Gyang Bere, Jos
Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to his cabinet members to submit their handing over note ahead of May 29, one of the president’s associates and political ally, Captain Joseph Din (retired) has advised him to seek governors’ inputs in the appointment of new ministers.
His view, Daily Sun gathered was based on current agitation and clamour by political groups and individuals asking the president to give them ministerial slot to correct the imbalance existing in the politics of the respective states in the country.
Captain Din said the president should consult state governors because they have fair knowledge of those who worked endlessly for the re-election of the president and ensured the success of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 general election.
“The president should consult the governors, it will be better this time around because the governors know those who worked for them, he cannot just ignore the governors because the governors know who is who. I know he will consult the governors in some areas, they will give him some ideas on who to appoint into his next cabinet,” Captain Din added.
In 2015, most Plateau elders and citizens were not too pleased with the nomination of Solomon Dalung as the minister of Youth and Sport by President Buhari from Plateau South where the governor and key political bigwigs hail from. But they had no option than to align with the decision.
However, this time, some APC stalwarts from Plateau North have indicated interest to serve in the new cabinet of the president. And the move has generated debate among politicians from other senatorial districts who are also eying the same seat.
Political observers of events on the Plateau are of the view that Plateau North should be considered for the slot since the governor, Simon Lalong hails from Plateau South and his deputy, hails from Plateau Central.
But, APC supporters from Plateau South think that Plateau North has no justification for asking for a ministerial slot. They argued that former president, Goodluck Jonathan had appointed Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe as minister of Water Resource from Plateau North even when the then governor, Jonah Jang, also hails from the zone and there was no protest from Plateau South at the time.
Dalung, incumbent minister from the state was singlehandedly appointed in 2015 by President Buhari without seeking inputs from political stakeholders in the state. Dalung is jostling to retain his seat in the next dispensation.
However, the likes of Dr. Suleiman Yahaya Kwande, Lumumba Dah-Adeh and Ambassador Chris Giwa who have fair knowledge in Sports management have indicated interest in replacing Dalung. All of them, but Dalung, hail from Plateau North.
Apart from competence, pundits believe that political appointments should be a way of rewarding hard work and that those who worked to garner more votes for the re-election of President Buhari and APC in the state. They opined that such persons should be considered first for appointments, particularly those who contested the party primaries and lost but remained in the party to ensure party’s victory.
How the contenders stand
Solomon Dalung is the outgoing minister of Sports and Youth Development. He is a chieftain of the APC and dyed-in-the-wool supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari before his appointment in 2015.
He hails from Langtang South Local Government Area in Plateau South where Buhari and APC got 11, 000 votes while Atiku and PDP polled 18,000 votes. Sadly, Dalung did not deliver his polling unit and ward to the president.
But the minister said he has no regret losing his polling unit to the opposition PDP. Many believed that Dalung was only sympathetic to the cause of President Buhari in Plateau and has nothing to do with Lalong and other APC candidates.
On whether President Muhammadu Buhari may not reappoint him as a minister in his next cabinet over his failure to deliver his ward, Dalung said the president doesn’t strive on trivial political issues. He said that President Buhari knows his commitment to the nation’s advancement, including going to South South to talk the youths/militants into halting militancy and attacks on oil installations/pipelines and that the move yielded results that have improved the country’s oil production.
“I lost the presidential election in my village and I am not bothered. I mean, I could not deliver my village/ward for the APC. I am not even expecting to win this time, and, in fact, I will be disappointed if I even win my village/ward for the APC this time. I am not doing all my good works as a minister for any political gain or mobilisation.
“I am only trying to do what most politicians have failed to do for years, and what I am currently doing for my people and the nation at large is beyond winning elections for my party in my ward,” Dalung declared.
Suleiman Yahaya Kwande is a serving member of the House of Representatives. He is representing Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency of Plateau State for the second term.
He was elected on the platform of Democratic People’s Party (DPP) in 2011 and defected to APC to support President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 where he secured his second tenure.
He contested the party’s primaries for 2019 and lost narrowly to Alhaji Haruna Maitala, who is now a member-elect. But Yahaya-Kwande remained in the party.
It is believed that he lost the contest largely because the father, who is Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Switzerland and member of APC Board of Trustees, Yahaya Kwande was working openly for Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the PDP.
But the lawmaker refused to align with his father in the PDP, instead remained focused and steady in pursuing victory for Buhari, Lalong and other APC candidates during the just concluded elections by providing campaign vehicles and mobilising grassroots support for the party.
He was among the top APC aspirants for the House of Representatives who lost election and were called by the president to a private meeting on the need to remain within the party and give the party the needed support.
He is currently the Vice Chairman, North Central of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). He has contributed immensely to the development of sporting activities in the country.
His constituency empowerment programme was said to be the brain behind the overwhelming support Buhari and APC had in Jos North. Buhari polled 93, 800 votes to beat Atiku and PDP who scored 53,277 votes in his constituency.
Lumumba Dah-Adeh is a former member of the House of Representatives and an ex-adviser to former president, Olusegun Obasanjo. He is the acting chairman of former APC members of the House of Representatives. He hails from Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State in the northern zone of Plateau State. He has being a loyal and committed member of the APC. But like Dalung, he couldn’t deliver his council to the APC.
The APC and Buhari polled 27, 632 votes to lost to Atiku and PDP who scored 34,822 votes. Dah’Adeh who was the APC campaign coordinator for Plateau North was said to have worked hard to secure the zone for APC but couldn’t deliver because the zone was predominantly PDP.
He has also contested for the president of NFF and lost . Dah’Adeh has been active in politics and football activities in the country.
Ambassador Chris Giwa is a peace Ambassador. He contested for the president of NFF in 2014 and lost in a controversial circumstance to the current president, Amaju Pinnick. He battled through the courts to retrieve his mandate but couldn’t. He was restored to the Glass House, headquarters of NFF at some point through the court but was thrown out again through the Appeal Court.
Giwa contested for Plateau North Senatorial primaries on the platform of the PDP but lost to Istifanus Gyang, who is now the Senator-elect for the zone. He defected immediately to the ruling APC and was said to have worked tirelessly for President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Simon Lalong and APC candidates during the 2019 general election.
His tried to change the voting pattern of the zone, seen largely as PDP’s stronghold zone but couldn’t. He was only able to deliver 25,574 votes to Buhari and Lalong in his Jos South Local Government Area while PDP and Atiku polled 106,574 votes to beat Buhari in the area. He is also eying the ministerial seat having worked for the victory of APC in the state.
Investigations revealed that others who are jostling for the ministerial seat from Plateau North includes ex-Nigeria Ambassador to Ukraine, Ibrahim Kasai, Director -General of Lalong/Tyoden campaign organisation, Pam Dung Gyang, former minister of Information, Ibrahim Dasuki Nakande, and former Secretary to Government of Plateau State, Rufus Bature among others.
However, with the close political relationship between President Buhari and Governor Simon Lalong, it appears only those who are in the good books of the duo may likely scale through the hurdle.