Issues in Plateau’s political landscape
CONTINUED FROM LAST FRIDAY
“I BECAME Chief of Staff, Government House due to what happened between Governor Jang and Dame Pauline Tallen. Then, Her Excellency thought she could slug it out with His Excellency (the Governor) and because of that, the then Chief of Staff was promoted to become the deputy gubernatorial candidate or running mate of the Governor and I was promoted to be Chief of Staff. So if you look at it, God has been carrying me from one phase to the other and it has been more like training for me as far as the reality of Plateau and the leadership of this state is concerned. Under the tutelage of Governor Jang, I must say that one has learnt a significant deal about not just the management of people but the management of resources.
“When I found myself as a senator after the death of Senator Gyang Dantong, I felt it was an opportunity for me to also play my role in representing the northern zone and the key issue I thought I should concern myself with is the insecurity in the state that consumed the life of my predecessor. And I passionately devoted myself to creating platforms for dialogues leading to the relative peace we now enjoy in Jos. God has used me in one form or the other, together with existing institutions at the state and federal levels on ground. We have partnered together for peace with the STF, Police, State Security Service and others.
“I’ve always felt that the real essence of government is to meet the expectations of the people and as a senator, I had to ensure that I did what I needed to do and I’ve continued to do what is important in terms of meeting the expectations of my constituents. That is why one of the key things I did was to push a bill on reconciliation and reconstruction because I do know that the damage we have experienced as a state and as a nation has been very serious and as a result, there is need for a national framework that will bring about reconstruction and reconciliation of some of those destroyed areas and displaced communities in a very constructive manner.”
On the pleasant surprise, Pwajok said: “The pleasant surprise that came means that God has been very faithful. Some people describe me as more or less a destiny child of some sort and I believe that God has so much in store for Plateau state and all the young persons that have emerged. This has also generated a level of confidence because when I travel round for my campaign, from one local government area to another to address and appeal to delegates, God has been able to touch the heart of those who initially hated the idea that GNS can become the next governor of Plateau State.”
On how he feels about some of the comments and reactions as a result of his aspiration, Pwajok said: “The truth of the matter is that all these issues have clearly proved that I’ve been in public office and I have always been a people’s person. Once you are a public figure, your life is no longer private, your attitude, your predisposition and your activities become susceptible to scrutiny and to that extent, and you will find people with divided opinions. Those who look at you and feel you shouldn’t be; those who question God’s favour, those who feel you have achieved all these things because you have schemed your way through and those who feel you don’t deserve to be where you are for one reason or the other. But the crux of the matter is that God has his own way of doing things. I am also overwhelmed by the fact that God could find me worthy and that he is touching the hearts of leaders to give me endorsement and even the youths too who are virtually waking up to the reality that this is their opportunity, this is their time and there is a need for them to grab the opportunity and use it well.
“Most of the focus is the development of the state and haven made positive contributions to the development of the state, it made it easier for people to come and say it is possible to rally round this person and give him support. I’ve always seen the office of the governor as not so much of an individual office but a collective office; an umbrella office that encompasses all other offices in terms of the distribution of resources, patronage and offices. So when people reduce the governorship office to individual office and to primordial issues, I think they are not getting the real sense of the word. I have always had an abiding conviction in terms of my belief that only when people act collectively and they are together can the situation be better; that is why we came up with the slogan, ‘Greater Together.’
“This state can actually be greater when people harness their resources, gifts and talents for its betterment. And I think we need to deal with issues of ancient animosities and worn-out formulas that are no longer very fashionable as far as contemporary political discuss are concerned. But I’ve seen situations when people want to remind us of our ancestral background, our tribal lineages and even when villages have disappeared. People still talk about villages, when communities are becoming multi-cultural and multi-ethnic and multi-religious, people are still trying to emphasize the differences. I have always looked at the reality of the Plateau question as characterized by what you may call a ‘melting pot’ of some sort or a bowl of salad where in spite of the diversity, you’ll find that there is a harmony that could be so pleasant and useful or best, we completely forget our differences and melt to bring out something completely new. That is why the Plateau Project and the Plateau Agenda should be such that convince people and bring them together in a manner that will confront the realities and development; will transform our state into a hub of developmental innovation by ensuring that all hands are on deck so as to build a state that we will be proud of. That is my view about what we should focus on.”
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