By Sirajo Musa, Jos
On one hand, Prof. Shedrack Best commends Governor Simon Lalong for completing the projects abandoned by his predecessor, Jonah Jang, but on the other, he tries to diminish the stride by scaling down the enormity of the work left undone by the previous administration which the current one has completed.
This ambivalence always occurs when one is trying hard to lie as truth is simple and straight and does not require any effort to conjure.
Going by Prof. Best’s comments, while he is happy that Lalong did not toe the line of his principal, Jang, who on coming to office, tried to rubbish every project started by his predecessor including the state university which he closed down for no other reason other than it wa started by Joshua Dariye, he is not happy that Lalong stated the fact concerning the level of work done on the project.
The professor also quarrels with the use of the word ‘abandoned’ saying this is not the case.
But the Professor needs to be reminded that the people of Plateau are well aware of the level of work done on the Secretariat interchange before Lalong took over and why it can be said without fear of contradiction that it was abandoned.
As at May 29, 2015 when Lalong assumed office as the governor of Plateau State, work on the interchange has stopped for no less than six months.
Contractors were being owed and had ABANDONED the site, withdrawn their equipment and packed their machines while sending away their staff due to lack of commitment from the then government.
It took the good will of the current rescue administration to be able to convince the contractors to mobilize to site.
If this is not the case of abandonment, then we wonder what is.
Regarding the level of completion of the project, I dare say that it is not the one who is quitting that has the authority to determine the level of work done but the one who is inheriting it.
This is like saying a man who has used his car for several years can determine the worth more than the intending buyer
While the one selling has reasons to lie to raise the value, the one buying cannot lie because it would amount to lying to himself and he may end up being the loser.
Space may not allow us to go into much details, but is is on record that the vital supportive components that would make the interchange endure were not in place when Lalong took ove.
All that was done was sand and cement while the boulders and reinforcements were pending.
Apart from that, everybody knows that when a project of that magnitude is abandoned, for work to recommence,, a review and reconstruction of certain aspects are necessary.
Again, aside the physical components, there are other non tangible vital components that cannot be ignored. The amount owed contractors and the effort required to mobilize them to site if caliberated into the claims by the previous administration would reveal a structural deficit that would erode the progress said to have been made and this cannot be anything near the level being peddled about by the PDP.
On the issue of salaries, we find it amusing that anybody would try to raise an issue out of what is generally known as the Lalong phenomenon.
It is not for nothing that people started calling Governor Lalong ‘Governor Bank Alert’ after less than a year in office.
If the claims by Best that the PDP administration did all that they did in terms of salaries and payment of pension then why are they only remembered for the number of strikes in the state which according to records is the highest in terms of frequency in the life of an administration?
Why is the PDP government only remembered for its no-work-no-pay policy and why did the issue of salary payment become an issue in the Jang administration?
To say that non payment of salaries is always the case with outgoing administration while transiting does not help the professor’s argument and giving the example of Solomon Lar and Dariye are way off point because both did not have the luxury of completing their tenures and preparing hand over notes like Jang had.
In any case, the APC government in Plateau does not pride in repeating failures but in succeeding where others have failed and that is why Lalong is trying to make a difference and will try to hand over when he completes his eight years, God willing, without owing a single month in arrears.
We also find it amusing that Best, who said the Jang administration has paid salaries for seven and half years would in another breath say he is being owed seven months salary.
How did he come by the additional one month?
But it’s funny that rather than blame the PDP government for failing to pay him his due, the professor is now seeing it as an opportunity to blame the current administration.
For saying he is being owed for belonging to another party, Best should also be reminded that Lalong does not play the politics of vindictiveness like the past administration was known for as all genuine claims have been settled by the Rescue administration irrespective of political, ethnic or religious persuasion.
Prof. Best should not deceive himself that there’s anything like PDP in Plateau.
He knows very well that the people of Plateau have written off the mistake from their minds having tasted a new government as evident in the historic welcome granted the president, Muhammad Buhari,when he came to Plateau.
Best should first of all tell us which of the factions of the party in the state he belongs to before beating his chest that any such platform exists and claiming that the party can win elections.