On Monday, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, accused the Plateau State Government of mismanaging over $2 billion loan collected.
According to the minister, the APC administration in Plateau was not prudent in managing resources.
“Where is the $2 billion loan collected from African Development Bank for potatoes processing factory payable in 25 years? Where is the factory located? Or where is the money kept and whose account? Why did the state government keep the issue of the loan secret?” the minister said in a statement he personally signed in response to an attack on him by the APC chairman in the state.
Mr. Dalung was not done. He also accused the state government of mismanaging local government (LG) funds.
“What is happening to LG funds? What is happening to 5 per cent meant for the traditional council?”
The minister also accused the Governor Simon Lalong administration of lying about the security situation in the state; and of deceiving President Muhammadu Buhari.
”And if peace has returned to Plateau, why was the LG elections suspended because of security concerns? Is it not true that Governor Jang constructed all the roads in Jos and Bukuru metropolis except for state low cost -Dong road? You were present when former President Goodluck commissioned Federal Secretariat bridge, why did Governor Lalong mislead the president to recommission it again?” he said.
REASONS FOR OUTBURST
President Buhari was in Plateau State last Thursday as part of his visit to violence-ravaged states.
Scores of people have been killed in ethnic-related violence in Plateau, mainly between nomadic herdsmen and farming communities. Over a dozen people were killed in the state even on the days the president visited.
A day after the president’s visit, the minister accused Governor Lalong of side-lining him from the visit. He said he was not officially informed of the visit by the state government, despite being a minister from the state; and that even when he attended a reception organised for the president, he was not allowed to speak. He also accused the governor of playing to the gallery by renaming a road, formerly named after a former military ruler, after Mr. Buhari.
“Another disaster of the president’s visit was the renaming of Yakubu Gowon way to Muhammadu Buhari way. To say the least, it is embarrassing,” the minister said in an interview he posted on his Facebook page.
“Gowon was the president’s boss, how can he be stripped of a 40-year privilege and honour in his home state? This is the worst thing that can happen to a man like the elder statesman. I believe that General Gowon is feeling betrayed and abandoned by his own people.”
In response to the minster’s outburst, the APC chairman in Plateau, Latep Dabang, criticised the minister, allegedly describing him as a lunatic.
The chairman, who spoke in an interview with ViewPointNigeria on Saturday, accused the minister of working against the party in the state.
In his response on Monday, the minister thanked Mr. Dabang “for speaking your minds even though uninformed about the facts.”
“Let me appreciate the chairman of my party, Latep Dabang, for referring to me as a mad man. Of course he is free to his opinions but certainly not correct too.”
“I am of a sound mind because mad people do not possess capacities to raise weighty issues.”
According to Mr. Dalung, the APC chairman was frustrated.
“I can understand the problems confronting my friend and brother, Latep Dabang. His mentor has left the party, so things are falling apart, the centre can no longer hold.”
Taking a swipe at Governor Lalong, Mr. Dalung said the governor ”never heed to his (Dalung) wise counsel”.
“For Governor Lalong, I honestly have respect for him because he is my leader. I have given him series of advice and will continue to do even though he has not taken any,” he said.
He said he was not ”eyeing Mr. Lalong’s office in the 2019 governorship elections”.
“The Governor should realise where we are coming from and save the state from further drifting into chaos. I have been quite supportive to the governor and his administration despite his repeated turning down of advice. I am concerned about the state and do not have any political ambition.”
APCs MANY CRISES
The conflict between an APC minister and a government controlled by the party is not unique to the state.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi, boycotted a presidential campaign programme organised his state by the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu. Mr. Shittu is also from Oyo and plans to succeed Mr. Ajimobi, who rounds off his second term next year.
The APC is also facing major crises in other states like Kogi, Kaduna, Ogun and Kano where APC governors are locked in battle with APC senators.
President Buhari has since set up a committee headed by ex-Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu, to resolve many of the crises. There are, however, doubts if the Tinubu-committee can resolve the various disputes.
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