The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, and the Plateau state All Progressive Congress (APC) chairman, Latep Dabang, have verbally clashed over the recent visit by President Muhamadu Buhari to the state.
Mr. Dalung, who is also from the state, was flayed by the APC chieftain for criticising some of the state’s signature projects and particularly its renaming of the Yakubu Gowon Way after President Buhari even while former military head of state, Mr. Gowon, is still alive.
Mr. Dabang had shortly after the Buhari visit accused Mr. Dalung of criticising the APC-led administration in Plateau state of ”misplacement of priority in project execution”.
According to Mr. Dabang, Mr. Dalung said all the projects commissioned by President Buhari while he was in the state were executed by Governor Simon Lalong’s predecessor, Jonah Jang.
Mr. Dalung had been quoted as saying that, “Another disaster of the President’s visit was the renaming of Yakubu Gowon way to Muhammadu Buhari way. To say the least, it is embarrassing.
“Gowon was the President’s boss, how can he be stripped of a 40-year privilege and honour in his home state? This is the worst thing that can happen to a man like the elder statesman. I believed that General Gowon is feeling betrayed and abandoned by his own people.”
The minister was also reportedly peeved that he was not informed of the president’s visit even though he was from the state and even when he attended the parley with the president, he was not given opportunity to speak ”as a minister from the state during the town hall meeting with Buhari”.
Mr. Dalung also reacted to the issues.
He said those who responded on his allegations against APC administration in the state, citizens ”misunderstood him, including the APC chairman”.
“I thank you (Latep Dabang) for speaking your minds even though uninformed about the facts. Let me appreciate the Chairman of my party, Latep Dabang, for referring to me as a mad man. Of course he is free to his opinions but certainly not correct too.”
The minister also reacted to claims by Mr. Dabang that he (Dalung) is a lunatic.
“I am of a sound mind because mad people do not possess capacities to raise weighty issues.”
According to the minister, the APC administration in Plateau was not prudent in managing resources.
“Where is the $2 billion loan collected from African Development Bank for potatoes processing factory payable in 25 years? Where is the factory located? Or where is the money kept and whose account? Why did the state government keep the issue of the loan secret? What is happening to LG funds? What is happening to 5 per cent meant for the traditional council?
”And if peace has returned to Plateau, why was the LG elections suspended because of security concerns? Is it not true that Governor Jang constructed all the roads in Jos and Bukuru metropolis except for state low cost -Dong road? You were present when former President Goodluck commissioned Federal Secretariat bridge, why did Governor Lalong mislead the President to recommission it again?” he said.
According to Mr. Dalung, the APC chairman was frustrated.
“I can understand the problems confronting my friend and brother, Latep Dabang, his mentor has left the party, so things are falling apart, the centre can no longer hold.”
Taking a swipe at governor Lalong, Mr. Dalung said the governor ”never heed to his (Dalung) wise counsel”.
“For Governor Lalong, I honestly have respect for him because he is my leader. I have given him series of advice and will continue to do even though he has not taken any,” he said.
He said he was not ”eyeing Mr. Lalong’s office in the 2019 governorship elections”.
“The Governor should realise where we are coming from and save the state from further drifting into chaos. I have been quite supportive to the governor and his administration despite his repeated turning down of advice. I am concerned about the state and do not have any political ambition.”