Supporters of the Plateau State government and APC under the name ‘Plateau Peace Vanguards’ has released a press statement addressing the maiden press briefing of the Plateau State Chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) by Hon. Damishi Tonson Sango the new Chairman of the Party in the State, held on Monday 29th of August.
The group in their text described Sango’s press briefing as an exercise in futility saying it was aimed at misleading well-meaning citizens of the State.
Read full text below:
THE PDP MAIDEN PRESS BRIEFING BY HON. DAMISHI SANGO—A HOAX
We have read with sheer humour the maiden press briefing of the Plateau State Chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) held on Monday 29th of August by Hon. Damishi Tonson Sango the new Chairman of the Party in the State. We would have preferred to shrug off the noise by the PDP with some disconcerting silence, but in the said press briefing, to which our attention has been drawn, Hon. D.T. Sango has raised some issues which cannot be ignored in view of his tendency to mislead the teeming patriotic and well-meaning citizens of the State. This fiction-like narrative fabricated to hoodwink unsuspecting Plateau citizens deserves a rejoinder.
By and large, the timing of the press briefing is well understood, for it is coming at a time that the Government of Plateau State under Governor Simon Bako Lalong, being responsive to the yearnings and aspirations of the citizens of the State, has raised a Judicial Commission of Inquiry with a clear mandate to probe the shady deals of the immediate past PDP Government in the State, and return the people’s looted funds stashed away in private accounts. This was the same tendency that trailed the setting up of Technical and Professional Audit Committees to sustain the tracking down and recovery of funds and application of funds to certain programmes, projects and MDAs. It is our contention here, that no matter the degree of propaganda by the PDP, all that was swept under the carpet by the Jonah Jang Administration would soon be uncovered!
Text of the Press Briefing
After perusing the text of the said press briefing, our conclusion is that it is rather an exercise in futility since it has simply raised issues which are not even relevant to the subject-matter. For whatever, it represents, the despicable absurdities contained in the press briefing can easily confound the mind. This is apart from the litany of lies it tends to bandy about, in the name of “restoring the fortunes of the party”, a mission impossible. With its sheer elemental half-truths and deliberate falsehood, the press briefing obviously smacks of the familiar antics of the PDP to divert attention and project an alibi for its reckless handling of the people’ affairs for sixteen (16) years of sleaze, ineptitude and injustice. These are mere shenanigans aimed at distracting attention. In short, given the tone of the press briefing, one does not need to read between the lines to understand that the PDP is being haunted by its inglorious past. In his diatribes, Hon. Sango has sold himself away as a self-confessed Plateau politician who is not conversant with the real situations in the State. It is sad that Hon. Sango the supposed elder statesman is speaking like an outsider, for the issues raised are grossly unsubstantiated and not backed by any concrete evidence!
Unfounded Allegations of Maladministration and Corruption
One of the allegations of the PDP, which is grossly unfounded, is that which accuses the current administration of maladministration, misrule and mis-governance. From every indication, the PDP appears to be desperately trying to hush up the profile of an administration which was criminally culpable for such vices during its days. It is common knowledge that the out-gone Jonah David Jang regime was characterised by a cesspool of unbridled corruption and brazen impunity. To hit the nail on the head, it is rather amusing that the PDP has exposed its pedigree of mischief and insensitivity by choosing to ignore the very strong testimonies of the teeming citizens of Plateau State on the eight-year rule of Jang can be equated with the throes of hell-fire. What a way to glorify a villain whose sadistic style of governance has left much sorrow and bitterness in the heart of the average citizen!
The Jonah Jang administration will continue to be remembered for its legacy of high-handedness, misrule, arbitrariness, nepotism and gross insensitivity to the plight of the citizens, amongst others. There is no gainsaying the fact that his unconscionable style of governance has left many families in the State bereaved and deprived of their loved ones and breadwinners due to anti-people policies such as non-payment of civil servants’ salaries, non-payment of pensions, deliberate violation of due process in appointments and promotions, undue favouritism, etc. In short, under Governor Jang it was a spectacle of woes, abject poverty, nauseating orgies of violence, psychological trauma and frustrations! Hon. Sango is yet to tell us about the staggering debt profile of N104bn left behind by Jang, in addition to the N18bn loan he took on the eve of his departure.
LG Staff Salaries
Emphatically, it is not for us here to dissipate energy on addressing Hon. Damishi Sango’s folly, but for the sake of putting the records straight. In his wildest imagination, the Plateau State PDP Chairman has alleged amongst other things that this administration owes LG staff up to a year’s wages. This sheer demonstration of mischief does not only expose his fickle-mindedness, but also betrays his tendency for trivializing issues. If Hon. Sango checks his records, he would discover that in this allegation, he is obviously referring to the Jang administration which has left behind a backlog of LG workers’ salaries for about 8 months as at 29th May 2015. It is on record that after inheriting this backlog, the Gov. Lalong administration has worked assiduously towards settling LG staff salaries up to date. We stand to be contradicted!
Ranching or Grazing Reserves Policy
For this issue which has since been dispensed with to be re-echoed by the PDP in the State, it shows the desperation of the Party to overheat the general polity and generate bad blood. The position of the Plateau State Government under Governor Simon Bako Lalong is very clear and unambiguous. It would be recalled that a couple of months ago, after receiving the preliminary reports of the 14-member Committee on the implications of implementing the Grazing Reserves peace in the State, the Simon Lalong-led administration made known its preference for the Ranching policy.
It is regrettable that Hon. Sango has forgotten so soon that it was not the Governor Lalong administration, but the then government of Jonah David Jang that accepted the recommendation of the Justice Niki Tobi Judicial Commission of Inquiry that Grazing Reserves and Permanent Grazing Routes be established in some violent-prone LGAs of the State. We refer him to Pages 88-89, Section 3.137 of Government White Paper which came into effect on 9th April, 2009. We must emphasise here that the content of this White Paper is quite revealing much as it has further exposed the soft underbelly of the PDP’s desperate propensity for double-speak.
The Rescue Mission on the Plateau
Since inception, the Governor Simon Lalong-led Government came with the mind-set to give succour to the average Plateau person who, under the Jang administration, had been subjected to 8 years of vindictiveness, nepotism, injustice and greed. At least, the Plateau person can now heave a sigh of relief that we now have a government with a human face because of the impact of its uncommon people-oriented achievements! We make bold to state here that in terms of practical steps towards solving a myriad of problems in the State, the administration has been able to weather the storm generated and left behind by Jonah David Jang. The cardinal philosophy of the Rt. Hon. Lalong administration which is anchored on the “Rescue Mission” is focused and has a clear direction towards a total rescue of the Plateau people.
There is no doubt that the change mantra on the Plateau as exemplified by the Rescue Agenda under Governor Lalong presents an entirely different, but positive reality about good governance in this promising State. Only an ignorant and mischievous person will claim to be unaware of the achievable benchmarks encapsulated in the five pillar policy of the Governor Lalong administration. These include: Peace, Security and Good Governance; Human Capital Development and Social Welfare; Agriculture and Rural Development; Entrepreneurship and Industrialisation; and Physical Infrastructure and Environment. Against this background, and given the lofty ideals of the 5-point Rescue Agenda, we find it difficult to see any remarkable impact by the Jang administration’s bogus 10-point Redemption philosophy which was a conduit-pipe that was perfectly designed to fritter away the people’s funds.
Within the short period, the Simon Lalong administration achieved milestones. Projects undertaken so far are: intensive work on the Secretariat Fly-over Bridge and the Yakubu Gowon Dual Carriageway; Rehabilitation of Roads within the Greater Jos-Bukuru Metropolis; Renovation of the West of Mines High Court; Completed the Renovation of the State House of Assembly Chamber; Payment of Backlog of Salaries for Six Months and Pensions for Three Months; Effected Payment of Counterpart Funds for the World Bank-Assisted Community and Social Development Agency for Intervention in Ten Communities; Payment of Backlog of Scholarships to Students of Law School and other Tertiary Institutions; Prompt and Transparent Distribution of 650 Truck-loads of Fertilisers through District and Ward Heads; On-going Construction of 18 Metropolitan Roads amongst which are the Federal Low-Cost Housing Road and the Rantya Road Networks; Resumed Renovation of the Presidential Lodge, and a host of Local Government projects, etc. All these have been achieved in a record of less than one and half years!
PDP: A Ragtag and Bobtail of a Party
It is not our responsibility to help the PDP to reorganise itself, for doing so would be another invitation of chaos, misery and misfortunes on Nigerians. Do we need to remind Hon. Sango that he is leading a remnant of a beleaguered entity whose days are already numbered? The PDP should concentrate on addressing the Albatross hanging over its neck and stop chasing shadows. Nobody is to blame by the PDP for its failure to remain in power, for it was largely responsible for sowing the seeds of its own decline, having failed Nigerians.
Though it is an internal affair of the PDP, we doubt whether the combination of Hon. Sango’s double-standard and Sen. Jang’s imperial tendency can pull the Party out of the woods. We are optimistic that the alliance between these two strange bed-fellows would soon be a thing of the past. With the benefit of hindsight we recall how Hon. Damishi Sango had assessed the vainglorious leadership style of Jonah David Jang. In an interview granted to the Vanguard Newspaper of 15th November 2010, Hon. Sango had barred his mind about Jonah Jang. Excerpts of the interview captioned ‘Jang has not delivered on his 10-point Agenda-Damishi Sango’ read as follows:
‘As I have pointed out, a governor is elected to offer leadership in the provision of vital social services, and infrastructure for the people; enhance security of lives and property, and give hope to the people. If what we have seen of the governor’s performance is anything to go by, he has failed. If he wants four more years, the question people are asking is, four years for what? More security and permanent militarisation of the State? More mass failure in WAEC/NECO because government has abandoned education? More collapse of the health system? More collapse in commerce? More of the jingles on the 10-point Agenda that has failed? More of what? If Jang has not been able to deliver on the 10-point Agenda he promised the Plateau people, the people expect him to honourably step aside’
Given the dismal performances which trailed the last lap of the Jang administration, we do not expect this perception on the part of Hon. Sango and his cohorts to change overnight.
Conclusively we humbly implore the good citizens of Plateau State to demonstrate a strong spirit of resilience against agents of disunity as represented by the dead horse of a Party called the PDP. No amount of concocted press briefing would stop Government from bringing Jang to explain the staggering debt profile he left behind. We wish to particularly appeal to all men of reason to discountenance the adversarial stance and diversionary antics of these sadists and give our unalloyed support to the present Government which is set to restore the lost glory of the State.
Signed: PLATEAU PEACE VANGUARDS