Can Plateau North Clinch Ministerial Position?
By Gyang Bere
The 2019 General Elections has come and gone, leaving behind tales of woes from the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State. However, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is battle ready to assemble competent personnel to fill in political appointments that President Muhammadu Buhari is going to offer the state.
The quest for political appointments, particularly the Ministerial position which is done based on Federal character has generated heated debate among citizens of the State.
The question on the lips of many Plateau indigenes is: Which Senatorial District should produce the next Minister?
Many believed that in the spirit of fair play, Plateau North Senatorial District should be considered for the Ministerial appointment since the Governor, Simon Bako Lalong hails from Plateau South while the Deputy Governor comes from Plateau Central.
Currently, Hon. Solomon Dalung is occupying the plumb seat. He was single-handedly appointed in 2015 by President Buhari without seeking inputs of political stakeholders from the state. Dalung is jostling to retain his seat in the next cabinet.
Political pundits from the state believe that competent hands like Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, Lumumba Dah-Adeh and Ambassador Chris Giwa, who have fair knowledge in the world of sports should be considered for Sports Minister if the position will be retained for Plateau State.
The cream of personalities all hail from Plateau where the masses are drumming support for the Ministerial appointment for political balancing and fair play.
Hon. Solomon Dalung is the current Minister of Sports and Youth Development. He was a chieftain of the APC and a die-hard supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari before his appointment in 2015.
Dalung hails from Langtang South Local Government Area in Plateau South where Buhari and APC got 11, 000 votes while Atiku and PDP polled 18,000 votes.
Hon. Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande is a current and two term serving member of the House of Representatives for Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency of Plateau State.
He was elected under the Platform of Democratic People’s Party (DPP) in 2011 and defected to APC to support President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 where he secured his second tenure.
Yahaya-Kwande contested the House of Reps party primaries under APC and lost narrowly to Alh. Haruna Maitala.
It was believed that Kwande lost the party primaries due to political narrative that his father, who was former Ambassador of Nigeria to Switzerland and member of APC Board of Trustees was working for Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of PDP.
But the lawmaker refused to align with his father in the PDP, instead remained focus and steady in pursuing victory for President Buhari, Governor Lalong and other APC candidates during the polls by providing campaign vehicles and mobilising grassroots support for the party.
In his Jos North constituency, Buhari polled 93, 800 votes to beat Atiku and PDP who scored 53,277 votes. Honourable Kwande is the youngest football administrator among all the Ministerial contenders in Plateau.
Hon. Lumumba Dah-Adeh is a former member of the House of Representatives and ex-adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He is the Acting Chairman of Former APC members of the House of Representatives.
Dah-Adeh who hails from Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State in the Northern zone has been a loyal and committed member of the APC.
Ambassador Chris Giwa is a peace Ambassador and ex-embattled President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). He contested the position in 2014 and lost in a controversial circumstance to the current President, Amaju Pinnick.
He battled through legal means to retrieve his mandate but couldn’t succeed. He was restored to the Glass House at some point through the court but lost the position through appeal.
Chris Giwa delivered 25,574 votes to Buhari in his Jos South Local Government Area while Atiku polled 106,574 votes in the LGA.
Other prominent APC stakeholders in the zone who are interested in the Ministerial appointments includes, Ex-Nigeria Ambassador to Ukraine, Ibrahim Kasai, Director General of Lalong/Tyoden Campaign organisation, Arch. Pam Dung Gyang, former Minister of Information, Ibrahim Dasuki Nakande and former Secretary to Government of Plateau State, Hon. Rufus Bature among others.
As the battle and lobbying continue, only time will tell who among them will be favoured by the Buhari’s administration.