Plateau: Audio Legacy, Diminishing Steward and the Fading Opportunities – By Manshak Lawson

Plateau State, in North Central, Nigeria, is a state that is greatly naturally endowed. It’s Landscape and weather places it on a unique pedestial in the whole country.
The people of Plateau are calm, welcoming and peaceful, thus earning itself the slogan, HOME OF PEACE AND TOURISM.
Though a state with so much potential, and a safe heaven for foreign tourists, in the 80s and 90s, it’s reality has fallen short of its potential. The state has had its fair share of the complications from being a part of Nigeria. In addition to that, the series of ethno-religious crisis, land tussles and bad governance, have gradually crippled it’s economic potential.
With the bad and ethnocentric leadership experienced over the years, the light of hope has never been this dim. Despite this setback, both the young and old are actively engaging in positive and fruitful ventures. Thus, challenging and erasing the negative stereotype of the Plateau being wholly a civil service state.
Over time, we’ve continuously seen the people of PLATEAU place the state on the map, for good. From thriving innovators:  Jerry Mallo and Mrs Rinkat Oswald; people in business: Sim Shagaya, Kefas (Kifiano) and Chrysanthus. Out of the Plateau, we’ve seen a flow of Technocrats: Alfred Dapal; Sports and Health stars: Mr and Mrs Gyang, Dr Meshak Jatau and Dr. P Dakum respectively; In the legal profession: Prof C.J Dakas. Gen John Sura ain’t left out when military brains is discussed. This list goes on.
With the challenges the state had gone through; the Era of change brought in renewed hope, a brighter future, the birth of a greater PLATEAU.
The elected governor, had earlier served the state as a speaker of the House of Assembly. In spite of the lack of a convincing manifesto prior to being elected, the need to check abnormalities and thus protest vote delivered his first win. He was seen as a beacon of Hope.
He started out well, continuously assuring the people of his commitment, to continuing the uncomplicated projects of the past administration. He kept to His word and earned himself more love.
He also saw the need to improve the security situation. He followed up on that as well by creating the Plateau Peace Building Agency. He appointed wonderful and experienced leader; Dr Joe Lengs.
His efforts didn’t stop there, he established new agencies like PLASICTSA and PLASCHMA. Young people were appointed DGs over these agencies: Oluwa Daser and Dr Fabong. This move greatly encourged the youth because it projected that the the government was youth friendly.
Though his performance was perceived to be below average by his critics, credit was accorded to him by some. So many other achievements can be accorded to him.
This enthusiasm and spirit of bringing through the reality of his electoral vision did not last long. It seemed the euphoria of power and access to state resources got in the way of the vision.
Soon enough, the governor of the state became the governor of the North in his 2nd tenure, and the first foster child at the presidency. The governor was rarely seen in the state and his impact barely felt. He was moving round on behalf of NGF. He found time for golfing overseas while talking to investors that never came into the course.
His greatest achievement seems to be what  the Internet refers to as “audio”: only heard of, never seen.
This administration has made efforts to build a Legacy for itself, maybe, to match those of the past administration. It was an administratuon where we saw Two Fly Overs come up, Construction of Lamingo-Juth road, dualization of Maraban Jamaa to Hipang Air Port road, rehabilitation and dualization of Sec Junction to Farin Gada roads, the ever beautiful ASTCs in the three senatorial districts, as well as the best NYSC camp in the country located in Mangu.
The rescue administration in this bid, collected loans of about 15 billion naira for its LEGACY PROJECT. This act that was proposed for good, seems to be the greatest undoing of the administration. The pilot has lost touch with which Direct Impact Project the people want, which will be a true legacy.
A clear example is the Mangu Legacy Project: a hospital is being constructed, but a hospital is hardly what the people desire.  They have Cocin Hospital at Panyam, JUTH in Gindiri, Coutage in Mangu, Allah Nakowa, and so many other hospitals. Hence, they barely see the importance of a hospital in Dakia.
The major legacy the people of Mangu would have wanted, is probably JUMBO cold storage facilities for their farming community, and the complete rehabilitation of the PANYAM FISH FARM.
It is rather unfortunate that the pilot of the Administration has been played by his handlers into loosing the love and loyalty of the people whilst hope diminishes by the day. Other LGs have also experienced this AUDIO LEGACY as nothing can be seen or felt.
The swiftness with which opportunities  have faded from Plateau State, is another reason the RESCUE ADMINISTRATION has lost the support and loyalty of the people. No people-centered government will want to see its state lose opportunities, especially due to its actions or inactions. We see leaders and people in public positions, fighting for their people, but we have a reversed situation in Plateau State.
Under the rescue administration, we’ve seen COCA COLA plants shut down. The government has the responsibility of working to secure jobs for its citizens: by providing conducive operating environments for these private companies to thrive in the state.
Another instance, we saw how NFC was rumored to be relocated from the state. The Dry Inland Port never saw the light of the day, while the smart El Rufai of Kaduna was able to get his port running at the detriment of Plateau State.
The most painful instance of fading opportunities, is how the sabotaging actions of some people in the corridors of power, frustrated foreign investors, losing a potential five million dollar investment opportunty for the Tomato Chain industry (from farming to Tomato Paste Processing).  This particular investor had registered her company as TOMATO JOS, but this same business is thriving in Kaduna now due to these sabotaging actions.
Sadly, we’ve had to observe with dismay, so many companies pack up in the state, while our youths lose jobs.
For us at PLACEYADGG, we desire to see the government efficiently employ wisdom in their thought process and, execute what is needed.
The government also seems to be oblivious to the illegal mining going on around the Plateau. The Chinese are clearly expoiting us, while a few people are benefitting from this lose. Opportunities in such sectors should be dominated by the people of Plateau.
We applauded the government, when the governor and Chairman of the NGF announced its acquisition of BARC farm. It is important to note that buying a certain percentage isn’t enough. The government must adequately invest substantial resources to see it running and attaining its full potential. Then, jobs will be created and wealth circulated.
The government should be for all, and not for just the elites and their children. The state needs true governance and not political gimmicks. The state government should pursue the interest of the people at the federal level. Particularly beyond NPower.
Again, how will the administration justify it’s stewardship in 5yrs when PLATEAU accounts for the 90% of the 1.6m metric tons of Irish produced yearly yet no single firm brought in to add value to Irish like chips firm. How do they sleep at night when you are one of the highest produces of maize but no investor was brought to add value in form of cereals plant or animal feed plant.
How do we justify all the travellings with tax payers money yet no FDIs either in Agriculture or Tourism which are our treasure map and can give us more wealth than oil? We genuinely hope the ban on the importation of maize will bring about new direction to value and wealth creation.
We would like to say that the LEGACY PROJECTS we hope to see, before the end of this administration should be, but not limited to the following;
-Total Rehabilitation of all ASTCs.

  • A TRUE upgrade of the BARC Farm.
    -Jumbo storage facilities such as Cold rooms for our grassroot farmers in every LGAs.
    -Rehabilitation of JIB.
    -Sustainable efforts to initiate conversation with the presidency towards the JOS Steal Rolling Mill.
    -Full running of Hipang Inland Dry Port.
    -Conversation of some built Legacy projects to Entrepreneual Colleges.
    -Total Rehabilitation and Upgrading of Panyam Fish Farm to an Aqua Training Institute
    -Completion of the on-going project with Emphasis on the Zaria Road Stadium and Dogon Karfe road.
    -The ELECTRIFICATION of SHENDAM and other Local Governments.
    Achieving this will earn this government the name; RESCUE ADMINISTRATION. Legacy projects won’t be called “AUDIO” anymore.
    We are happy the government is bragging about improved Internally Generated Revenue. 15 billion loan used on the ongoing legacy projects spread across the state if not enough couldn’t have gone a long way in achieving all the aforementioned. With these done, the name of the RESCUE pilot will be written in gold and never forgotten.
    The governor though percieved underperformed, still has a date with history, hence the urgent need to redeem himself. Good leadership is seen and felt, not campaigned and advertised.

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