The governor recently tried to concession Jos Main Market to an Islamic bank (Jaiz Bank).
On Thursday, the ruling All Progressives Congress announced that the Governor of Plateau State and Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Simon Lalong, will be the Director General of its Presidential Campaign Council ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, disclosed this to State House correspondents shortly after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja…Continue reading
There had been speculations that Lalong would emerge as the director-general of the presidential campaign council following the public criticism that the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the party had attracted.
The presidential candidate of the party, Bola Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima are Muslims, and the Christian community and some Muslims have described it as unfair in a multi-religious society like Nigeria. Lalong is a Christian from North Central Nigeria.
Apart from being a Christian, sources told SaharaReporters that the governor also bought his way into the position.
According to one of the sources, Lalong mortgaged a major market in Jos to an Islamic bank in return for the position and potentially the position of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation if the APC wins the 2023 presidential election.
The governor recently tried to concession Jos Main Market to an Islamic bank (Jaiz Bank), with an agreement with the finance house to reconstruct the market in a public-private partnership despite spending millions of naira to demolish it during the 2020 fiscal year.
The concession moves generated public condemnation considering the history of religious tension between Christian and Muslim faithful in the state.
The market, which was a major economic hub and significant contributor to the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state, was burnt down in 2001.
“Lalong was named Tinubu’s campaign DG against the wishes of Christians across the nation who have disassociated themselves from the APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket,” one of the sources said.
“The former Lagos State Governor’s choice of Kashim Shettima, a fellow Muslim, as running mate didn’t sit well with Christians who lamented insensitivity, neglect and resentment. Following reports of Lalong’s appointment, Christians have described the governor as a betrayal, sell-out and infidel.”
Another source said that Lalong paid his way to get the job.
He said, “He is now doing everything possible to see that he remains relevant after 2023 after squandering the goodwill that brought him from penury into becoming the Governor of Plateau State.
“We are surprised at the level of sleaze, corruption and mediocrity ongoing right now under Lalong despite the good things that God has done for him. The treasury of Plateau State has become empty since he developed this his evil ambition. He failed to get the vice-presidential ticket, his other agenda now is DG, so he can become the Secretary to the State Government or a powerful Minister. So, he now wants to sink the entire boat at this 11th hour.
“The pensions and other emoluments of workers and civil servants on the Plateau are still being owed. Yet less than 10 months before his exit, he has created another transactional monster which will not offer anything good for the state. Lalong said he expended billions to demolish the burnt market which he claimed was more difficult than the reconstruction.”
A Christian leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also condemned the plan by Lalong to concession Jos Main Market to Jaiz Bank.
He added that the governor’s alliance with Tinubu and his presidential bid shows that he is an enemy of the body of Christ.
The cleric added that by this action, Lalong has declared war against over 50 million Christians in the country and must face the repercussions.
He, however, warned that God is storing up anger for “the day of wrath” and “that day is coming as surely as the sun rises tomorrow and when that day comes, it will be too late for Lalong and others to beg for mercy for each man and woman will be judged according to their works and that culminates in the fierce wrath of God with unending torment”.
However, the Plateau State Government has denied the allegation, saying the MOU it was about to sign with Jaiz Bank was not meant to cede the market to it.
The government said rebuilding the market would be beneficial to the state in general.
In a statement, the Commissioner of Information and Communication, Mr Dan Manjang said, “The state EXCO mandated its relevant MDAs to carry out sensitisation and awareness by engaging various stakeholders ahead of the signing of the MOU for the rebuilding of the Jos Main Market.
“The governor also personally engaged top religious, traditional, elders and other leaders of thought on the project, knowing fully the passion that they have on the market which is a great heritage of the state.
“Regrettably, the outcome of this engagement has been twisted, politicised and reported under the caption ‘Governor Lalong cedes Jos Main Market to Islamic Bank’.
“This has unnecessarily invoked passions and emotions portraying a false narrative that the state was parting with its cherished heritage to an ‘Islamic Bank.’
But on Tuesday, a Jos Division of the Plateau State High Court granted an ex parte application by a lawmaker, Dachung Bagos to halt the proposed concession of the market.
It restrained Lalong-led administration from entering into any deal for the reconstruction of the market with the bank.
“An order of this Honourable court for an interim injunction restraining the defendant/respondents by themselves, their agent’s representatives or privies from entering into any Public Private Partnership or any agreement whatsoever regarding the Jos Main Market pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction,” read the court order.