Dr. James Dalok, running mate to PDP governorship candidate in Plateau, Sen. Jerry Unseni, has said that the retired Army General’s military background was a huge advantage to the troubled north-central state.
“The PDP governorship candidate’s vast experience in security matters is a huge advantage to Plateau because the state needs people verse in peace and security issues to tackle its lingering instability,” Dalok told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Sunday in Mangu.
NAN reports that Plateau had been embroiled in massive violence since the first crisis broke out in 2001, leading to loss of lives and property.
Efforts to end the violence have not yielded the desired results as rural communities have consistently come under vicious attacks, while irate youths on “reprisal attacks” have killed many others, including innocent travelers, to vent their anger.
But Dalok, who was recently unveiled as the running to Useni, told NAN that the Plateau North Senator had “very deep knowledge” of security issues and would deploy same toward enthroning peace on the Plateau if elected in 2019.
“Plateau has been embroiled in all manners of violence over the years, with the rural dwellers worst hit by gunmen that invade their communities and kill them at will.
“The federal and state governments have done a lot to end the violence, but the bloodshed still persists.
“What the state needs is someone who understands the intricacies involved in such matters.
“Aside being a top and brilliant military officer, Useni has been military governor and was also a minister of the Federal Capital Territory. Such offices have exposed him to leading civilians and soldiers.
“If elected governor, I have no doubt that Useni will bring such vast knowledge to bear in mobilising the civilian populace, the military, Police and other stakeholders toward ending the violence that has been Plateau’s lot over the years.
“Very often, Plateau governors have clashed with military authorities maintaining law and order in the state over operational tactics and distrust by the civil populace being protected. Useni knows enough of all groups to ensure a smooth working relationship to achieve the right results,” Dalok said.
Urging Plateau people to “vote wisely”, he said that the PDP candidate had attended various security courses and trainings, both in and outside Nigeria, which had prepared him to broker peace among warring communities and nations.
Dalok, who described insecurity as the major problem of the average Plateau resident, promised that a PDP government would mobilise all stakeholders to see security as their individual and collective responsibility.
“We shall work toward ensuring that everyone is part of the process toward a peaceful Plateau. We shall be fair to all, and be prepared to listen t0 the grievances of all sides as we strive to restore Plateau’s peaceful past,” he said.
Declaring that Plateau’s potential could only be realised if there was peace, love and unity, Dalok said that traditional, religious, community and youth leaders would be mobilised to lead the peace process and make it their own project.
“We shall make everyone realise that Plateau remains all that we have, hence the need to nurture and guard it jealously,” he said.
On the economy, Dalok said that Useni had also acquired massive connections over the years and was ready to deploy them to maximum advantage to shore up Plateau’s economic fortunes.
“Useni, as FCT Minister, personally supervised its growth to the great city it has become. Our plan is to deploy the same strategy to ensure the growth of Plateau and make it a model,” he said.
Dalok, who recently retired from the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), where he was a Deputy Director, promised to deploy his experience as revenue expert to improve the Internal Generated Revenue (IGR), profile of the state.
“I intend to use my experience as a revenue expert to map out strategies to generate more revenue into the coffers of the state; we need such funds to execute projects that will make life better for our people.”
He decried the lack of basic infrastructure, especially in the rural areas, saying that the situation had ensured that more rural dwellers were fleeing into the state capital in search of unavailable jobs.
“We have fertile land that needs only a little attention to yield much. The only way to keep more people to till the land is to provide basic facilities like electricity, power, water and roads. We shall make that a priority,” he said.
He also spoke on the need to improve the quality of schools and the teachers, and regretted a situation where primary and secondary graduates could neither read nor write.
Dalok, a chattered accountant, said that efforts would equally be made to attract investors to explore abundant resources in the solid minerals and tourism sectors so as to create jobs and rake in revenue.
The Deputy Governorship candidate expressed optimism that the PDP would win the governorship seat in Plateau, claiming that the APC-led administration had brought poverty and hardship to the state.