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Highlights from Plateau gubernatorial debate

Last Saturday Plateau Debate Group organised a debate for gubernatorial candidates in the March 2, 2019 election. Five candidates participated in the debate with the…

Last Saturday Plateau Debate Group organised a debate for gubernatorial candidates in the March 2, 2019 election. Five candidates participated in the debate with the notable absence of the  Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Sen. Jeremiah Useni.

The PDP campaign council in a statement issued by the Chairman, Media and Publicity committee, Abraham Yiljap expressed regrets that Useni was unable to participate in the debate due to unforeseen developments.

The five candidates who participated in the debate are:  Governor Simon Bako Lalong of the All Progressives Congress (APC); Godfrey Miri of the Social Democratic Party (SDP); Jon Temlong of the Action Democratic Party (ADP); Alex Ladan of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN); and Samuel Kyarshik of the All Blending Party (ABP). Benue Plateau Chronicle looks at highlights of the debate.

Samuel Kyarshik of ABP to scrap Muslim/Christian pilgrim’s board

Samuel Kyarshik of the ABP captured the live audience attention at the debate when he said he would scrap the Muslims and Christians Pilgrims Welfare Boards if elected as part of his strategy to cut cost of governance. He had chided the present administration of Simon Bako Lalong for sponsoring 1700 pilgrims to Jerusalem and described it as wasteful.

Kyarshik also described the killings in the state as organised crimes growing unabated because the rule of law was lacking.

“Where you have about 200 militias attacked a community not too far from a security checkpoint and not a single attacker was arrested there is an organised crime and we must bring in the rule of law which is simply that when someone commits a crime let him be arrested and prosecuted and if a sentence is passed, let that sentence be carried out,” he said.

Jon Temlong of ADP to return missionary schools to owners

To cut the cost of governance, retired General Jon Temlong hit at the governor’s convoy saying it was too many and unnecessary. Temlong believes the government has been using analogue solutions to solve digital problems and said the low standard of education was partly because the missionary schools have become a shadow of themselves since they were taken over by government. “I will return all missionary schools to their owners so that the standard of education will be improved. And I will give them the grants that Sir. Ahmadu Bello (the Premier of Northern Nigeria) used to give them to maintain the schools so that they retain higher standards than even government schools and emphasis must be on STEM and English.”

Simon Bako Lalong of APC – Part of Terminus market to be demolish in weeks

Governor Simon Lalong said he was seeking re-election because he hated leaving abandoned projects and was not sure if the next person would be as gracious as he was when he completed projects abandoned by his predecessors. While speaking on the economy and Internally Generated Revenue, Lalong stated that concession talks for the rebuilding of the famous Jos Main Market at the Terminus area had been completed and part of the market affected by a bomb explosion would be demolished in a few weeks so that contractors could begin rebuilding.

He said it has become difficult to define the concept of  Middle Belt especially since the concept is sometimes defined on the basis of religion and ethnicity. “Those who today propagate the concept of Middle Belt are also the champions of Arewa Consultative Forum and some even members of the ACF only to shout Middle Belt when it suits them. As a governor, I talk about the unity of this country and by geographical definition I belong to the north and what I do in the north is to put a challenge within the north that Plateau must be better than other parts of the north,” he said.

Alex Ladan of ANN to set up farm settlements

Major points made by the young Alex Ladan include reducing the number of ministries to cut cost of governance and  the introduction of farm settlements for farming communities.

“Four hundred thousand of our families in this state are in agriculture and a very good number of them are in the rural communities, they are the ones who basically feed us. One of the things we are already working towards is to ensure that we set up what we call farm settlements. This will solve issues even relating to security because we will talk to the communities to come together because our villages are very vulnerable because we are scattered. I was made to understand that products such as NAN; the baby formula milk started from projects such as this.”

Godfrey Miri of SDP to demolish houses where illicit drugs are stored

Godfrey Miri said when elected he would destroy any house where it was found illicit drugs are being handled. “I will demolish any house where there are drugs, if you are a landlord and there are drugs in the house, we would demolish it. Anyone that allows his home to be used for ‘’goskolo’’ we will destroy it. That will teach you not to use your home for drugs but we would also rehabilitate the addicts.

He said in order to reduce the cost of governance, he would reduce the governor’s entourage to two vehicles adding that, “there was no reason for a governor to have more than two vehicles in his entourage and I would ensure that people go for only conferences that will benefit the state.”

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