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Waiting For Lalong’s Cabinet

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As stakeholders await the unveiling of Governor Simon Lalong’s cabinet in Plateau State, ACHOR ABIMAJE, captures the raging intrigues

Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State dissolved the last state cabinet few days to the May 29, 2019 inauguration of his second tenure in office. The governor dissolved all the political appointees including his chief of staff, commissioners, special advisers, senior special assistants, head of boards and parastatals among others.

Unlike some of his colleagues however, he didn’t sack the local government chairmen in the state.

However, while some watchers in the state decry the seeming delay in constituting a new cabinet, others are mindful of the intense lobbying for positions vis-a-vis the governor’s challenge to ensure he gets an inclusive government.

This is as the governor has kept the people of the state in the dark as to when he will constitute a new cabinet.

Some watchers of Plateau politics opine that the governor is waiting for President Mohammadu Buhari to constitute the federal cabinet before he sets up his own in the state just like he did in his first term.

But LEADERSHIP gathered that the governor’s wife, the APC chairman of the state, tradtional and religious leaders are some of the influential figures who have been approached  by lobbyists in the state to seek positions.

Nevertheless, the governor holds the ace as far as who becomes the commissioner in the state.  Pundits say this is unlike in 2015 when the governor allowed nominations from council areas resulting in some appointments without the consideration of merit.

Besides, ahead of the 2019 governorship election he had, in strategising towards ensuring his victory at the poll, created six additional ministries to the existing 17. This raised the number of commissioners to 23 instead of the normal 17 commissioners representing the 17 local government of the state.

Still, some elders in the state under the auspices of Plateau Political Elders’ Forum (PPEF) have asked Lalong not to repeat the mistake he made in choosing members of his new executive council.

They urged him to rather allow competence, credibility and experience be the guiding spirit in the choice of new members of his emerging cabinet.

The elders in a statement made available to newsmen in Jos commended the governor for dissolving the former commissioners, describing some of them as lackluster and incompetent.

The statement, which was signed by the President Ayuba Shown and Secretary,   Bitrus Naiwaazi Nawaaizi, said,  “”What we are asking Lalong now is not to repeat the same mistake he did in choosing them, but he should allow  competence, credibility,  experience guide him this time around.”

The elders warned Lalong that the days of compensation of party men are over, stressing that “Now is the time to choose technocrats and professionals to do the job in  order for him to achieve his vision and mission for the state.”

But the APC state secretary, Barrister Bashiru Sati,  while reacting to allegations that the delay in the constitution of cabinet by governor Simon Lalong has grounded government activities in the state said it was not the case,  adding that the delay by the governor was in good faith.

According to him, the governor has to go through  the lists of the people to be appointed as commissioners and special advisers. He said the lists has to go through serious scrutiny, saying the delay is in the best interest of the people of the state

Sati pointed out that there is no vaccum because all the ministries have  permanent secretaries and directors who are beaurocrats and are on top of their respective ministries in the state.  “I do not want to belief that the delay has crippled government AC ivites in the state.”

But the PDP publicity secretary in the state, Mr. John Akans, said they have just witnessed four years of wasteful administration of the APC in the state adding that the good people of the state should also be ready for another four wasteful years of maladministration .

He added that as a leader once you are elected, you are supposed to swing into action or hit the ground running by appointing your commissioners and special advisers. He added that the governor can not govern the state alone.

Akans pointed out that the delay in appointing commissioners and other aides has crippled government activities stressing that there is no commissioner to implement government policies and programmes for the betterment of the people of the state.

The PDP spokesman said APC as a political party was founded on falsehood and that they are not prepared for governance .” Tell me any tangible project this administration has executed in the state in the last four years.” He said

On his part, Comrade Steve Aluko from the civil Society Organisation (CSO) community, said going by the constitution, it is wrong for the governor not to constitute his cabinet within a certain time frame. He said it is very wrong as the people will not get the desire dividend of democracy in the state.

According to him, the delay in doing such will compromise the process of government adding that the earlier the cabinet is setup the better for  the state House of Assembly to commence the process of screening so that they get themselves acquinted with the policy direction of government with the view to implement them for the good of the people.

He added that with this developmemt the governor is setting a bad precedence in the state.

But a staunch supporter of the APC Malam Nagelu Garba disagreed with the assertions of Aluko, saying the governor is taking his time to appoint credible and qualified people that will drive and implement the state’s policies.

Be that as it may, the people of the state are anxiously waiting for governor Lalong to form his cabinet as they seriously yearn for good governance and dividend of democracy.

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