Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State
By Bashir Musa Sati
Again, a certain factional Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Plateau State going by the name John T. Akans came up with another of his usual attention-seeking rant in a press statement on 11th January 2021 purpotedly castigating the APC led administration of Governor Simon Bako Lalong (aka Governor alert) over the minimum wage protests by “local Government employees”.
In his diatrite, the factional spokesman again exhibited his compound ignorance, mischief and unknown to him, finally revealed the real “SPONSORS” of the supposed protests by “local government employees” which his PDP faction invented in continuation of its desperation to discredit Governor Lalong and the APC over the implementation of the new minimum wage in the State.
All along, we in the APC had suspected that the sponsored protests were political gymnastics aimed at causing chaos in the State for the benefit of some vested interests, but the PDP factional publicity Secretary has confirmed to all that his faction of the party (or perhaps the whole of it) was behind this failed expedition.
If not to save face that their sponsored protesters were finally dislodged and the mission deemed a failure, how can he refer to those who blocked strategic roads, causing enormous hardship to motorists and putting the fragile economy of the State into danger as “peaceful, law-abiding” Plateau Local Government workers? Or can he explain why for about a month his so-called peaceful protesters locked out the entire workforce of the State from the State secretariat over a dispute that has no relationship with State Government workers? Does he know the implications of loosing precious man hours and the economic consequences for the business of the State?
His “peaceful and law abiding” protesters did not stop there but criminaly engaged in house-to-house harassment, intimidation and threatening of Government officials and their families. They were at the residence of the SGS, Head of Service, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs, Information and Communication and a host of others terrorizing their innocent children, wives, babies and nursing mothers and issuing all sorts of threats.
Curiously, these supposed “Local Government employees” did not for one day protest in front, or shut down of any of the 17 Local Government Secretariats in the State where they are supposed to direct their grievances. Neither did they visit the residence of any Local Government Council Chairman either in their LG headquarters or in the State capital. They were not even on strike which is the widely known avenue for aggrieved workers to withdraw their services in protest. What does the PDP factional spokesman take the people and Government of Plateau State for? Dumb or undiscerning? Does he think they public share the quality of their thinking and actions?
Now, Mr. Factional spokesman needs to explain who was providing the sumptuous meals, music, liquor and perhaps drugs to the protesters who were desparate in instigating another round of disturbance in the State which the wise and gentle Governor Simon Bako Lalong (aka Governor alert) refused to buy. Had he fallen for their antics, it would not have been only the exposed PDP faction that would be lamenting today, but they would have rented others to join them in playing the wailing script of condemnation just to get relevance whcih they lost long ago. We are wiser than this!
The PDP has been sulking ever since their attempt to disrupt the bye election for the Plateau South Senatorial District failed woefully. That is why they have turned their gun powder on anything that looks like an achievement of the Lalong administration by adopting their worn out and unintelligent tactics of lies, mischief, propaganda, fact-twisting and crying more than the bereaved. The people of Plateau State are not fools and can no longer be taken for a ride by a party they rejected and ejected from governance since 2015 which keeps using crude methods to return to relevance. They are disgusted that the PDP knew that they had no chance of winning the Southern Senatorial bye election and resorted to unleashing their sponsored thugs who blocked strategic roads including those leading to the southern zone in the days leading to the elections. They blocked Anguldi in Bukuru, Mangu, Shendam, among others even on the eve of the elections. All the time, they were chanting war songs, harrasing innocent citizens, raining curses and insults at the APC and Governor Lalong with the hope that it will give them electoral victory. They failed woefully because the people of the southern zone did not buy their lies. Today, Prof. Nora Dadu’ut is in the red chambers of the National Assembly as the people’s choice.
Of couse the sponsored protesters touched the tiger’s tail when they refused to vacate the arcade by the State secretariat for members of the Armed Forces to commence their rehearsals for the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance day parade and wreath laying. The armed forces are not politicians and would take none of it. They stood their ground depsite the attack by the supposed “peaceful Local Government protesters” of the PDP who even shot a soldier. At the end, many of them were arrested and after profiling, it turned out that majority were not Government employees nor even citizens of Plateau State. The real sponsors of the protests were now exposed and shamed. Yet, these are the people that the over zealous factional spokesman of the PDP referred to as “peaceful employees” seeking legitimate entitlements. Shame!
To save face therefore, the factional spokesman of the PDP engaged in his usual incoherent and pedestarn attacks on Governor Alert Lalong and the APC by alleging brutality against his “peaceful protesters” who in actual sense exhibited to everyone that they were anything but peaceful. To the public, they were “disruptive thugs” who wanted to cause chaos in the State but were largely ignored despite their provocative actions. The NURTW whose members suffered untold hardship and loses showed great restraint by not responding to the uncivilised blocking of roads for weeks.
Now, here is the summary of the facts amd verdict of the matter for you to take home Mr. Factional spokesman of the PDP.
- Governor Lalong did not hold LG new minimum wage.
- He has fulfilled his promise to be among the first to start to implementing the minimum wage (to State employees) in the country even when others with more money than Plateau are yet to implement. The process will soon be completed after the full negotiation is done with.
- The Governor could not have negotiate for local government councils which are a separate tier of government and have their constitutional financial autonomy. He was prevailed upon by the genuine LG employees (not sponsored thugs) and the Chairmen to advice them, which he did albeit reluctantly. At the end they had to settle within themselves.
- After the rigmarole and incitement by the PDP, the genuine Local Government employees sat with their Local Government Chairmen and resolved the matter (Check with ALGON and the unions for details please).
- Governor Lalong did not brutalise any Local Government employee on peaceful protests. Rather, some thugs dared the armed forces and had to be arrested. Even if the Governor had ordered the arrest of the protesting thugs, he was in order as that is his constitutional responsibility, to maintain law and order as well as protecting lives and properties in Plateau State!
- The Plateau State Government never asked the court to stop the agitation of Local Government employees for the minimum wage. Rather, it asked the court to order the employees to respect labour principles of negotiation (which the genuine workers did).
- Local Government Autonomy is real in Plateau State. Governor Lalong has broken the jinx by doing what PDP Governments in the State refused to do in 16 years. It is another goal for the silent achiever. If you have facts to the contrary, bring it out than engage in your usual empty and unintelligent propaganda. We also challenge the factional PDP spokesman to prove otherwise.
- Till date, Governor Lalong remains the darling of workers because he has kept faith with their wages and entitlements. He cleared all the 8 months arrears, no work no pay and others left behind by the PDP. He is also paying pension and gratuity which the PDP never contemplated even in the time of abundance. He has promoted thousands of civil servants with some getting promotions four times which were all denied them during the PDP era. He re-engaged about 2, 500 primary school teachers sacked by the PDP. Similarly, he re-engaged 100 PRTV staff that were sacked by the Government of the PDP. Factional spokesman, please keep off this area because the Lalong APC Rescue Mission has demystified your party’s incompetence and wickedness in this area!
If the name Governor ALERT hurts you, you may have to bear it for a very long time because it is a name “earned” based on evidence and testimony of Plateau State workers. It is not one of those cheap things that politicians of the PDP scramble to buy all over the place just to get a false sense of acceptance and to massage their ego. Stop deceiving yourself because talk is cheap.
We will like to caution the factional spokesperson of the PDP to stop playing politics with the salaries and wages of civil servants. His party did so in its 16 years sojourn and the consequences are before everyone to see. Governor alert Lalong believes in the biblical injunction that says “a worker is entitled to his wages” and remains determined to ensuring that no employee in Plateau State is denied his sweat.
Finally, and most critically, the factional spokesman should avail himself elementary courtesy on use of language and speech to people and the offices they hold and also strive to write intelligently his own script, rather than concocting (or being handed over) badly articulated lies to dumb on the public in the name of opposition. Governor Alert Lalong is very busy. Please dont distract him because he is busy working for a greater Plateau. Not everything is politics and this is how not to seek cheap political popularity and and sympathy of regaining lost relevance please!
Sati is State Secretary, APC Plateau State