A senator representing Plateau North senatorial district at the National Assembly, Jonah Jang, has said he is ready to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari if Nigerians desire “effective, positive change and a better country.”
Although Mr. Buhari is yet to formally declare his intention to seek re-election, he is expected to run as the candidate of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress.
Mr. Jang, a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, governed Plateau State between 2007 and 2015. His anointed candidate, however, lost the Plateau governorship election in 2015 to the APC’s Simon Lalong.
A panel set up by the incumbent governor has since found Mr. Jang and other officials of his administrations of misappropriating hundreds of millions of Naira of state funds while in office. Mr. Jang refused to appear before the panel and has denied any wrongdoing.
On Sunday, the ex-governor also said the advice given by two former heads of state, Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida, to the president on 2019 was apt as, according to him, APC had not performed well since assuming power in 2015.
Mr. Jang spoke during an interaction with journalists at his residence in Du, Jos South Local Government Area of the state, on Sunday evening.
Apart from restating his controversial comments a few days ago, wherein he said the Senate is not meant for young persons, Mr. Jang also blamed leadership failure for the killings by armed herdsmen in some parts of the country.
The lawmaker also spoke on his frosty relationship with the state governor, Simon Lalong, which has been a subject of media focus for a while.
Mr. Jang said he will be ready to take over from Mr. Buhari after he gets a go ahead from God.
“I’m in politics to serve my people. If Nigerians really feel I can be President, why not? But I will have to confide in my creator (God) first,” he said.
The former governor also spoke on the comments by two former Nigerian leaders.
“Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and General Ibrahim Babangida just expressed their feelings among many Nigerians. Probably, they voted for him (Buhari) in 2015, and they are just telling him (Buhari) that we won’t give you (Buhari) our votes again.
“But for God sake, they (Obasanjo/Babangida) have done nothing wrong. They have the right to express how they feel about his (Buhari) governance. Most Nigerians did same during Goodluck Jonathan’s administration even when he was trying his best. Why will Buhari’s own become an exception?”
He also accused the APC of “mal-administration and mismanagement at all levels of governance.”
“I don’t understand the reason for the blame game (by APC). If till today, after two years in governance, the APC administration is blaming PDP for it failures, then the time is up for them to leave.”
Mr. Jang also said he supported restructuring of the nation via true federalism so as to enhance rapid national development.
He shed more light on his recent statement on the need for youth to leave the Senate seats to the older ones.
“If you have hot heads of youthful nature in the Senate and House of representatives, what kind of laws do you think the National Assembly will produce for Nigerians? That is why the House of Representative is always rowdy, full of young people, though we have a few of them (youth) in the senate, the likes of Dino. That is why I said (the) Senate is not for the young ones. And in Hausa language, the senate is called “Maijelisan Datibai” meaning “assembly of elders”, so where is the position of the youth here?” Mr. Jang asked.
The former governor also said he has not met with his predecessor, Mr. Lalong, since he left office as governor two and a half years ago.
“Shortly before Lalong was inaugurated as governor, I personally invited him to talk with him. I wrote him a letter that I personally signed, but he never came nor has he replied me till today. As we speak, I have not seen Lalong since he became governor. For God sake, even by age, I am older than Lalong. I’m above 70 years. He should pay me homage as an elder in this state (Plateau).
“I was ready to help him, (Lalong) guide him on how I was able to govern the state successfully, but he never honoured my invitation till date. So how do I contribute to the development of the state? So, I can’t assess him. Plateau people should assess Lalong not me (Jang).”
He also called on the federal government to prosecute killed herders
“Federal government need to take more proactive and drastic actions against herdsmen who are carrying firearms, killing people. To my understanding, those herdsmen carrying firearms and killing people are not Nigerians, they should be shown the way out of the country. The federal government must answer this question: how do this killer herdsmen gain access into Nigerian territory? Someone should be held responsible for this.”
“I was confronted with herdsmen attacks for eight years as governor of Plateau State. State governors should be given powers in their respective states to prosecute criminals, not just herdsmen. During my regime as governor, some of the criminals were arrested, taken to Abuja, and they disappeared in the thin air. Till date, none of them was prosecuted.”
He said the government should not get involved in the cattle colonies it was proposing to stem the carnage between farmers and herdsmen saying, “Cattle business is private business.”