From Yakubu Busari, Jos
The Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong has cleared the air on the controversy surrounding the names in his certificates, which is being canvassed at the election petition tribunal by candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the last governorship elections, Senator Jeremiah Useni
At a memorial service for his late paternal uncle, Miskoom Stephen Sule Nanbiet, held at Shendam Local Government on Saturday, the governor explained to the congregation what actually happened.
Lalong told worshippers that, “because of the kind of tradition of love and oneness that exists in our culture, all of us under him bore his name Sule because he registered us in school. It was when I finished school that my uncle said now that you are grown up and since you are the first male child of your father, you need to bear his name.
The Governor noted that, ” that was when I did an affidavit to take on my family name of Bako. But unfortunately my opponents are making an issue of it even when the tribunal rejected their arguments”.
Lalong who attended the memorial service at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Shendam along with his wife Regina and top government officials including Secretary to the Government of Plateau State Prof. Danladi Atu, used the event to thank his late uncle who took him from his parents from his village Ajikamai where there was no school to Shendam where he enrolled him in primary school.
He said, ” Your helper can come from anywhere and God can use anyone to make you great. My uncle took me from my village where we had no school and brought me to Shendam where he enrolled me into school and by the grace of God I am Governor today.
“That is why I have always insisted that we should do good to all people and avoid divisive tendencies because we don’t know what God can make of people at his own time”.
He said ” when my uncle asked my father to release me to him, my father told him that he has become your son, take him with you.”
He thanked the people of Shendam for supporting his re-election and promised never to let them down.
He explained that his administration inherited so much decay that he had to address especially in school and hospital infrastructure, which were dilapidated.
He said as Governor, he could not sleep when workers and pensioners are in pain and anguish over unpaid salaries, gratuities and pensions, hence his decision to pay backlog and also recall over 2000 teachers that were sacked by immediate past administration.
He said his legacy projects were meant to not only rebuild schools, but also make them ICT complaint in line with today’s demands.
He asked the people of the state to shun all incitements that are meant to divide the state along ethnic, religious, denominational and political lines.
“Plateau State remains one and we must work together to make it so,” he declared.
Parish priest of the Sacred Heart Aathedral Shendam, Rev. Fr. Hoomsuk Ahmadu asked the Governor to continue paying attention to education and health just like the late Miskoom Stephen Sule did while he was alive.
This would be the greatest honour that can be done to the late Miskoom Stephen Sule, said the priest, according to Dr. Makut Simon Macham ANIPR, the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Governor in a statement.