Re: Dati’s dirty lies and Lalong’s longing for a job
By Ibrahim Dasuki Nakande
I read the piece authored by Simon Lalong’s former commissioner for information, Mr. Yakubu Dati where he tried to launder the image of his principal, and I cannot help but shake my head in pity as it only points at one thing, that Lalong is desperately seeking for a job after losing his bid for vice presidency, senate and Secretary to the Government of the Federation position.
Lalong would go down in history as the only Director General of a presidential campaign organisation who lost his ward, local government, federal constituency, senatorial district and state to opposition parties while serving as governor.
Dati’s piece which chose to project the former governor for ministerial or any other position was so self effacing that it is anchored on a trajectory of half truths, pure lies and concocted tales just to burnish the image of the former governor.
One would have thought that after serving as governor for eight years, anybody speaking for Lalong should have been able to do so with authority by uploading his achievements and positive policy interventions made during his tenure as governor and DG rather than resorting to cringe worthy ululations.
Dati started by saying that the position of a DG is no mean feat which is correct as it comes with enormous responsibilities.
But while I agree that serving as a DG is a no mean feat, one cannot say the same of what the former governor did with the position.
Rather than add value to the campaign, Lalong’s appointment as DG of Tinubu’s campaign organization unfortunately only elevated mediocrity to virtue as it exposed the lack of capacity of the DG which reflected in the results of the election where Lalong could not deliver his ward federal Constituency, Senatorial district and state in the presidential elections.
Tinubu’s choice of a DG was only because of the same faith of the APC presidential ticket which required some religious and geopolitical balancing, otherwise there were more programmatic political leaders across the country that would have done better.
Dati also did not tell the whole truth when he said that a tradition has been set where past presidents rewarded their campaign DGs with ministerial position and cited the cases of Obasanjo who rewarded Fidelis Tapgun with a ministerial position and Muhammadu Buhari who also rewarded Rotimi Amaechi with same and Good luck Jonathan, an ambassadorial position for Sarki Tafida.
This is half truth because Obasanjo and other former presidents did not reward their campaign DGs for the mere sake that they were campaign DGs. They were rewarded for the excellent works they did by delivering their wards, local government areas, states and even geopolitical zones to their parties.
Tapgun for instance delivered the entire Plateau State and many north Central states to the PDP presidential ticket in 2003, Tafida did the same for Jonathan in 2011 and Amaechi staked out his neck for Buhari against a sitting president.
In the case of Lalong however, he failed woefully to deliver his ward, his federal Constituency; his senatorial zone (in an election he also contested); the governorship, and the presidential election, even with the powers of incumbency at both the state and federal levels, so he is the least qualified for reward.
The embarrassment he caused the APC presidential ticket by the losses alone made the party the stub of jokes where it was said that the campaign DG lost his state. Such an embarrassment should attract a stiff penalty to demonstrate why failure, complacency and mediocrity should not be rewarded.
Rewarding him with a ministerial position would be setting a dangerous precedence for rewarding failure and ineptitude which would be antithetical to the ideals of excellence that President Tinubu stands for which made him quite popular as governor of Lagos State.
Moreover, Dati forgot to mention that even Lalong is not a good example of what he is preaching as he did not reward his campaign DG, Pam Dung Gyang, with any position after he won the 2019 elections.
It is laughable and a case of another alternative truth that Lalong would claim he staked his neck out for Dariye when he was speaker of the state house of assembly.
The truth is that he owes his ascendancy to the speaker position to the magnanimity of Dariye and could not have mustered a single member to his side even if he had chosen to work against the former governor.
Lalong, contrary to the narrative of Dati, was subjected to recall by members of his constituency in Shendam who after comparing his sloppy outing with that of his predecessor, the indefatigable George Daika, decided to remove him from the House but out of pity and because of the wrong interpretation the move was given that it was the powers that be in Abuja that wanted to remove him, Dariye had to wade in and saved him from disgrace.
Without Dariye, Lalong could not have survived one day on that seat and anybody can go and verify that.
Is it not a shame that while some former governors are playing statemanly roles and grooming others to leadership positions that all Lalong thinks about is himself?
Former governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir Elrufai for instance has said he will not accept a ministerial position but should be allowed to nominate younger persons so that they can be groomed for leadership positions.
But Lalong wants to be Senator, Senate President, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Minister and Special Adviser all at once. And anybody that indicates interest in those positions becomes his enemy, that is why he is annoyed that certain political leaders on the Plateau went to visit the SGF, Senator George Akume.
Even if it is true like Dati said that it was Lalong that brought ‘unknown entities’ to national prominence, should he not, if he were a good leader, be proud to see that they’re doing well that they’re aspiring for other leadership positions?
His annoyance with them for being close to the grassroots goes to prove he is a selfish leader and confirms what people are saying that he only used one of them as a place holder; and even after she surrendered the Senate ticket to him, he couldn’t make anything out of it but went ahead to lose woefully at the general elections.
In the opinion of many, Senator Nora Dadut who held the Senate position briefly would have even done better than Lalong in the elections as she had used her brief stay in the Senate to win the hearts of the people which has made her very popular and well liked by all.
It was because of the impact she made while in the Senate that she’s being considered for a ministerial position and that is why Lalong has begun to see her as an enemy.
Part of the reasons Lalong lost the Senate seat was because the people wanted Dadut to come back because they said what she did for the South Senatorial zone in the less than two years in the senate was more than what Laong did for them in the eight years he was governor.
President Tinubu will do well to ignore the rants of Lalong and Dati who have no base or structure in their constituencies but are only barking from safe distances as they personify the perfect examples of what is known as Abuja politicians.
They leave their constituents in penury and when it is time to get something from Abuja they run like hawks making all sorts of claims.
In contrast, these leaders like Dariye, Pauline Tallen, Amos Gizo, Lumumba Adeh, Alphonsus Komsol, Nora Dadut and my humble self that Lalong is castigating are those that worked for the success of Tinubu during the APC primaries while Lalong was busy enforcing Rotimi Amaechi on Plateau delegates.
Dariye is well aware that after the federal government decided to grant him pardon, that it was Lalong that was all out trying to frustrate the move because he was afraid that if Dariye was released from prison ahead of the APC governorship primary, that the right things would have been done to choose a candidate for the party and not the shambolic one that produced a candidate solely chosen by the former governor on grounds that the candidate is childhood friend to his wife.
The former governor only wants to be appointed minister so that he can use the resources to sponsor Amaechi’s presidential campaign in 2027. Tinubu should beware of that!
If it is experience and competence that Tinubu is looking for, then Lalong should be that last person Tinubu should consider for anything coming to Plateau as the former governor lacks capacity and competence.
If it is mass appeal and ability to win votes, Lalong cannot compare himself to Dariye or Tallen or even Dadut who had displaced him as the voice of the Plateau South APC.
The fact is that Tinubu has given Lalong the opportunity to prove himself but the former governor has flunked it several times and failed to impress.
He organized the worst presidential campaign rally where huge amounts were voted but failed to rally round enough crowd until Hon. Aliyu Betara saved the day by bringing more people from Borno than the ones Lalong could mobilise in a state he had governed for eight years.
He also made the most embarrassing comments about ‘it’s our time to chop’ making the Tinubu presidency look like an opportunity to feast when the President has made it clear that he was coming to work for Nigeria and not to eat as Allah has already blessed him with what to eat.
Since all Lalong knows how to do is to eat, President Tinubu in the spirit of the moment can organize an eat-a-thon marathon for him to prove himself as the world record holder for eating.
That would be more appropriate than giving him any serious position of leadership.
Nakande is a former Minister of Information and Communication.