By Luka Binniyat
The recent disclosure by the Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Chief Mrs Pauline Tallen of her readiness to contest the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial primaries against Governor Chief David Jonah Jang was another cause for disquiet on the politically troubled Plateau.
It was confirmation to long running rumours that while Jos and environs were smouldering with ethnic and religious violence, that the governor and his deputy were equally drawn in their own battle.
Tallen who made her national debut as the Minister of Science and Technology in 1999 has since then not been completely lost from national consciousness.
While in the Federal Cabinet (1999-2003) Tallen’s ever smiling face below elaborately made colourful headgear gave her a brand.
Even after her exit from the cabinet in 2003, she remained a fixture in the political permutations on the Plateau. It was not surprising that the Sociology graduate of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) was picked as the running mate to Jang in the 2007 governorship poll.
The sweet and sour story of the political couple with the recent announcement by Mrs. Tallen is now headed for what is believed to be a stormy divorce.
In this brief encounter at a book launch in Abuja last Thursday, Tallen told Vanguard’s Luka Binyat part of the story.
Having declared your interest to contest the Plateau State 2011 gubernatorial election, what would you be bringing to Plateau State should you emerge as governor?
It was a motivation from God and I accept that in faith all for the sake of my people; for the healing of the land; for the unity of the land and for love to flow again on the Plateau.
I intend to see that the past glory of Plateau State comes back. And I believe that with God on my side, success would be mine
What is the problem that has led you to contest against a governor with whom you are serving on a joint ticket?
I don’t have any grudge against my Governor. And I want it said loud and clear, that I am playing politics-without-bitterness. I don’t want to go into details of what has happened between us. But just take that I am simply answering the call of my people.
For all that has happened over the years, since we have been in office, I leave it to God. It is God that chooses leaders, God sees every heart. I just want the will of God upon my life, and on the Plateau. By the grace of God, the peace and love that Plateau is known for would come back.
How would you bring your wisdom to settle once and for all the raging issue of indigenes and settlers in Jos?
This is an issue that has been very controversial, but one thing is certain. We know the position of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. If I become governor, I would not do anything that would contradict the supreme law of the land. I stand by what the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria says about citizenship.
Would you attempt reconciling the settlers and indigenes or are you going to strictly enforce the relevant portion of constitution, or how are you going to do that?
Through dialogue. And I believe that God on our side, we will succeed.
The Plateau State House of Assembly, by all indication is divided into two. It is said that the more powerful faction is loyal to you, while the other to the Governor, what is your take here?
I don’t have any comment on that, You can go and find out from them. I really don’t want to make any comment on that. I just want you to know that the situation on the Plateau is such that I want to make it clear, that I have no bitterness against any body.
I came with an open and clean heart as the mother of the land to heal the land and to accept the calling of my people, so that peace love and unity will come back to the plateau. Irrespective of tribe, colour or religion. I believe that it is God that chooses leaders.
I seek God’s will not my will. Let the almighty chose the right person that will bring healing, unity and love to the state because without unity, without love, there can be no progress.
In the Presidential Primaries of the PDP, you are going to be a delegate. It is said that your camp is not with President Jonathan Goodluck. Who would you be voting for in the Presidential primaries?
You are probing into what is very personal to me. And you know that even at the venue of voting, all delegates are entitled to vote in secret. Only God knows who will really vote for who. But, be that as it may, every body is entitled to his opinion about me not being on the side of the President. But the President knows that I enjoy a cordial relation with him. I don’t have to over flog the issue. I am a delegate and I will exercise my right as a delegate. Thank you.