Lalong is sick and needs a doctor

3 years 6 days ago - 3 years 6 days ago #1781 by patrickd

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Immediate past Plateau State governor and member, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustee (BoT), Senator Jonah Jang has revealed his intention to contest next year’s presidential election.. He berated President Muhammadu Buhari for his inability to tackle herdsmen’s killings. He also spoke on other national issues.

Recently, former president, Olusegun Obasanjo and former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, advised Buhari not to seek a re-election. What do you think?
Well, every Nigerian has the right to say what he has in mind, after all, the president didn’t go to Aso Villa himself, he was elected and the people asking him not to contest again may have voted for him in 2015. I believe they voted for him that is why they are now telling him that they cannot vote for him again in 2019, that is my understanding of the position of the two leaders. They have the right to express their own views, it is up to the President to decide whether to re-contest or not but the Nigerian voters will then decide whether they want him or not.

Do you think Buhari has done well to deserve a re-election?
When we were doing well, did they acknowledge that we were doing well? And those of us that performed, they are pursuing us all over the country, but they are not performing, everybody knows that.

The Middle Belt appears to be shopping for a credible presidential candidate to contest the 2019 election, are you interested?
I am in politics not to come and tell you that I am not interested in any position, why am I in politics? I am there to serve my people and Nigeria, I have done it during the military, I am now doing it within the political arena, if Nigerians really feel that I am worthy of their confidence and they believe that I can do it and they ask me to contest, I will pray to hear from God his purpose concerning my life, and if God says yes, who am I to go against God and my people?

What is your take on restructuring?
We cannot be calling ourselves a federation and yet running a unitary system of government, the two doesn’t work together. If we want to run a federal system of government, we should run it properly. It is unfortunate that during the military which I was part of, we believed in unitary and any time we were in power, we ran a unitary system and when we were trying to give the nation a constitution, we didn’t think deep into it and we ended up giving the nation a unitary constitution to be operated in a federal system of government, that is why nothing is working. So if we really want to progress as a country, we must restructure the country.

Are you worried over the killings by Fulani herdsmen in Plateau and in the Middle Belt?
Those of you who have been in Plateau since I was the governor can attest to the fact that I am worried over the gruesome killings in the state and in the Middle Belt. This was the problem I faced for good eight years when I was the governor. I tried to make people understand that I inherited the problem from the previous administration and tackled it headlong. I believe that I achieved a lot despite my disadvantage position of been called a Chief Security Officer of a state without having the power to command even a fly, which I still believe is the situation till date. We cannot continue this way. Some of us grew up with the Fulani herdsmen and we know the quantity of cows that have been in Plateau but suddenly, we are seeing strange people coming from different places that we don’t even know. I have asked questions in the senate whether these people are dropping from heaven, the geopolitical zones that they are now operating are not within our borders, and if they are coming through the borders, why are they not doing the same thing with the border states instead of coming into the hinterland? It means somebody is giving them access from the border and that has become a source of worry.

Whenever these people are arrested, they disappear within one or two hours and you will not even hear about them again. We know herdsmen carry sticks but these days, herdsmen are carrying very sophisticated guns and killing people at will and I believe that they are not only herdsmen, they are coming to accomplish just a purpose and that purpose is grabbing land and occupying it. Unfortunately, the present administration doesn’t seem to be up and doing in solving the problem which gives room for a lot of suspicion.

What is your take on the debate on whether to have cattle colony or not?
I have said that we are colonised by the British, we cannot be colonised by herdsmen again. What do they mean by colony? Look, cattle rearing is farming (Animal husbandry), will they give the same priority to people who are rearing dogs, pigs and others animals?
The government has to take some drastic actions, these people are not Nigerians, they are trying to hinge their argument that Fulani doesn’t have boundaries, and there is no body in this world that doesn’t have a boundary of where he is coming from. They are coming from somewhere, where were they before? I am over 70 years and I have never seen these types of Fulani with my eyes, where are they coming from? They should be sent back to where they are coming from and let’s contend with the ones we have in Nigeria. We have a way of settling our problem with a Fulani man whose cows eat or damage crops in the farm without going to court. But these ones that are carrying gun and killing people, they cannot be Nigerians, they must not be allowed in the country.

What is your assessment of Governor Simon Lalong’s administration?
Since I left office in 2015, Lalong has never contacted me about anything. Let me say it today that at the time Lalong was declared winner of the election, I wrote him a letter as the then governor inviting him into the government house for me to brief him in preparation to handing over, I filed that letter personally and he did not respond. By age, I am older than Lalong, I am his immediate predecessor, I expected him to come to my resident out of respect for my age to even greet me, he has never thought of doing that, will I force myself on Lalong? It is a sick man that needs a doctor, if he thinks he is well and doesn’t need a doctor, good enough.

There are some of you political benefactors at the National Assembly that have decided to turn against you, do you regret raising them?
I can’t be threatened by anybody for anything at my age. But in a family, when you are raising children, there are some that suddenly become troublesome but I have not given up on them, I still believe in them and I believe that one day they will appreciate me if somebody also do the same thing to them. But I have not giving up, I will continue to pray for them always.

If you have another opportunity to govern the state, what will you do differently?
Thank God I will not have another opportunity at my age to run a state, but frankly speaking, nobody is an angel, we made our mistakes and I expected that when an administration takes over, they should not start castigating all that somebody did and forget the good ones, they should acknowledge that this man made progress here and made a mistake there, let me emulate the good and avoid his mistakes. But the present government is castigating us to cover their lack of performance, they kept shouting for three years, blaming the previous government, has that translated into development in Plateau?

There are allegations that PDP lost power in the state because of imposition, what do you think must be done to avoid a repeat of such incident in 2019?
Thank God you said losing power, not that we lost election. The Buhari thing was like a hurricane and the fact that Jonathan surrendered the presidency, everything started going in favour of the APC, that is why we are now saying that other elections should be held before the presidential elections so that people will have time to select their people at the local level before they elect those at the national level properly because after a president has been elected, nobody want to be in an opposition, people started changing camps, even some of the people in PDP went and join forces with the APC once Goodluck Jonathan was defeated.

Are you confident that PDP will bounce back in 2019?
This is one thing that I have against Nigerian Journalists, they don’t do investigation. I want somebody to tell me that I have done investigation and that PDP is doing well and these are areas they need to improve on to come back to power but you want people to be giving you all the answers, I cannot tell you our plan of how to come back to power in 2019, otherwise I will be revealing our effort to the ruling APC. But we are working.

Last edit: 3 years 6 days ago by patrickd.

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