With the swearing-in of Governor Simon Bako Lalong for second term in office, on May 29, 2019, there is strong indication that the governor is not in a hurry to make any key appointments for now.
During Lalong’s first term in office, appointments were made shortly after he resumed office, which comprised of Secretary to Government of the State, Hon. Rufus Bature; Chief of Staff, Government House, Mr. John Dafaan; Barr. Cletus Kangkum, Principal Private Secretary (PPS); Deputy Chief of Staff, late Barr. Yusuf Gambo Hawaja; Director of Press and Public Affair, late Mr. Samuel Emmanuel Nanle; and the Accountant General, Plateau State, Mr. Cyril Tsenyil. This time, however, the case seems to be different, because up till this moment the governor is still silent over it.
This development has kept many, especially those angling for appointments in dark.
As the people of Plateau State await the names of the new appointees, even some members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are left guessing just like other citizens without access to government.
Investigation conducted by The Headline has shown that so far, Lalong’s cronies, kitchen cabinet, friends and associates are at their wits end, trying to figure out what is in stock for them.
While some are pursuing their own ambitions, some of them are trying to make a case for their candidates (loved ones, friends, girl friend etc.) to make the governor’s list.
It seems however that they may likely be disappointed, as the governor seems not ready to succumb to the pressure being mounted.
A top notch of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who doesn’t want his name in print told The Headline that the governor is preparing the list of his new set of appointees together with his wife, Regina Simon Bako Lalong.
Some key figures in the state have tried to suggest some names to the governor but Lalong seems to want to take everyone by surprise.
The confidential source said, “Even some of us who have played key roles in suggesting names of appointees in the past are no longer in a position to do that because it looks as if the game plan is about to change”.
“The governor has vowed not to bring back some of his former appointees due to the simple fact that, he was highly disappointed with some of their performances and non-challant attitude, while in office”.
“We too are waiting for the list like any other person, except there is a change of mind on the part of the governor and he decides to carry some of us along”, he said.
Against this background, there are anxiety among the governor’s appointees who have no inkling as to the fate that awaits them.
Another insider (name withheld) also told The Headline that if Lalong were to follow his heart, given his humble, tender disposition, he would have loved to see that some of his former appointees were returned especially the likes of Mr. John Dafaan, the former Chief of Staff. But because of stiff resistance from the Gamai land and other factors, Dafaan’s return is a distant possibility.
According to him, “If you can remember during the inaugural church service held on Sunday, 26 May, 2019 at the Government House Chapel, Rayfield, Reverend David Ajang during his sermon, admonished the governor to begin to plan for his exit from office now more than anything less, and pay attention to governance”. According to Ajang, “Very soon you will make enemies when you reshuffle your cabinet. Some people who will not be lucky to return will team up and begin to fight you. Try not to allow that distract you”, he cautioned.
Ajang said, “Surround yourself with people who will assist you to achieve your goals. The choice of people to work with is more crucial in the second tenure than the first”.
“It is understandable when for political reasons appointments are made without consideration for ability and specialization in the course of your first time in office”.
Ajang further said, “Unfortunately, appointing people with insufficient ability and lacking in specialization during your second term in office is suicidal”.
“As you prepare to put in place new cabinet, you should be courageous to fire any non performing member. I dare to say, you need a bit of ruthlessness in order to carry out such a task”, he said.
The insider alleged that, “Based on that sermon, during which the governor was in attendance with his wife, the governor is very careful on the type of appointees he’s bringing on board”.
According to him, “Reverend David Ajang’s sermon has really touched the governor and his wife, and that is why the first family has decided to take time to select competent hands as their choice of appointees in governance”, he said.
Most of the former appointees are, however hanging around to lobby for their return to office or simply await their fate.
Some of them have been appearing at the governor’s official functions without invitation or specific roles. Even some are busy writing series of features and commentaries in order to get the governor’s attention and be considered.
There is strong indication that most of the former appointees’ chances of returning are very slim.
According to The Headline’s research, Lalong’s body language suggests that he is not in a hurry to make any appointment, as he seems to be following the president’s go slow attitude in his approach to the matter at hand.
In cases like this, you’ll find some politicians busy burning candles at night and visiting or consulting native doctors, spiritual fathers and herbalist to enhance their chances of being appointed into positions of responsibility.
The one million naira question on the lips of Plateau people is, will Lalong succumb to pressure and appoint incapable hands in his second tenure?
All eyes are now on the governor as Plateau citizens await to see the first set of political appointees he intend to bring on board.