The Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong has relocated to Lagos and Abuja as he lobbies to be named the running mate of Bola Tinubu.
According to a report by SaharaReporters, it has been gathered that Simon Lalong, the Plateau State Governor, has relocated to Lagos and Abuja as he lobbies to be named the running mate of Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Following Tinubu’s victory in the APC presidential primary election, speculations have been rife about who will emerge as the vice-presidential candidate of the party.
The APC had beaten the Friday, June 17 deadline given by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to political parties to submit the names of presidential candidates and their running mates.
Tinubu submitted Kabiru Masari, a former National Welfare Secretary of the APC, as the name of his running mate.
However, there are speculations that Masari’s name was merely submitted to INEC by the APC as a placeholder in order to meet up with the June 17 deadline.
Several APC governors are believed to be in contention for the position, but there has been no official decision yet.
There have been mixed reactions on social media regarding whether Tinubu will pick a northern Muslim as his running mate – since he is expected to pick a running mate from any of the three zones in the North.
Sources say Lalong is buoyed by Nigerians’ rejection of the APC presidential candidate running on a Muslim-Muslim ticket, which may make him select a running mate of Christian faith from the North.
“The governor has relocated to Lagos as we speak; the Plateau Government House has been moved there because all administrative works are being done from Lagos. He is pushing to become the running mate of the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu,” an aide to the governor said.
“He has commandeered the state’s resources for his massive campaign to be installed as Tinubu’s running mate. Billions of naira have been expended so far, many months’ worth of financial allocation to Plateau State in pursuit of his selfish ambition.
“Do you know how much he spent when he (Lalong) went to Lagos to lobby Tinubu’s close associates to prevail on the APC presidential candidate to name him as his running mate, a permutation that will position him to become the next vice president of Nigeria if Tinubu wins next year’s presidential election?
“He has equally committed a significant amount of money to run propaganda in mainstream and social media to project himself as the inevitable choice as running mate to Tinubu. Recipients of the propaganda funds are already pushing news analyses and opinion articles that extol him as the perfect running mate for the APC candidate.
“One of my friends at the Accountant General’s Office told me how billions are being converted to foreign currency for ease of transportation for onward disbursement to Lalong’s perceived influencers in Lagos. What pained me most was that we, who are his aides, are being owed.
“You know, once they left Jos, it was no longer our concern and we do not know what later happened to the money. But people on his personal team have spoken about the safehouse where the funds were warehoused before he shared the money with the people he intended it for.”
The source further expressed concern over how Lalong was sharing huge amounts of money with non-Plateau people when the state’s citizens are now “within the band of the poorest in Nigeria.”
“Isn’t it funny that a governor who can’t pay his aides is plunging the state into misery by gifting out the funds that would have paid off substantial parts of the salaries and pensions being owed to workers and retirees?” the source added.
Another source privy to information in Tinubu’s political circle confirmed that Lalong has been speaking to people who are believed to have the candidate’s ears in the hope that they would help market him as a suitable running mate.
He however said he was not aware those contacted by the governor were paid but confirmed that those he spoke to have pitched his name to the APC presidential candidate as a potential running mate.