Opinion:Search for New SGF: A Case for Gov Lalong

By Mustapha Musa

A successful administration is the product of individual cabinet members. While the President/ Commander-in-Chief has the final say, certain decisions are influenced by his closest allies, one of whom is the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

Enter Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State. Although a quiet, gentle, and unassuming figure, Lalong is well-experienced, suited, and equipped for the tasks of monitoring and coordinating the implementation of government policies and programs.

Undoubtedly, the president-elect, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu has over the decades established himself as a visionary, focused, committed, patriotic, and relatively fair-minded political icon with incredible public relations and human capital development ability. While the incoming administration is yet to navigate through the scary storm of the National Assembly leadership, there is the belief that it would ease past the rigors of cabinet selection.

An important position that is central to the affairs of the nation is the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. Presently, there is a feeling of marginalization in the North Central region given that they have neither produced a president nor the Vice-president since the beginning of the Fourth Republic. Therefore, it is only politically and logically right that the region is placated with the position of the SGF.

With the current power play and permutations for the National Assembly leadership, it is almost unlikely that the North Central region would get either the Senate president or the speaker position. So, the best bet for the incoming President and the APC leadership is to compensate the region with this prized position of SGF.

Candidly, this appointment would do a whole lot to show the region that it is valued in the current political calculations. It is true that when food is ready, all manner of hands struggle to partake in the eating; both the idle and others that were negatively critical of the process that led to its preparation. By this contextual illustration, it is logical that the President-elect and the APC leadership appoint someone who has paid the ultimate dues of ensuring the party’s victory at the polls despite traces of repulsive remarks within and outside the APC family.

It is not mere gainsaying to emphatically state that Governor Simon Bako Lalong, erstwhile presidential campaign council Director General of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Governor of Plateau state successfully midwifed the victory the APC is savoring today and the consequent emergence of the President-elect in the February 18th election. Not only that Governor Lalong committed to the Tinubu ideal, but he also ensured that out of the five North Central states, four voted massively for the president-elect, this is aside from his home state was somewhat gravely polarized by ethnic profiling which Governor Lalong vehemently opposed, and in effect prompted a protest vote from the people. Good enough, Governor Lalong has since recovered from the political gang-up and has been active in ensuring that democratic governance in Nigeria is sustained.

Born on May 5th, 1963, he is a native of Ajikamai in the Shendam local government area. Governor Lalong had his primary and secondary education in his hometown. He obtained his first school leaving certificate in 1977, and level certificate in 1982. He would then attend the School of Preliminary Studies in Keffi for his A Level and later proceeded to the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria ABU, where he bagged a Bachelor’s degree in Law in 1990. He attended the Lagos branch of the Nigeria Law School and was called to the bar in 1991. He also holds a master’s degree in Law (LLM) from the University of Jos.

In 1999, he contested and won the Shendam state constituency Assembly seat on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party and was subsequently made speaker. As head of Parliament, Lalong’s ingenuity and rare leadership qualities earned him the record of the longest-serving speaker in the state and possibly the entire North Central region (2000-2006). Enthralled by his administrative acumen, his fellow speakers across the 36 states in Nigeria elected him twice as chairman, of the Nigeria Conference of Speakers. He contested for the Governor of Plateau state in the April 2015 elections and won on the platform of the APC. From the foregoing, Governor Simon Bako Lalong is best suited for the position of the SGF in the incoming administration of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu.

His distinguished career as a politician, Lawyer, and public servant presents him as someone vast and equipped having presided over the legislative arm of government as well as executive Governor of a state. He will certainly be the seed that would balance the current uncertain Nigerian Political pendulum if appointed the SGF.

Musa wrote this piece from Kaduna.

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