By Tongnaan Dada Bawa, Jos
Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong has sworn in 17 Local Government Chairmen elected in the elections conducted peacefully last Saturday,
While swearing in the Chairmen, on Monday at the new Government house little Rayfield Jos, Governor Lalong said the elections were conducted peacefully without any incident throughout the State.
He said “I use this opportunity to commend the people of Plateau State for their exemplary conduct, resilience and patriotism throughout the exercise. I also congratulate the Plateau Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) for conducting one of the best elections in the history of the State adjudged to be free, fair and credible. Despite the legal fireworks that persisted up to few hours before the polls, they were able to carry out their constitutional mandate according to law”.
Lalong said without doubt, this is a very significant achievement in the democratic journey and the efforts to build a Plateau that is inclusive, egalitarian and progressive.
He expressed delight that all political parties and candidates had equal opportunity to participate in the process from the beginning, while those who had issues within their parties exploited all legal options to ventilate their grievances rather than resorting to taking laws into their hands.
The Governor described as frivolous and unfortunate the rumours and disinformation being propagated by the opposition that he sidelined the PDP from participating in the elections. He said PLASIEC which is an independent body organised the elections according to the Constitution and its guidelines, and his party the APC had to also comply. To therefore blame him for their misfortune according to him, is most disappointing.
Lalong charged the elected Local Government Chairmen to see their victory as a call to service and an opportunity to serve the people.
“From today, you have ceased to be leaders of your parties, religious or ethnic groups only. You are to work for all citizens including those who did not vote for you. Furthermore, your victory is for the people and not an opportunity to settle scores with anybody or enrich yourselves” he said.
On revenue generation and project implementation, Lalong said “In developing your blueprints, you must think outside the box and explore other sources of revenue generation that will enable you carry out people-oriented projects. You must key into the new joint revenue drive between the State and Local Governments which commenced last year in order to ensure that we tap from revenue sources that have been neglected over the years”.
He also asked them to take advantage of the full Autonomy currently being enjoyed by the Local Government System in Plateau State to do more for their people by embracing prudence, accountability and according priority to the programmes and projects that have direct bearing on the lives of the people.
Responding on behalf of his colleagues, Chairman Kanam Local Government Alh. Dayyabu Garga promised that they will do their best to carry out the Rescue agenda by consulting widely and carry along all stakeholders in running the affairs of the Local Government.
He said they will do justice, administer fair treatment and avoid selective treatment in the distribution of projects and services within their domain.
Prime Time News reports that the highlights of the occasion was that the new Government House, Little Rayfield was agog as a mamoth crowd of citizens, politicians, traditional and religious leaders, as well as supporters of the elected Chairmen converged to witness the event.
It also reported that the Victoria Gowon Hall where the event took place was packed to capacity with thousands of others unable to get access due to capacity.