By: Valentine Adese and Ifeanyi Okonkwo
At this time in 2015, the police band and their drums were been prepared for their renown traditional beatings that signifies a change and transfer of political power and office from one person to another.
At the homes of those who were victorious in the 2015 general election, plates were been washed for various delicacies, as the musicians on their parts, were also rehearsing and getting prepared for the swearing in ceremonies of the various Executives Governors who won elections in their states.
All these drumming, match passes and ceremonies in the country on May 29th, gives significance to the day, as it is also used to mark the day Nigerians truly accepted Democracy and its principles.
On this day, Nigerians have continued to be influenced with lots of political blessings from those who are been sworn in or those already in office. They also use the day to reflect on their vision and mission. While others, use the day to assess their achievements, strengths and challenges.
One of those who won in the governorship contest in the 2015 general election is Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, the Executive Governor of Plateau State, under the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Although he was able to express his vision, mission and dreams of a future Plateau State to his people on 29th May, 2015, the reality of the challenges he met on ground after assumption of office, changed the game plan.
HOW GOVERNOR LALONG STARTED
At assumption of office one year ago, the Governor discovered that he had inherited debts from the immediate past administration. In order to make the financial status of the state clearer, he constituted a Committee, which went into more fact findings and later discovered and disclosed that the state was allegedly indebted to the tune of N222Billion.
As a way of keeping the administration afloat, after this discovery, Governor Simon Lalong, as a pragmatic leader refused to appoint any other person to fill political offices for months apart from very few hands that were necessary as at the time in point under review, in order to reduce the state’s administrative wage bill.
Governor Lalong, according to political observers had to embark on a primary strategy of review his earlier plans for the people. Pundits have it that the Governor has systematically adopted the policies and path of Late Solomon Lar, of building and completing projects he met on ground, either half completed or abandoned by the immediate past People Democratic Party (PDP) administration.
AREAS OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Within the one year of Governor Lalong in office and with his focus on projects inherited by his administration, he has been able to drive home the overhead bridge at the Plateau State Secretariat Junction and the various link roads around the Plateau State General Hospital.
Governor Lalong has continued with the Biometric Exercise started by his predecessor, Senator Jonah David Jang, to the extent that it is beginning to yield the desired result.
Owing to this exercise, the civil servants in the state have gained their promotion after so many years.
Lalong did not also abandon the data based computation of the Ministry of Lands and Survey. The achievement in this area of need is now the result of competent Certificate of Occupancies (Cof Os), which the administration would soon issue out to beneficiaries. An experience many have waited for, from one administration to another until this.
BENEFITS OF HIS ALL INCLUSIVE AND PARTICIPATORY POLICY
Within Governor Lalong’s one year in office under review, it would be right to say that peace has actually been maintained when compared to the era of the immediate past administration. Pundits hold that, this has become achievable by him owing to his all inclusive administrative policy. Arguable, they opined that Governor Lalong is one of the governors that have allowed all indigenous tribes in the state to be represented in his administration.
To build more on the peace initiative, the Governor has given more opportunities to the youths of the state in his administration, as he appoints them as Director Generals of several outfits owned and established by his administration.
LALONG’S NEW REVENUE DRIVE FOR THE STATE
It is no longer news that what has hit the state in the past one year has been the issue of the dwindling revenue from the Federal Government. The Governor’s plans, vision and dreams for the state has been collapsing or could not be implemented in most cases within this first year, owing to this economic factor.
To fight and sustain the state through these hard times, the Governor has been commended by political observers for looking for alternative sources.
The Governor within the last 365days has been projecting the need for citizens to pay their tax. His administration and the APC have used many platforms to drum this need to the people and in different languages.
The Governor, from all indications, is even now more determined to recover the alleged looted funds by the past administration, without the assistance of the economic and financial crime commission (EFCC) officers.
Many are of the view that, if these financial drives succeed, the state would be in a better starting point in his second year in office.