Governor of Plateau State Simon Lalong has sworn in the newly elected chairmen of the 17 local government areas of the state with a charge to them to see their victory as a call to serve the people at the grassroots level.
The governor said the elections were conducted peacefully without any incident throughout the state. He said, “I use this opportunity to commend the people of Plateau State for their exemplary conduct, resilience and patriotism throughout the exercise.”
Lalong, who performed the swearing-in of the council chairmen at the new Government House Jos commended the Plateau Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) for conducting one of the best elections in the history of the state, adding that despite the legal fireworks that persisted up to few hours before the polls, they were able to carry out their constitutional mandate according to the law.
Lalong said without doubt, “this is a very significant achievement in the democratic journey and the efforts to build a Plateau that is inclusive, egalitarian and progressive. I’m delighted that all political parties and candidates had equal opportunity to participate in the process from the beginning, while those who had issues within their parties exploited all legal options to ventilate their grievances rather than resorting to taking laws into their own hands.”
He described as frivolous and unfortunate the rumours and disinformation being propagated by the opposition that he sidelined the PDP from participating in the elections.
He stressed that PLASIEC, which is an independent body, organised the elections according to the constitution and its guidelines, and his party the APC had to also comply.
“From today, you have ceased to be leaders of your parties, religious or ethnic groups only. You are to work for all citizens including those who did not vote for you. Furthermore, your victory is for the people and not an opportunity to settle scores with anybody or enrich yourselves,” he said.
On revenue generation and project implementation, Lalong said, “In developing your blueprints, you must think outside the box and explore other sources of revenue generation that will enable you to carry out people-oriented projects. You must key into the new joint revenue drive between the state and local governments which commenced last year in order to ensure that we tap from revenue sources that have been neglected over the years”.
He also asked them to take advantage of the full autonomy currently being enjoyed by the local government system in Plateau State to do more for their people by embracing prudence and accountability as well as give priority to the programmes and projects that have direct bearing on the lives of the people.
Responding on behalf of his colleagues, the chairman Kanam local government area, Alhaji Dayyabu Garga promised that they would do their best by consulting widely and carrying along all stakeholders in running the affairs of the local government.