Lagos State is Lagos today since 1999 due to a political meteorologist called the “Jagaban”. Even though Lagos State was once the nation’s capital and a seat of the colonial regime, it still holds its luster owing to the succession and projection plan led by Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who over time, mentored and identified the brilliance and quality of certain men who succeeded him with a master plan they have implemented after every political junction with a mandate to execute.
This temerity increases as all short, medium and long-term plans are put forward with each member of the chain having a precise duty to conduct, fetched from the continuous galvanization and improvement of a development charter.
Disclaimer; ‘This “visionary” leader, is not without his own interests be it political or economic but one thing is for sure… His magnetic intelligence at power play and hunger for the “better things in life” has left the Lagosians better for it.’
From 1999, Tinubu has had assignments handed over to Fashola, Ambode, and now, Sanwo-Olu. Such programmes carefully aligned and legally shouldered to leave whoever occupies office little options but to follow the roadmap. This defines progress, only if genuine intentions are/were applied.
PLATEAU; Back home!
Since 1999, Plateau State has had a time travel from the Dariye Administration, Bot-Mang intervention, Jang Administration and now the Lalong administration with two frontline candidates to proceed with the torch of leadership. The Plateau has gone through the “Re Engineering process, Redemption agenda and now, the Rescue administration mantra.
Going forward, we are advertised with a “GeneratioNext” footprint “The time is now” keynote. Let us reflect for a moment. One thing remains availably certain. Persons and administrators come and go and the Plateau still remains a mosaic canvass always representing diverse experiences at leadership with attempts at political art.
THE DARIYE ADMINISTRATION; (RE-ENGINEERING AGENDA)
Known popularly as the “Re-Engineering Governor”, Chief Dariye’s vision for the Stage for the state was quoted thus “…We must search for new means to end poverty, create an economically strong and vibrant state that offers vast opportunities to all for self-fulfillment and self actualization. We must to
gether build a State that is rooted in social justice, mutual respect and that which is embedded in our rich cultural values and heritage.”
He went to state also, that “…I envision a viable, just and peaceful state, in which the people are economically and politically empowered, and their value system redefined in lik with today’s realities and prepared for tomorrow’s challenges. A people United in purpose, high moral and ethical values deeply rooted in the fear of God.”
He established the College of Agriculture, Garkawa, CASRS Kurgwi, Plateau State University, Bokkos. He moved COE Gindiri to its permanent site and constructed a library, completed a laboratory and constructed 18 classroom blocks. He upgraded the schools of health in Zawan and Pankshin to college statuses which facilitated National and Higher National diploma programmes to be conducted at both campuses.
He improved the State Universal Basic Education by expanding its headquarters and hierarchy to grow the scheme statewide. He pursued the ETF funds an ensured a seamless procedure for allocation of physical/infrastructural developments in tertiary institutions. He returned missionary owned schools ECWA (Miango), The Catholic Church (Zawan) and JNI (Jos North).
Establishment of a fertilizer blending plant (Bokkos), acquisition of the Kuru Ginnery and re-establishment of Wase Grazing reserve. In Health, Information, Economic Growth, Environment/tourism, road construction, spiritual upliftment, youth development, political administrative development, chieftain affairs, water resources, the Judiciary and forthwith, several notable achievements were recorded.
Construction of General hospitals and upgrading of cottage hospitals, establishment of SOMPADEC, PEPSA, Dadin Kowa Youth Centre, creation of electoral wards and development areas, creation of chiefdoms and upgrade of chieftaincy statuses etc., an all round attempt at many sectors.
Chief JC Dariye, A chartered accountant (ICAN) trained and operated with PKF chartered accountants, Plateau Publishing Company, Lion bank Benue cement company etc. He holds a Master’s degree and honorary doctorate degrees likewise.
JANG ADMINISTRATION; (REDEMPTION AGENDA)
After retirement from the military as an Air Commodore in 1991, “Baba Jang” was appointed Director at BCC, Director at Citylink Aviation Ltd., Chairman, Lo-Donwet Mining Industry Ltd, Chairman, Jodajang Holdings, and Chairman, Warri Refinery and Petrochemicals before emerging as the third civilian Governor of the State serving for eight years.
In his acceptance speech, Jang laid down several issues and gave an assurance for a different and a more responsible style of governance to be adopted. He discussed vastly on “sustainable peace and security, Governance and administrative web reforms, Education and Human Resources development, taxes and finances, agriculture, water resources and rural development, health, women , youths, sports and social development, tourism, urban governance, ethical reorientation etc.
Jang swung into action by establishment of the Agricultural Skills and Training Centres (ASTC) in the three senatorial districts with soil testing laboratories, tractor hiring units, fertilizer and extension experts. In finding solution at peace and security, he purchased security vehicles for the JTF and other security agencies, established the State inter-religious council on peace and harmony, initiated the Operation Rainbow 🌈 .
For health, Jang initiated the State Strategic Health Plan. He completed the General Hospital in Riyom being a strategic entry and exit point into and from the state with high casualty rates owing to the bad nature of roads coupled with proximity into the state capital. Renovation and expansion of General hospitals in Pankshin, B/Ladi and Bokkos. For roads and bridges, the administration can point visible projects to their credit. In physical and Infrastructural strides, there are notable developments such as the NYSC orientation camp (Mangu), Remodeling of state owned government buildings, Construction of the New Government house complex, deputy Governor’s residence etc.
Jang employed 5000 street sweepers (mostly widows), acquisition of waste disposal equipments, completion of kabong satellite market, renovation and expansion of some notable secondary schools. Improvement in state owned information and communication stations, purchase of equipments, transportation aides (Keke napep, mini cabs) amongs other areas developed in sports and social development areas, the civil service etc. amongst many other efforts provided by those years of service.
LALONG ADMINISTRATION. (RESCUE AGENDA)
Governor Lalong emerged at the fifth Civilian Governor of Plateau State in what most political observers opined to be a huge political miscalculation from his predecessor. A collective resolve by a resistance to what many regarded as an imposition of candidate by the previous administration against a gentleman zoning arrangement for political rotation in the State.
Barr. Lalong had served previously in several law firms and under several capacities including a managing partner for a law firm that salvages the JIB from its first liquidation crises. He served as National President of the Goemai Youth Movement from 1992-1994 and as a lawyer and youth activist, he participated in the grassroot mobilization of the PDP in 1998 after which he contested and won the State Assembly seat where he went further to serve as the longest serving Speaker of the PSHA amongst other roles played in different capacities.
He emerged into office with a mantra, “rescue team/agenda”. He believed as quoted “…In justice and fairness to all citizens, irrespective of ethnic or religious affiliations. Also, committed to the equitable distribution of State resources and developmental projects that will transform the lives of the citizens of the state. His five policy thrusts were chiefly,
Security and Good governance,
Human Capital Development,
Agriculture and Rural Development,
Entrepreneurship and industrialization, and,
Physical infrastructure and Environment.
The Lalong administration has been one who was commended upon entry, to clear outstanding payments of pensions, gratuities, salaries and entitlements owed by government while sustaining a continuous payment pattern that earned him a nickname “Governor alert”.
He readily invested in sports that he is passionate about that led to the state football team to winning the national league after decades of trials. Governor Lalong went on to continue projects inherited by the previous regime as is known to apply and sustain laudable projects by establishment of new agencies to champion his agenda. He created the Plateau Peace Building agency, the Plateau ICT development agency, the Plateau State Contributory Health Management Agency amongst many other tools of government to fast track and implement his policy drive.
Governor Lalong reopened the Plateau State University that was shut down by the previous administration to enable the State benefit from TETFUND interventions and other findings derived from the 17 LGAs amongst other foreign donor programmes and individual contributions.
The Lalong administration went further to initiate the Lalong Legacy Projects that is spread across the 17 LGAs and have conducted several partnerships and interventions to uplift the prospects of the state within its possible means.
For political reasons, many attributes and deficiencies have been cited by political watchers and analysts and records and receipts of the efforts of his administration shall be accorded in the books of history.
PLATEAU CONTINUITY AGENDA; The need for a roadmap for a likely successor.
In clear terms, the emergence of the two major contenders under the “unidentical twins” political parties on the Plateau, Dr. Nentawe Yilwatda Goshwe of the APC and Barr. Caleb Mutfwang of the PDP has occasioned yet another political tide following trending currents of the State.
While Dr. Yilwatda comes with the “GeneratioNext” mantra under the manifesto of his party, Barr. Mutfwang rides on the “The time is now” mandate. Both professionals with intellectual strengths, public service backgrounds, firm belief in the progress of the state and a wealth of experience from their various backgrounds. Both aspirants and now candidates carry heavy resumés and are “on their marks” and “set” to run a race as to whom gets to take over at the little rayfield state complex.
WHICH WAY FORWARD?
Previous administrations have repeatedly made various efforts at addressing similar key areas of governance and management of resources from revenues acquired and generated forthwith from their various administrations. A continuous reinforcement of similar mandates following major areas of concern in all three administrations with semantics, repetitive, synonyms and some additional expansions on key policy drivers.
a) Positively, the Jang administration generated the “GREATER JOS MASTERPLAN”, a short, medium and long term effort at expanding the city Centre while spreading developments statewide in an attempt to reduce rural-urban migration and expand the state capital to a more elaborate urban arrangement to include basic and critical infrastructure while boosting the prospects of the state towards revenue generation and a more technical and deliberate urban renewal scheme to increase the benefits of governance to the common man amongst other policy proposals to create alternatives for the state away from the federal allocations and accounts making the state less dependent on foreign inputs for local developments.
b) the Lalong administration engaged with Boston Consulting Group, a United States Consulting group that generated a document for an aggressive developmental projection looking into the prospects and challenges of the state while recommending an implementation plan using current indicators and indices for a speedy roadmap to a statewide advancement.
A retreat, I recall, was held at the National Institutes for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS), Kuru, where stakeholders and relevant government functionaries were hosted for weeks to adopt the recommendations into state policy. A robust document that captures through infographics and data presentation, a roadmap to achieving a high degree of achievement for the Plateau.
Further, the Lalong administration, amongst many other long-term policy gears, commissioned a committee with various participants drawn from public service, private practice, the academia etc. with a mandate to develop a roadmap for the growth and development of Plateau State from 2021-2050. (How far so far???)
These are key documents amongst many others that emerged from the investment and expenditure of state funds that ran into hundreds of millions of Naira with time and resources of people committed into the production of such state owned documents. We cannot afford to throw away such contents and elaborated solutions into the gutter by starting all over at every political turn.
This is a time therefore, for our frontline candidates to elaborate on their plans according to these historic chronicles. How do they intents to tilt their proposed programmes towards an available document that statistically provides recommendations as to how to boost the prospects of the Plateau over time. How existing policies and past efforts have been made to ensure a continuous approach and that is why “LAGOS IS LAGOS”. Implementation of long term goals.
Billions and billions of Naira committed to the Greater Jos Master Plan and the Lalong Legacy Projects. It includes aspects of Agriculture, infrastructure in health, education, tourism, youths sports and social development, water resources, security and general welfare of the people.
Do we have plans to harmonize and galvanize on the gains achieved and improve on the roadmap using development solutions? How do the candidates intend to approach Dariye, Jang and Lalong on a plan to fluently consolidate on the various roadmaps to arrive at a continuous effort at general prosperity for the state?
Are we looking at new programmes that end up using state resources to arrive at an attempt to implement several recommendations that are already documented and available?
What is our roadmap at governance irrespective of political limits? What global models are we adopting to quickly raise the prospects of the Plateau being one of the oldest states created since 1967?
Will it not be plausible to imitate the likes of Mallam Nasir Elrufai’s “Kashim Ibrahim foundation” whose mandate it is to train and sponsor outstanding scholars in Ivy League institutions around the world to acquire the requisite education and return to serve the state in various capacities?
Will it not be a thing of pride to have a similar “JD Gomwalk foundation” with the same mandate to grant scholarship schemes for higher education around the world and employ the same persons as heads of implementation agencies under the state government? Will it be out of place to mentor young individuals while partnering with the plethora of plateau indigenes around the world?
The likes of Dr. Chinn Mclean, Dr. Gurumwal George Longjan, Dr. Nathaniel Nsen Fuanbial, Dr. Simput Eagles Dafup II, and many other Plateau State indigenes all around the world and in the country cutting across the Military, academia, public service and private practice? To form an intellectual community mandated to apply their wealth of knowledge at addressing key state issues?
While the “Next Generation” is focused on improving on the past gains, the “Time is Now” to achieve a meaningful paradigm shift in improving the plateau State narrative that is marred by graphic images whenever you go online into the hub of classical developments using global best practices.
Plateau State must rise above an emerging economic, secured and tourism potential into the highest category amongst the comity of states in Nigeria. We should admonish political correctness, ethnic and religious bigotry and opt for statesmanship, advancement and prosperity.
We can do it. The best minds are here present.
GOD BLESS THE PLATEAU STATE AND MAY WE ALL SUCCEED. Arc Fentah Bankat,