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A call for recognition and fairness: Plateau’s heroes deserve their due

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Chief Solomon Lar

By Pam Ayuba

After listening to President Bola Tinubu’s Democracy Day speech, it is impossible to overlook a glaring and troubling omission- the failure to recognize Chief Solomon Lar’s pivotal role in Nigeria’s democratic journey.

This omission not only diminishes the sacrifices of one of Nigeria’s most courageous democracy champions but also raises serious questions about the President’s regard for Plateau State and its people.

Chief Lar, a towering figure in Nigeria’s struggle for democracy, demonstrated unparalleled courage and patriotism. His daring act of delivering the historic letter to the tyrannical General Sani Abacha, risking his life for the freedom and democratic integrity of our nation, is a testament to his dedication.

This act not only cemented his place in Nigeria’s democratic history but also set a powerful example for future generations. How then, can President Tinubu, in a speech meant to celebrate our democratic milestones, overlook such a monumental contribution.
This omission raises serious questions about President Tinubu’s regard for Plateau State and its people.

Chief Lar was not just a national figure; he was a proud son of Plateau, a state that has continuously championed the cause of democracy in Nigeria. Ignoring his contributions is tantamount to dismissing the sacrifices and efforts of the Plateau people in our collective democratic journey.

Moreover, this oversight comes at a time when Plateau State is conspicuously absent from the federal executive council following the resignation of Senator Simon Lalong as Labour Minister. This exclusion is a violation of the principles of federal character as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution. Section 14 (3) of the Constitution states:

“The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.”

By failing to include a representative from Plateau State in his cabinet, President Tinubu not only undermines this constitutional mandate but also sends a disheartening message to the people of Plateau: that their contributions and sacrifices are undervalued. Whatever is holding up the replacement of a federal minister after Senator Simon Lalong’s resignation to take up his Senate seat last year should be sorted out immediately. Plateau State must participate fully in President Tinubu’s government.

Plateau State has historically been a political magnet and ligament of Nigeria. The state has hosted numerous political party primaries, serving as a neutral ground where crucial decisions that shape the future of our country are made. From the days of independence, Plateau has been a steadfast contributor to Nigeria’s political landscape. The contributions of Plateau State are evident in its historical and ongoing role in fostering national unity and political discourse.

Does President Tinubu truly have the interest of Plateau State at heart? This is a question that every Plateau indigene must ponder.

The President’s actions—or lack thereof—suggest a disregard for the principles of equality and fairness that our democracy stands for. Plateau State deserves better recognition and representation, given its significant contributions to Nigeria’s democratic journey.

The journey towards democracy is paved with the sacrifices of many and the contributions of Plateau State cannot and should not be overlooked. It is time for President Tinubu to rectify these oversights and demonstrate his commitment to the principles of democracy, equality, and justice for all Nigerians. Plateau State remains a vital part of Nigeria’s democratic fabric, deserving of recognition and respect.

Ayuba, a Journalist/Public Commentator,
writes from Jos, Plateau State.

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