The gubernatorial flagbearer of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Plateau State, Rt. Hon Simon Lalong has assured that in spite of the much loot from the state’s treasury by the incumbent Governor of the state, Da Jonah David Jang, he would spare him from going to jail if he becomes the Governor of the state.
He however said he would ensure that Jang and his cronies coughed out the loot back into the treasury to enable him pay the civil servants in the state that the Governor had starved for months.
Lalong was a guest of the state’s Correspondents’ Chapel at a media forum organised by the chapel to showcase the candidates of the various political parties in the state.
The APC candidate, who said his party was 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.
Lalong insisted that the state’s debt profile was 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 alleged that the Sure-P fund amounting to N81 billion meant to emancipate the poor people in the state was misappropriated by the Governor. “And when the state House of Assembly attempted to probe it, they were dragged to the court by the Governor’s son.”
He 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 World Bank.
But in a reaction, Executive Assistant to Jang, Mr Clinton Garuba said it was unfortunate that Lalong had reduced himself to peddling rumours which were at best, nothing more than beer parlour gossips and wondered why Lalong would continue to spread rumours to incite the people against Jang instead of selling his candidature to the electorate.
Garuba said it was a shame for Lalong to feign ignorance of the fact that the Dariye’s Government which he was a major player in, left a debt of over N80 billion as contained in the handover notes. “He has carried on with bandying figures from 100 billion, 168 billion, to over N200 billion and now he is talking about over N400 billion even after the debt profile of the State had been published by the debt management office and is in the public domain”.
On the Sure-P funds, he wondered how a monthly remittance of about N212million from March 2013 to date would be N81 billion. He further said this was a clear indication that Lalong was a desperate and drowning man who would do anything to stay afloat, including maligning and disparaging others. He advised the APC and its governorship candidate to concentrate on selling their party and Lalong rather the campaign of calumny which would not help.
He said it was “impunity for the Governor to appoint his son to 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) to be seized. “I hear that he said he will tell Plateau people to vote with their Temporary Voters Cards (TVCs); does he think INEC is the same as PLASIEC that he can manipulate?”
He said the PDP had lost its popularity; the reason a one-time BoT Chairman of the party publicly tore his membership card.