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Plateau 2015: Pwajok Unveils Blueprint, Rallies PDP Stakeholders For Oneness

By Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi Jos
07 March 2015   |   11:00 pm
THE gubernatorial flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State, Senator Gyang Pwajok, popularly known as GNS has again advised the people of the state to shun divisive politics. Pwajok, argues that the only way the people can be united and build a prosperous, stronger Plateau and Nigeria as a whole “is…


THE gubernatorial flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State, Senator Gyang Pwajok, popularly known as GNS has again advised the people of the state to shun divisive politics. Pwajok, argues that the only way the people can be united and build a prosperous, stronger Plateau and Nigeria as a whole “is if they can avoid politics of ethnicity, politics of bitterness, hatred, ethnicity, differences in religion, politics of where one is born, mudslinging and character.”

   Since his campaigns started, Pwajok has preached against divisiveness, which he said, can tear people apart. He refuses to cast aspersion on persons. This has prompted political leaders to demand that people join hands to support this young man to victory in his governorship aspiration and put behind the disappointments in the governorship primary. 

  Recently, the Coalition of Young Redemption Advocates (CYRA) reiterated that his overwhelmingly victory in the primary was because of his track record and academic prowess. The CYRA expressed worry that Plateau people, nay Nigerians, have continuously imbibed the culture of always attacking electoral processes only when the results do not favour them despite the transparency and the quality of the process. The body urged the youth of the state not to succumb to any form of violence during the forthcoming elections.

  The organisation said, “On that day all the delegates cast their votes under the glaring halogen lights, on live television and radio. After the votes were cast, one ballot paper after another were taken out of the ballot box in public and the names on them were read out with all aspirants and delegates on hand to monitor. After this was sorted out, counting commenced and Plateau people listened to the broadcast with bated breath till a winner was declared and the jubilation began. This is a true account of what transpired that day. Distinguished Senator GNS Pwajok won the contest resoundingly and indisputably. 

  “This fact must be respected and embraced by all true lovers of Plateau State, peace and democracy. We once again wish to call on all Plateau State people to keep embracing peace and peaceful options to resolving all conflicts, as we have never gained anything good from its alternative. Our PDP gubernatorial candidate means well for all Plateau unions. A vote for GNS Pwajok in the general elections will be a vote for unity in Plateau and the entrenchment of perpetual development in Plateau State.”

  Out of the 16 governorship aspirants in the gubernatorial primaries concluded in December, Pwajok is the youngest and the delegates owing to the quest for a youthful leader, voted for him overwhelmingly as the standard bearer of the PDP.

   At an interactive session, Pwajok unveiled the reason why he seeks to govern Plateau. 

On The Mission

The mere fact that I exist as a human being shows clearly that I must be driven by something. I am driven by motivations as a human being to live life and to contribute positively to the society. Also, I want to ensure that I don’t just pass through this world but to be able to leave a visible imprint in the sands of time. To aspire for a higher office is the nature of man. But, then, there is so much to be done in Plateau State. I must tell you that in my few years as the Director General of Research and Planning and also as the Chief of Staff, I do know that the attainment under the redemption team is still at the level of 30 to 50 percent. If you take infrastructure alone, there is still so much to be done. In fact, what people are already celebrating as the successes of our dear Governor, especially in the area of infrastructure is just the tip of the iceberg far as the vision and intention of this administration are concerned. This administration would have done more if not for the dwindling allocation available to the state. Now, this is one of the key areas I will focus on, to develop means of increasing the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and also the human capacity. Having been consciously part of the ups and downs of this administration, the successes and the shortcomings as well as my experience in the federal legislature, give me the right standing to go further to contribute at the level of the executive decision making of the state.

  The future is as bright as the promises of God. I have also often emphasized this fact that God is at the centre of every human endeavour, politics not excluded. The concept, “Greater Together”, reflects a harmonious approach in dealing with societal challenges and problems, it also embodies the idea of harmony among communities. It transcends the limitation of time and space. We cannot clap with just one hand, we need all other hands to clap and the truth is that this state can only be transformed better if people are resolved not to emphasize the diversity, but the things that bind us together. As you can see, this was exemplified during my campaign as a senator as all hands were on deck to ensure that I made it to the Senate. People voted for me regardless of religion and ethnicity and this is the kind of future we want to build. As a senator, I did not see my self as representing Plateau North alone but, as a Senator representing the interest of the Plateau citizens and that explains why my name GNS Pwajok is a household name in Plateau. I must say that, my slogan as “Greater Together” indicates that there is a greatness that needs to be explored, attained and actualized. But this can only be attainable when people work together.”

Zoning and Tribalism

My candidature is something that the people have to carefully consider. Controversies are normal in political discuss, in competitions and most especially when elections are concerned. I am one person that believes that elections are equally the way and manner people express their free will of choice and that relates to individual, politics and governance. There is so much to be done in Plateau, the development we are witnessing now can only be consolidated if only we act in consonance with one another irrespective of tribe and zone and elect someone who can take us forward to consolidate on the successes already achieved. Those who are campaigning for pyramidal tendencies, ethnic issues and along divisional lines, are doing so because it pays them to rely on such campaign issues to win support and consequently elections. But my campaign is strictly speaking on the things I intend to do, things we have done in the past and the things we are capable of doing. To make Plateau State better and safer for all of us we need to break the barriers of zoning and ethnicity and focus on someone who will deliver on the desired change that we require. My submission remains that at the end, we will make Plateau State the hub of developmental strides we all desire so that people will come back and see that we are doing something.

On Equity, Justice and Fairness

To this extent, I will like to say that it has to also conform with the constitution of Nigeria, which is the supreme law of the land. The gentleman agreement as adopted in the constitution of PDP is also in line with the experiences we have passed through on the Plateau. Based on the principle of zoning and rotation it has been clearly exemplified in the experience of Plateau State. Nobody will deny the fact that the southern zone has not produced two tenures in the real sense of governance. I must also say therefore, that whoever wins election today in Plateau is in line and in conformity with the principles of internal democracy, which our great party adheres to. It is therefore also imperative to know that for me coming from the northern zone is part of the winning formula as far as PDP is concerned. To this extent, I will also like to say that all the zones have aspirants as you can see and this is in line with the principles of equity, justice and fairness.”

  On rebuilding the burnt central market, Pwajok stressed, “That will be an immediate assignment. We will look at how to restrict movements and how to engage those who insist on coming back so that we can discuss with them and make them understand that we are discussing these issues for their own good.

  Believe me, the Jos city centre is gradually looking like the backyard of the city. That is not good for us because it is supposed to be a model and that is why people are careful about rebuilding the market. People have even taken government to court to rebuild the Jos Central Market but it took billions of taxpayers’ money to build the market and people, out of those conflicts of the past felt they could attack the market. The market is a collective property of the people. When people look at government targets and attack, they are not attacking all the people. Government should not be defined as the individuals that occupy the positions but the institutions and the agencies that are designed to facilitate the collective good. These are the things that should be the focus.

Fighting Terrorism

Indeed, it is the priority of the 21st century globally. We must understand the way and manner other countries have dealt with terror groups and evolve our own strategy of dealing with it. You’ll realize that I’ve been one of those that have argued that the more we have the military on the street, it doesn’t really deal with terror in the real sense of the word, and we need a new discourse on security management nationally and I’m one of those who strongly believe on the need to refocus on a huge debate. There are lots of engagements within security circles to deal with these issues, but I think our people too must be the focus. The price of peace is eternal vigilance and I think we must begin to introduce security studies into the curriculum right from the primary schools so that people realise that the challenge of the future is the challenge of insecurity and as a result, we must move to that level.

   I also believe that schools must be regulated and their curriculum too. I’ve seen that sometimes, some training institutions are very covert training ground and indoctrination grounds that are not monitored by government, which that in itself is a challenge. I’ve seen situations in some countries where teachings of hate are monitored in whatever curriculum or platform. There are schools that do not have licences, that are not regulated and you don’t even get to know who the teachers or trainers are. This is very dangerous for a nation that is already experiencing the kind of violence that we are seeing. The essence of having a government is also to regulate such things.

   In the past, some of us advocated state police, a lot of people felt otherwise but recently, I was pleasantly surprised when Sultan himself added his voice on the need to restructure the security system in Nigeria. This means we are progressing because in the past, people used to think that the concept of State Police was a sectional thing and the entire northern region thought that it will affect them and that the south was going to use it to the disadvantage of the north. But unfortunately, it is the north that is at the receiving end of the insurgency, the conflicts, violence and the insecurity that is currently going on in Nigeria. I think if it will require the restructuring of the security system in Nigeria, then so be it. The National Assembly should move in that direction as soon as possible because we cannot wait until so many people are dead before we’ll do the right thing. Other nations have tested this approach and it has been successful, so I believe we must follow suit if we really want the same results.

Concept of Leadership

I’ve always emphasized the fact that leadership is simply and squarely role performance of some duration by men and women who try to bring meaning and order to situations where power is exercised. Power has to do with the capacity of individuals and groups to pursue and actualize interests and these interests have to be defined and clearly identified. What is the interest of the Plateau people? Our interest is to make Plateau the hub of developmental innovation. How do we do that? These are the key questions we need to ask ourselves. Who are our lawmakers at the national level? What are they attracting to Plateau state? How do we as Plateau people use our positions to defend Plateau State from her enemies? These are the things we need to reconsider even in our pursuit of governance. 

   One of the things I have come to appreciate also in my experience is that there is a dividing line between politics and governance. Yes, you could politick, you could struggle for position and campaign, but once somebody wins, we are now moving in the direction of governance and in a governance situation, it is everybody’s business. It does not matter the political party even though you argue over issues during the politicking. Unfortunately, even after the government is formed, people continue politicking, campaigning and running down the government in power they’ve contested with. The PDP in the past has demonstrated that it is his own worst enemy. In a state like Plateau, you don’t need an opposition. The kind of opposition you experience within the party is enough to ground you even in a governance situation and I strongly believe that we must move away from that. We must redefine what party politics is as far as party politics is concerned. For me, people who share common views about governance should be found in a political party. We must redefine and not just have strange bed fellows who have different ideas of what governance is all about in one political party. These are people that even when they see development, they will tell you that there is nothing going on. That is criticism for the sake of criticism and not constructive criticisms.

  I want to strongly say that the governor of Plateau State should be a governor that is determined to meet the expectations and the yearnings of the people and that he can only work by enjoying the support of the people and that people must also rise to own the policies and programs of government and not have what we call the fallacy of detachment from government. I have seen that at the level of the elites, I have seen that at the level of so many individuals and people who really think that it is their government. But a government is established as our government and if you continue to hammer on the fallacy of detachment, you’ll find out that everything that happened in the government, you’ll feel that you have nothing to do with it.