72 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari left Jos, the Plateau State capital for Abuja, members of his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) are still bickering over comments by Sports and Youth Development Minister, Solomon Dalung, that the newly renamed Muhammadu Buhari road was already named after another former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon.
The bickering is going on even as the death toll in attacks in the State after President Buhari’s departure last Friday continued to rise. Not less tHan 20 are believed to have died as a result of attacks between herdsmen and locals in Bassa and Bokkos councils.
One herdsmen has been arrested in connection with the attacks by the Police in Plateau State. He was caught with an AK47 rifle.
Plateau Commissioner for Information, Mr. Yakubu Datti; and APC Chairman in the State, Latep Dabang, berated the Minister for his criticism of the Simon Lalong administration.
Yakubu Dati said if Dalung had done due diligence, he would have discovered that the Yakubu Gowon Way still exists and that there was no remaining of any road.
The commissioner explained that the new Muhammadu Buhari Way begins at Mararaban Jama’a round-about through Anguldi and Bukuru expressway and ends at Ta’en round-about.
Said Datti: “The existing Yakubu Gowon way starts at Ta’en junction through building materials – Zarmaganda junction, Miango – old airport junctions, through Secretariat overhead bridge and ends at Plateau Specialist Hospital round-about.”
“D. B Zang road starts from the Plateau Specialist Hospital round-about where Yakubu Gowon Way ends at Hill-Station round-about while Joseph Gomwalk road then starts from Hill-station round-about and ends at Polo Club round-about.”
Datti accused Dalung of seeking to score cheap political points, while Dabang said the minister was out of his mind.
In a comprehensive response Monday, Dalung dug deeper and asked the Governor to explain how he has managed the state’s finances and loans he collected.
His response reads: “Let me sincerely appreciate views and opinions expressed by Plateau people following my weekly Sunday Corner yesterday. Especially, those who opined that it is genuine concerns taken too far.
“There were opinions which suggested that a family matter should have been addressed within and not washing of dirty linens in the open. Indeed, you showed me love by providing wise counsel based on your understanding of the issues under review. I thank you for speaking your minds even though uninformed about the facts.
“Let me appreciate the Chairman of my party (APC), 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, therefore as a leader he should be interested in reconciliation rather than escalating situations.
“The Commissioner of information, Yakubu Datti, also must be appreciated for his response which only attempted to relocate the weighty issues about the state to personality feud. It is pardonable, because he doesn’t know anything about the party in Plateau State. His ranting effortlessly to demean my person is a character trait Yakubu Datti is known for. As the information machine of the government, I expected him to delve on issues and not attacking my person. I cannot thank him enough for his explanation of the renaming of Yakubu Gowon way but again he appeared confused or deliberately economically with the truth. May be to satisfy his employer or because he is still battling with resettlement having been sacked recently as Public Relations Officer of FAAN on alleged corruption. He lacks the moral burden to address the issues.
“The Yakubu Datti we all know in Plateau state is a media mercenary always available for dirty jobs. This was the same role he played during Dariye which sank the state into incessant crises, I think we should watch him carefully. I am not surprised that since his compensation as commissioner for propaganda, Plateau communities can no longer know peace. No wonder, during the guided town hall meeting, there were attacks going on in Daffo, Bokkos LGA.
“Thank God Datti knew that I am from Sabongida in Langtang South LGA, but can he show us his fathers house in Mikang LGA? It is true that I did not win my ward in the last elections but I am a founding member of APC, not a political refugee fleeing away from PDP into our Party to escape justice for dubious antecedents.
“I am known to the people of Plateau for speaking out against injustice even if I am not involved, therefore, cannot be used by anybody. In any case can Yakubu Datti answer those questions I raised about the loan profile of the state. Where is the $2 billion (#720 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? What is happening to LG funds? What is happening to 5% meant for the traditional council? 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? What advice did you give the governor on this? Mr Commissioner, speak to issues and provide answers, you owe us an explanation.
“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. However, the Governor should realize 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 repeatedly turning down my advice. I am concerned about the state and not any political ambition. It is not about us but the state, therefore efforts must be made to accommodate differences.
“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. Also, having been made to believe that you were going to be appointed Minister and you lost why wouldn’t you call me a mad man. Take heart, if God so desires, you will be one day. It is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our sight. Plateau will rise again.
“I love you all.”