2019: Will Plateau return to Egypt?
By Sunday Thomas
These are very auspicious times. For states under induced violence and killings, there is every need to tramp with caution, because the political scavengers are back. They are on the prowl, enriched in more tricks and deceptions in the quest for power.
Leadership of any state in Nigeria is quite difficult. It has enormous responsibilities. Governors battle seen and unseen forces to keep the ship of state afloat. I must not pretend to be a happy man, when my home state of Plateau, an acclaimed home of peace and tourism has become the oven of violence and the basket of blood.
For over a decade, we lived under this deadly spell and scourge. Interestingly, the instigators of the violence and bloodbath had no therapy to quenching the conflagration. It deepened, intensified and expanded tentacles, exposing the shame of our collective failure as a people. To say we are all guilty is to put it mildly.
We suffered variously. There was physical violence and bloodbath; Plateau people came under the yoke of unpaid salaries and pensions. Our companies and industries folded up because of insecurity and investors relocated to safer abodes. Unemployment and youth restiveness peaked. Under- development in all sectors of the economy bared its fangs on us.
There was conspicuous helplessness and despair. Wailings from a people, consistently burdened and traumatized pierced the heart of God. We lost prestige, dignity and honour. We fretted away everything, including our humanity. Those who afflicted us, disguised and came back to us, preaching corrupted sermons as the new messiahs’ in town. God spoke to us in our isolated moments and we ignored their crooked voices.
I was optimistic that God Almighty does not chain His people forever. So, the hour of liberation came with the sweet splash of respite in 2015, when His Excellency, Gov. Simon Bako Lalong promenaded on the stage to lead the state. If a leader on the Plateau, outside Chief Solomon Lar, has ever understood the people and their problems, it is Lalong.
Gov. Lalong had no time to wait, but swung into action, knowing that the violence and bloodshed must stop; the discriminatory tendencies against ethnic groups in the state must be discarded. The Governor knew, the welfare of the people was a priority that cannot be compromised.
Today, the narrative on the violence and bloodbath on the Plateau has changed. Yet, our oppressors; the antagonists of our Governor have refused to toe the path of honour. They resurrect the crisis from time to time, just to negatively profile the Governor.
The unfortunate incident in Dura-Du district, which led to the murder of a retired Army officer, Major. Gen. Idris Alkali drenches my heart with tears at the desperation of these anti-peoples agents to eternally keep Plateau on the boil. Why would the robbery of a shopping complex lead to violent protests and further killings by youths in the community? Why ignore the path of law or security agencies when such issues emanate? It leaves us with many unanswered questions.
I have lived all my life in Plateau. I have no any other place I can call my home, outside Plateau state. I am a witness to all the happenings on the Plateau. Let political desperadoes leave us to have the peace Gov. Lalong has worked to so hard to entrench.
Even at the risk of being classified a sycophant; I confidently insist that Gov. Lalong has changed Plateau state in every sector in the last three and a half years. Had political jobbers and ethnic bigots fully supported his efforts of transforming the state, Plateau would have recovered fully from its wounds. The land would have been completely healed.
But Plateau is awash with people who are defiantly resisting positive change. We have too many saboteurs who only thrive and profit when the land is in turmoil. So, they plot all manner of setbacks. These are known enemies of the masses.
It’s partisan times again. So, these enemies of progress and the people have adorned new masks. They are spreading false messages or illusion of hope and redemption. They easily forget the destruction they supervised yesterday and think, the people are unaware, so they would be permitted to mount the leadership horse tomorrow. Its mere wishful thinking.
But we must be careful or else, we shall be consciously going back to Egypt. The real agenda of these political merchants and entrepreneurs is how to sustain the destruction of our state and the future of posterity. No one needs the services of a soothsayer to glean that these leaders of yesterday are quite sad that Gov. Lalong has refused to be distracted; he has remained focused on his vaunted determination to free Plateau from the grip of evil forces.
Lalong has inflamed their hatred for ending the menace of non-payment of salaries and pensions in the state. He started clearing backlog of months of unpaid salaries and pensions even before President Muhammedu Buhari ever contemplated bailout funds to states.
The Governor is not just contented with completing the abandoned projects he inherited from his predecessor. But has initiated fresh projects in roads construction, electricity, water supply and infrastructural development generally. And some have been completed and commissioned, while others are at various stages of completion.
Plateau state is no longer a haven of ethnic rivalries among the retinue of tribes which make up Plateau State. Every ethnic interest is protected in government patronage. These enemies hate to see the smile on our faces and they come to us disguised as angels. We must be watchful, fast and pray, for the bad times are back.
However, despite the machinations of these few disgruntled and unrepentant elements, who have refused to change from their evil ways, Gov. Lalong is still doing his best to help Plateau state work. The only debt we owe the Governor is support.We should not allow our foes to wrestle him to the ground. It will be tantamount to Israelites’ going back to Egypt; this is something no one should contemplate.
The ravenous wolves will skin and roast us alive. They shall restore the locust years of ethnically masterminded killings of a particular ethnic group against the other on the Plateau. We must unanimously resolve that Plateau is unprepared to return back to a period of hunger; or the days of gloom, poverty and misery. We cannot afford to endorse or reward those who loot our commonwealth to build fiefdoms for their personal families.
So, in 2019, Gov. Lalong is still the only alternative. The time is ripe for our people to discard political and tribal affiliations to stand up for the masses, whom Gov. Lalong represents. We cannot toil with our destiny anymore. May God help us never to see these Egyptians again.
Thomas is development analyst and wrote this article from Jos, Plateau State.