Chief (Dr.) Solomon Daushep Lar (born April 1933) is a Nigerian politician who has held various offices at the National level for over 50 years. He was a member of the first national parliament when Nigeria gained independence in 1960. He was elected governor of Plateau State on the Nigerian People’s Party(NPP) platform during the Nigerian Second Republic, holding office from October 1979 until the Military coup of 31 December 1983 that brought General Muhammadu Buhari to power. Later, he was founding Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which has held power since the return to democracy in 1999.
Birth and Early Career
Lar was born in Pongaa, Langtang, Plateau State in April 1933. His father was a farmer and his mother a pottery maker. He studied at the Sudan United Mission Primary School in Langtang, and then at the Gindiri Teachers College where he qualified to teach at the Primary School, Langtang. After two years he returned to Gindiri for the Senior Teachers Training Programme, earned his Higher Elementary Certificate and started to teach at the Senior Primary School level. He planned to become a clergyman.
Lar was elected as a councilor to the Langtang Natives Authority in January 1959. On 12 December 1959 he was elected to the Federal Parliament on the platform of United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC). He was re-elected in 1964, and from then until 15 January 1966, when General Yakubu Gowon took power in a coup, Lar was parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. He was also a Junior Minister in the Federal Ministry of Establishments.
After the fall of the democratic government, Lar attended Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, graduating in 1970 with an LLB and being called to the bar in 1971. He established a private legal practice, and was co-founder and first National Secretary of the Nigerian Legal Aid Association.
In 1972, Lar joined the Board of Amalgamated Tin Mines of Nigeria. He became Chairman of the Board of Directors of African Continental Bank, Member of the Nigeria Council of Legal Education and a member of the Constituent Assembly (1977–1978). He was vice-chairman of the panel chaired by Justice Ayo Irikefe that recommended expanding from 12 to 19 states during the regime of generals Murtala Muhammed and Olusegun Obasanjo. Lar was also a Board member of the USA-based World Environmental Movement for Africa.
Second and Third Republics
At the start of the Second Republic, Lar was a co-founder of the Nigerian People’s Party. He was nominated as the party’s presidential candidate in 1978, and later won the governorship election in Plateau State as the first Executive Governor on 1 October 1979. His deputy was Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma. He was active in building infrastructure in the state including hospitals, educational institutions, rural electrification, water supplies, and roads. He introduced reforms to state employment laws, abolishing the daily pay and contract systems and introducing paid maternity leave for nursing mothers.
During the Nigerian Third Republic, Lar was a supporter of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). He was appointed Minister of Police Affairs by the government of General Sani Abacha, later resigning when he realized Abacha was not serious about restoring democracy.
In the transition to the Nigerian Fourth Republic Lar became the first National Chairman of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 1998, holding this position until 2002 when he handed over to Chief Barnabas Gemade. In February 2004 he resigned as chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, handing over to Chief Tony Anenih at a caucus in Abuja