Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong has been honored by the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) for his efforts in peace and development with an award for Peace and Infrastructural Development.
The NIPR at its national workshop on “Lobbying and Social Change” holding in Calabar, Cross Rivers State said Governor Lalong has remained a shining example in peacebuilding, harmony, and tolerance which is the foundation for development.
The Governor was represented by the Commissioner for Information and Communication Hon. Dan Manjang received the award at the Transcorp Hotel Calabar.
NIPR President and Chairman of Council Mallam. Mukhtar Zubairu Sirajo said Governor Lalong was carefully chosen for the award because of the qualities that have embraced every segment of the society for development.
He said Governor Lalong is a marketable product who has utilized public relations tools of persuasion, dialogue and lobby to bring people of various interests to the table that today have assisted Plateau State to regain its position as the Home of Peace and Tourism as well as a preferred destination for Nigerians and foreigners.
Receiving the award on behalf of the Governor, Mr. Dan Manjang said Governor Lalong has been a man of peace and a quiet achiever that has addressed development needs based on equity, justice and fairness.
Governor Lalong said “My experience as the Governor of Plateau State gives me confidence that lobbying can greatly assist in calming frayed nerves and reducing tension in the society.
When I came on board, there was so much violence, mistrust and lack of confidence among various groups in Plateau State. Rather than impose peace using force, I decided to engage stakeholders in fostering dialogue through lobbying.
Practically, I lobbied them to see the reason to agree to sit together and talk event when many of them had sworn that they would never sit with each other based on ethnic and religious differences. With consistent lobby and persuasion, they eventually agreed to sit and dialogue.
This was a very slow and tortuous process, but eventually, we succeeded in having them understand that peace lies with them and not with law enforcement agencies.”
He advocated for the institutionalization of lobbying as a standard practice in Nigeria backed by law.
Director of Press &Public Affairs to the Governor Dr. Makut Simon Macham and the Personal Assistant to the Governor Mr. John Naandoet who are both members of the NIPR accompanied the Governor’s representative to the workshop.