Plateau’s political dynamics and Pwajok’s bid
FOR the umpteenth time, the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic party (PDP) in Plateau State, Senator Gyang Pwajok, has appealed to his co-contestants who lost in the primaries with him to sheathe the sword and join hands with him to move the state to the next level. He declared this recently while speaking with journalists in Jos, the Plateau State capital.
A former governor of the state, Ambassador Fidelis Tapgun, former PDP chairman in the state, Dr. Haruna Dabin, Chief Jimmy Cheto, Architect John Akali, Senator Victor Lar and the present Deputy Governor of the state, Mr. Ignatius Longjang are among PDP Chieftains who contested the primary elections with Pwajok but lost the battle. Although one time chairman of the party in the state, Prof. Dakum Shown, did not contest the elections, he was not happy with the outcomes of the party primaries because he had expected that the government should have supported the rotation of the governorship which he believed should ordinarily have gone to the Southern senatorial zone which last tasted the governorship 16 years ago.
However, political affairs watchers quickly pointed out that zoning should give way to merits as it was not entrenched in the constitution. According to them the issue of zoning is what is breeding mediocrity in the society which should by this 21st century be dumped and buried. But they explained that each of the three senatorial districts had had its own share of the governorship seat, adding that the issue of zoning therefore should be jettisoned to reflect the modern day reality.
Pwajok, speaking with journalists, said: “I believe that the environment is also an area we need to focus on. A lot of climate change is going on, while people continue to embark on bush burning land we know that it creates serious damage on the environment and the ecology and so it is something we need to re-focus on. We want to see new city area, remodelled city areas that will help to a large extent in the direction that we are moving on.
“Topmost of this is the fact that security needs to be handled carefully in a way that will bring about the peace that we so desire. There is so much that needs to be done for Plateau State. I believe also that we need to move away from just regime legacies and begin to look at the Plateau legacy in more defined manner.”
The governorship candidate who is a political scientist of repute who was spewing out great Marxist revolutionary thoughts who has also been talking about a generational shift, explained that he believes in Frantz Fanon’s “The Wretched of the Earth” theory. “I believe in the Frantz Fanon’s perception that each generation must out of relative obscurity, discover its mission and fulfil it or betray it. I think we have a generational opportunity to fulfil what we consider to be our generational interest. I think also that contemporary issues need to have contemporary solutions and to that extent, this generation must rise up to the challenge of transforming the state into what they visualise for the future. I believe that getting ourselves into positions of leadership and decision making process at the top level of it allows us to make our mistakes and to correct our mistakes and to do what is required.”
Pwajok continued, “If the older generation has done everything well, it means that this generation wouldn’t have the golden opportunity of trying something new. What it then means is that the failures of the past must be dealt with by those who are in current position to deal with the realities of governance. This is the nature of what you call the generational shift. I am one of those who believe that while old men dream dreams, young men see vision and because there is a relationship between dreams and visions, we will certainly help in the transformation that will impact in the future of our state, which means that our government should be anchored on an understanding that the old and the young have a role to play in governance.”
He appealed to those who contested with him in the primaries and lost that “we need a state that we all can be proud of. The real essence of contesting any elective position should be guided by the understanding that one position is meant for only one individual. So there are those who are bound to win and those who are bound not to win. The implication is that we must realise that in winning, it does not mean that you are better than the rest but that God has shined His countenance upon you to the extent that you need everybody to forge ahead. And for those who think they have lost, they have lost nothing. They have the ability and opportunity to make contributions because the essence is that as you transform from politics, you move to governance and in governance, it is the people’s interest that is of paramount concern and that meeting the collective yearnings of the people requires everybody’s inputs including those who contested. So, my appeal to all that contested the primaries with me is simply that, God has made it possible for an individual to emerge and that individual needs your support, your inputs and contributions for our dear state to succeed. We can all surrender our individual programmes into a collective one, a real “Plateau programmme.”
It is instructive that while other contestants looked the other way after their defeat and dumped the PDP they founded, Longjan refused on principles, to desert the party. Having signed an accord to be of good behavior before, during and after the elections, all the major parties in the state adhere to the rules of the game.
But a public affairs analyst in the state submitted that is that works, the victory of PDP in the governorship race will be a foregone conclusion, not minding the divisive clause of zoning which is still a big issue in the Plateau calculations.
The Director-General, Plateau State PDP Campaign Council for the 2015 general elections, Mr. Daniel Kungmi, told journalists of The NewsGate after Pwajok had held rallies in all the 17 local governments of the state that the campaign trail was well received every where they went to which he said was a sign of overwhelming acceptability of their flagbearer.
According to Kungmi, “We have gone round the state and the reception has been enormous. First, I want to salute the people of Plateau for doing us well in terms of the mobilization, turn out, degree of love they showed our candidate and the entire campaign trail, and by extension, the PDP is a demonstration of the quality of governance the PDP has provided for the people of Plateau state as a people who have sacrificed a lot to give birth to the People’s Democratic Party. So, what Plateau people are demonstrating, I as the campaign Director, see it that even if Plateau is going to be the last state standing in the PDP, they will do so.
“You will also note that the North Central Zone has largely been the pillar of democracy in Nigeria and the stronghold of the PDP and that is why Late Chief Solomon Lar was the pioneer Chairman of the PDP in Nigeria, Engr. Barnabas Gemade from Benue, Chief Audu Ogbe also from Benue, Alhaji Ahmadu Ali, the Director-General of the Presidential Campaign council from Kogi as leaders and national chairmen of the PDP. Also, if you look at the presidential campaign list of the PDP, over 14 sons and daughters of Plateau state are on that campaign train. This is what brings about the sharp contrast between the PDP and other political parties as it affects Plateau State.
“I would want to say, based on the indices we have seen, Plateau people are solidly behind the PDP. There may be some challenges due to the fall-out from the primary elections that took place here in the state but gradually, the people of Plateau state are understanding because you don’t take a decision when you are in a state of anger. As a pastor or a parent, once you take a decision in a state of anger, you are much likely to take a decision that is irrational and as a man of God, the spirit of God will depart from you because anger is a vice not virtue. My appeal to Plateau people is that they should remain calm, know where they are coming from in order to forge ahead and take decisions that will stand the test of time in the interest of our dear state because the PDP remains our party. We cannot leave our home because of minor disputes to go to a land that is not clearly defined.”
He said that their campaign tours were to send that message to the people and let them know that for the past 16 years, leaders emerged on the Plateau whose achievements and gains can be counted. He admitted that in those years mistakes must certainly be made, but that is now incumbent on them to learn from those mistakes and continue to improve on the quality of governance. “And that is what our gubernatorial candidate, Senator GNS Pwajok, offers, having been pioneer Secretary of the PDP in his local government area (Jos North) and then later becoming Director of Research, Chief of Staff and now Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He has gone through the grill of politics and he has learnt a lot. It is evident enough that he is more than any other candidate prepared to move Plateau based on dexterity, focus and vision. Of all the candidates, he alone seems to have a clear vision as to what to do for Plateau. Leadership is not about confrontation but about taking Plateau from this level to a level that we will be proud of.”
The Campaign Director-General argued that they need somebody who is not tribalistic, somebody who is humble, exposed, connected who has good dose of what is expected from the governor of Plateau, pointing out that during the flag off of his empowerment programme in Mangu, Senate President David Mark who witnessed the event attested to the credulity and competence of Pwajok who has brought people from all tribes and all zones to make up his campaign team which goes to show no tribal or ethnic sentiment. “GNS Pwajok remains the only gubernatorial candidate that has been to the southern zone twice to spend the night there and meet the people. He was there when canvassing for delegates and for his campaign rally. Most politicians are always in a hurry by he took time to sleep over in Langtang and used the opportunity to reach out to as many groups as possible. His tour of the southern zone has also given hum insights as to some of the challenges that need to be addressed. Our campaign largely is to send a message that this is a product (GNS) that will move Plateau to a level that we will all be proud of.”
As the political atmosphere in the state hots up especially as the 28th March draws near, the Chief Campaign Strategist of the Lalong/Tyoden Campaign Organisation of APC, Prof. John Wade, threw down a gauntlet which was immediately picked up by a PDP loyalist in the state, Alhaji Ado Shigi.
According to Wade, the contest between the APC and PDP in the state will be a battle royale with APC carrying the day all through. “The people of Plateau have long spoken and just waiting for the D-day to actualize their resolve. The people have tried different governments that have served two terms, watched their performances and made comparisons.”
But Shigi while speaking with The Headline, contended that Pwajok had passed through political offices which are relevant and also key to the present administration. “There are senators in other states that are contesting the governorship position too. So, to me, GNS is a an experience person, full of energy and highly intelligent and he has all it takes not only to become a governor, even the President of this country. I am very happy to hear the governor (Jang) coming out publicly saying they happened to be from the same village with Pwajok’s parents and therefore he (Pwajok) has his own programme even though I am part of the Redemption Project. I see him only not continuing, instead adding more value to the redemption programme of Governor Jang.
“So, I want to believe that GNS Pwajok will operate well because he knows where to add more value to the state. I don’t see GNS taking instructions directly from Jang as people are insinuating. Time has not come for proper opposition in Nigeria. By the grace of God, we will not lose the election. We will win. The politics of opposition in Nigeria is a funny thing because people don’t operate on the principle. For instance, if you look at the case of Atiku, a sitting Vice Present then, who went to the opposition party to champion his course and yet he couldn’t make it. Likewise Pauline Tallen who was deputy governor, same thing happened to her too and they had to return to the PDP before decamping to APC.”
All said and done, one intrinsic quality in Pwajok that may ease his aspiration is his innate Philanthropy. People who knew him at Ali Kazaure in Jos North said he was naturally generous to people without wanting to know where they come from or their religious beliefs. Mallam Musa, who was Pwajok’s neighbour said that the Senator liked people generally especially children and always shared with them the little he had. He prayed for him to win the election to the seat of the governor of the state.
The generosity Pwajok is now exhibiting is a continuation of his filial duty that he inherited from his parents. All these attributes, it was gathered, are cushioned with respect.
His good gestures become more glaring as he grows especially during this critical period of electioneering where he visits victims of bomb blasts, displaced persons who took refuge in the state and orphanage homes.
The recent historic pleasant package by the senator was the empowerment of over 1000 less-privileged people from Plateau North Senatorial district. Widows, youth, farmers, artisans, traders, politicians, cultural groups are some of the beneficiaries where items like vehicles, tricycles, water pumps, hair dryers, block moulding machines, generating sets, grinding machines, millng machines, sewing machines, barbing kits, computers, wheel chairs among others were distributed.
Pwajok noted that the programme was aimed at creating opportunities for the less privileged to participate in the economy and improve their earning potentials in order to assist their families to fight their way out of poverty. He said that the initiative is part of effort put in place by him and his team to increase small and medium scale enterprises among people of his constituency, “thus improving the quality of lives of the citizenry through capacity building. It is when our people are gainfully employed that they will be able to put food on their table and become self-sufficient.”
The Senate Presidnet, David Mark, who witnessed the event, said he was shocked that apart from the legislative qualities of Pwajok, he still has the human heart to giver back to society. He urged the people of the state to have an abiding faith in him as there is no need changing a winning team.
Even the residents hardly believes it when the news filtered the atmosphere that Pwajok was going to distribute items to them because it had never happened in the state for a senator to give back that much to the electorate.
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