Governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon. Simon Lalong, can be described as a consummate politician, astute public servant, legal expert and more importantly a pan-Nigerian with passion for unity, stability and progress of Nigeria. Born in Shendam Local Government area of Plateau State in the North Central geopolitical zone of Nigeria, Lalong, a lawyer by profession, has made remarkable and historic contributions to nation building in various capacities.
In 1999, he contested and won a seat in the Plateau State House of Assembly to represent the people of Shendam on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and was equally elected by his colleagues in the state assembly as Speaker. During his stint as Speaker, Lalong initiated and promoted a harmonious working relationship among the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary arms of government. He also saw to the establishment of Plateau State University, Bokkos, College of Arts, Science and Remedial Studies, Kurgwi and creation of additional wards among others. Lalong's exemplary leadership qualities endeared him to his colleagues beyond the shores of the Plateau State. These attributes earned him the position of Chairman of Nigerian Conference of Speakers of the All the 36 states from 2001 through 2002. He was re-elected as a state legislator in 2003 and served again as Speaker.
A consistent, genuine and compassionate leader, in 2015, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Lalong was elected as Governor of Plateau State and was re-elected on the platform of the same party in 2019. His giant accomplishments, especially in the areas of infrastructural regeneration, social investments and more importantly sustenance of peaceful co-existence among all ethnic groups in the state has continually made Lalong's administration exceptional. Although a Christian, Lalong had over the years deployed his native wisdom, intellectual capacity and cosmopolitan mindset to promote peace and unity among indigenes and residents of Plateau state without religious bias.
The Governor of Plateau State is no doubt a quiet but great achiever in politics, leadership and humanity. For his delivery of democratic dividends, he won the ticket as the candidate of the APC for Plateau South Senatorial District for the 2023 elections. He emerged unopposed during the primaries at the Zonal Headquarters of the Senatorial District in Shendam Local Government area of the state.
His followership transcends his immediate Plateau community judging from the national assignments he had been saddled with at the government and party levels. As National Chairman of the Conference of Speakers, he built and sustained good relationships with his contemporaries and the younger generation across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. Currently serving as Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Lalong, alongside his colleagues, in the past few months, again demonstrated patriotism by clamoring the shift of the position of Nigeria's president from the North to the South to the admiration of Nigerians. It takes a personality like Lalong to stand firm and bold, against all odds, to advocate free and fair primary presidential election, leading to the victory of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who emerged as the presidential candidate of the APC.
Based on the foregoing, the choice of Lalong to play a leading role as Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council for the 2023 general election is a welcome and timely development. With Lalong, Asiwaju Tinubu is assured of a dependable, charismatic, workaholic, urbane, visionary and loyal person to drive the efforts of the campaign team to lead the APC to victory in the forthcoming presidential poll.
Prince Oyekunle Oyewumi writes from Ogbomoso, Oyo state