BY MARIE-THERESE NANLONG
Governor Jonah Jang’s bid to exchange positions with Senator Gyang Pwajok in the Plateau governorship and House of Assembly election comes unstuck after voters shot down his proposal to position his alter ego as his successor
Many residents of Plateau State are still basking in the euphoria of the victory of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Barr. Simon Lalong in last Saturday’s governorship election as they go about celebrating the victory with drums and songs waving brooms as they go round the city.
Residences of the winner at the Federal Low Cost area and that of his deputy, Prof. Sonny Tyoden at the Rayfield area are being besieged by supporters who dance to various tunes in celebration of the election victory.
Besides the politicians, citizens also show solidarity waving brooms as they stand in front of their houses cheering the convoy of vehicles carrying supporters round the city and discussing the factors that led to the upset victory of Lalong over the establishment candidate, Gyang Pwajok of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Many who are unhappy with the defeat of Pwajok blame incumbent governor, Jonah Jang for “bringing the APC to Plateau State because of his selfishness.”
It would be recalled that several pleas for the governor to rescind the decision of making Senator Pwajok his successor fell on deaf ears hence the decision of the people to give their votes to the APC candidate.
However, the chances of the candidates were not unconnected with different affiliations the people had as reflected in the manner in which the votes were cast.
As the results were announced, it showed clearly that sympathy for Pwajok came mostly from his Berom kinsmen with paltry votes coming from the Kanke speaking region of his running mate and Langtang South local government area.
Pwajok won five local government areas from the Plateau North Senatorial zone which he represents as a senator but lost Jos East which had traditionally been in the opposition.
Out of 17 local government areas, results showed he won only six local government areas including Bassa, Langtang South, Riyom, Jos South, Barkin Ladi and Kanke.
His opponent won 11 out of the 17 local government areas including Jos North, Mangu, Pankshin, Jos East, Kanam, Langtang North, Bokkos, Mikang, Shendam, Wase and Qua’an Pan.
These votes came because generally, the people are said to be disenchanted with Governor Jang who saw Pwajok as his sole project. The people it was said wanted a change and the yearning for the next governor to come from the Southern zone also garnered votes for Lalong.
Apart from Jos North which gave the highest number of votes to the APC, Mangu local government area where Prof. Sonny Tyoden, the running mate of Barr. Lalong hails from also contributed to the Party’s victory,
Tyoden’s tribe, the Mwaghavul has not had the position of either the deputy-governor nor the governor since 1999 so they saw the Lalong/Tyoden ticket as an opportunity hence the overwhelming votes believing that if both end well, Tyoden stands a chance of being the governor after Lalong thereby confirming the arrangement that Southern Plateau should hand-over to someone from Central Plateau before it comes back to Northern Plateau.
Though Pwajok’s running mate, Yilji Gomwalk is Ngas from Kanke local government area, Lalong’s wife, Regina is also Ngas from Pankshin local government area. These factors also influenced the giving of Kanke votes to PDP and Pankshin votes to the APC but Jos North votes for the APC was mainly due to party affiliation. Jos North predominantly occupied by Hausa Fulanis has traditionally been the base of the opposition.
But some from the Hausa-Fulani area said they could not have given their votes to Pwajok because as one of them said, “Governor Jang has always told us GNS is the architect of his administration and our people were marginalized during the administration. That means he will continue in marginalizing us and that is why we are seeking a change.”
Some Ngas also felt that it was better for them to hold the position of the First Lady than to get the seat of a Deputy Governor which they saw as a spare tyre.
Meanwhile, citizens have urged the winner to carry everyone along irrespective of the previous differences and ensure he does not disappoint the mandate they gave to him.
Lalong on his part appreciated the people of Plateau for supporting him promising to carry everyone along.
He assured that on assumption of office, he will clear all arrears of salaries owed the civil servants in the state.