State