By: Valentine Adese
As the nation prepares to mark Democracy Day tomorrow, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau state, has kick started the festivity by having an all inclusive interaction with media practitioners in the state.
Apart from using the occasion to thank the media practitioners for their contributions to the growth and development of the state through information dissemination, Governor Lalong also used the occasion to highlight on some of the achievements of his administration.
You would recall that Governor Lalong won the 2015 governorship election under the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and was sworn in on May 29th, 2015.
While giving account of some of his achievements in the past 365 days in office, Governor Lalong told the gathering that the APC administration in the state, on assumption of office in May 29th, 2015, was handed over only N93 million, as contained in the handover note of the immediate past Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration, led by Senator Jonah Jang.
He said to sustain the administration and oil the civil servants in order to motivate them because of the huge salary debts the immediate past administration left behind, his administration had to seek for loans.
Governor Lalong said, “We are having this interaction today because you are the people that can understand the issues better.
“You would recall that I raised the debt alarm in the state even before I was elected and we said it during our campaigns.
“Immediately we assumed office, I setup a committee which made it very clear that the state is in debt to the tune of over N222billion. As we were progressing, we got a handover note after three (3) weeks and we only saw N93million.
"So, to solve some pressing issues facing the administration, we sought for a loan of N5billion. We also pleaded with the then striking civil servants to return to work, promising them that we will help.
"It was this situation that we were in that made the President to intervene with the bailout funds in order to upset the salary arrears. We applied for N10 billion but only N5billion has been given. We have also settled the salary arrears to that extent.
“Luckily for the state now, Mr. President has directed the Central Bank to give us the balance of the N10billion.
“You will recall that among the things we inherited from the last administration, was labour unrest.”
Some pictures of the occasion below: