The Plateau State Government has responded in strong terms to Senator Jonah Jang’s rejection of the grazing plans in Plateau – saying his interference is mischievous, hypocritical and attention seeking.
In a long (1413 worded) reply, Governor Simon Lalong, through his Director of Press and Public Affairs (Mr. Emmanuel Nanle), lambasted Senator Jang – saying his 8 years as Governor was wasteful and a burden to Plateau.
He said Jang does not have the morale authority or standing to speak on such an issue, given his past record in dealing with conflicts on the Plateau. He challenged the Senator’s record in the Senate – saying his representation of the Plateau North senatorial zone has been sub-standard and passive and that people in the area are being short-changed because of his tepid activity.
Speaking on behalf of the Governor, Emmanuel Nanle argued that grazing bill presents clear options and benefits to all and sundry and that people will do well to key into it. he said “As for Governor Lalong, the people of Plateau are his priceless assets; he will stop at nothing to ensure they stay united and in peace. His consultative style of leadership will guarantee participation and contribution on all matters; the grazing reserve, Ranching and all Agricultural policies for the good of our people inclusive“.
(At the time of filing this report, the media aide to Governor Jang (Mr. Chris Garuba) had written a rejoinder to Simon Lalong’s press release – we shall publish this later)
Below is the press release from the Director of Press Affairs to the Governor (Mr. Emmanuel Nanle)
It is sad that Senator Jonah Jang has suddenly found his voice in the midst of the silence that has characterized his representation of the Northern Senatorial District in the Hallow Chambers of the Senate, only on a matter that sensational political commentaries have raised to the stage of being a conflict trigger.
This we, know he enjoys because it was what characterized his 8 years reign on the Plateau. The blatant condemnation of the Grazing Reserve Policy as being anti-people, without the depth of knowledge as to the content of the policy and many options for Cattle Rearing, Livestock Farming and Improved Animal Husbandry which it contains is again an eloquent testimony of his ‘we’ versus ‘them’ classification of citizens, even when the preservation of the common humanity of the human being should be held sacrosanct.
Repeatedly, Plateau has been thrown into the throes of violent conflict on account of the careless, unrestrained and unsolicited commentaries from those who take delight in standing as heroes to gullible followership while the sane in our society are plunged into senseless violent conflicts. One wonders how a so called former Governor and serving Senator can issue a position on an issue of National Importance to address socio-economic and National Security concerns in the manner in which he did.
Senator Jonah Jang in his press statement made the following comments as it concerns the issue of grazing reserve and Plateau; “The issue has generated a lot of controversy amongst Plateau people because government has decided to play politics with issues that affect the fabric which defines the heritage of our people, their culture and their land. Plateau people (regardless of creed, party affiliation or ethnicity) must rise against any subtle attempt to cede their land for the purpose of satisfying the selfish and egotistical whims of a few who are hell bent on disturbing our collective peace”
It is preposterous for a man who destroyed the very fabric of our unity denominated in our peaceful co-existence, on account of his selfish egoistic desire to hold onto power tenaciously through the back door, to now want to claim a peace ambassadorial posture when it goes against the very grain of his person. Again he said; “for the Federal Government which owns no cattle, to connive with willing State Governors to impose grazing reserve policy on hapless citizens who have suffered the brunt on rampaging herdsmen in the no distant past is not only an abuse of their rights but an assault on their already battered psyche.
This must vehemently be resisted”. Governor Lalong has stated unequivocally that the issue of Grazing Reserve and Ranches are options that are entirely within the purview of the Customary Land Owners and Local Councils to volunteer for the benefits of their people. Governor Lalong has not at any point acquired compulsorily any land in any locality for the purpose of ceding to any ethnic group or faith; it is public knowledge that this is incongruent to his person and people oriented leadership character.
Senator Jonah Jang is no doubt reeling out his intrinsic consciousness, in which ethnicity and religion defines the human being and the basis for his consideration as a living being. This is the style of leadership that accounted for the Eight (8) years reign of terror and bloodshed that has traumatised the psyche of our people and to say the least have left more of his ethnic people displaced from their ancestral land, without a solution from him rather than the current remonstration and short sighted perception embedded in his unsolicited commentaries. We dare to say, all these are in a bid to launder his image at a time the peace loving people of Plateau are working hard, to consign him into waste paper basket of our inglorious past, under his leadership.
At a time like this, his silence would have been most credible especially that he has not deemed it fit to attend any consultative meeting called by the State Government since his disappearance to Abuja where superior contributions on the floor of the Senate have stolen his voice, and his representation is increasingly becoming a deficit to his constituents. This is very clear from the absence of his contribution when the grazing funds were appropriated into the budget by the National Assembly.
Further to this, is the fact that Senator Jang is still in a state of post-election trauma where he has been left disillusioned and in a state of amnesia, forgetting the depth of penury, deprivation, division and indebtedness he left the State. The Lalong Administration is working her bones to salvage the people of Plateau from the untold hardship he has left them, with a liability of over N223bn, unpaid 8 months salary arrears, 13 months pension and gratuities and spurious irrevocable standing orders for over-inflated self serving contracts that have remained uncompleted. But for the likelihood of senility, which sets in on account of age in some persons, one would have wondered the hypocritical postures of Jang, calling on the people of Plateau to bear “in his words the hardship meted out on them by the present Government”. How Laughable and hypocritical for a self acclaimed demigod! The Rescue Mission of the Lalong Administration is out to bequeath an enduring legacy of peace and to give the people of Plateau an opportunity to live a meaningful life with opportunities in all sectors for their socio-economic development, as an essential component of Human Security. The area of Agricultural, Solid Mineral Development and Tourism are sectors of our discriminating competences in the country and the government is injecting time, resources and expertise to fully harness. The benefits have already started manifesting with the execution of Memorandum of Understanding for the revitalization of Moribund Industries and Chinese Industrialists have undertaken inspections of mineral sites for exploitation and establishment of processing industries.
The Rescue Government of Barr Simon Bako Lalong and Prof. Sonni Tyoden as a people oriented Government has been consulting and has established a fourteen (14) man committee under Professor Ochapa Onazi with membership cutting across Statutory Agencies, Religious groups, Traditional Institutions and Professionals in Agriculture to explore the benefits derivable from the best options available to our people, as it concerns reduction to the bearest minimum, incidences of farmers and nomads clash as well the best way to guarantee improved cattle rearing and livestock farming. Let the likes of Senator Jonah Jang who have for 8 years been unable to find a single solution to the violent conflicts that gained currency under his superintendence on account of the people’s intra and inter ethno-religious contestation of space for survival and economic well-being, leave us to evolve a solution that will give us lasting peace.
Furthermore, it behoves of every person worthy of his age to leave the youth out of their manipulative grip and allow them build a social compact that will guarantee the best of Governance in a united Plateau. Monetary inducement and the exploitation of their economic challenges for assignments that discredits their persons is the greatest disservice to conscience.
We are sure the likes of the Senator and his political merchants who seek to draw political capital out of prejudicial and pre-emptive protests must know that the Lalong Administration is not a lame duck and any conduct that falls short of the law will be brought to book.
Finally, it is needful to say, the shadow of Governor Lalong’s success alone is sending shivers down the spine of Senator Jonah Jang who is no doubt under the burden of conscience to prove that he is not solely the cause of the problems we are groaning under an account of his kind person and leadership in the past 8 years.
As for Governor Lalong, the people of Plateau are his priceless asset; he will stop at nothing to ensure they stay united and in peace. His consultative style of leadership will guarantee participation and contribution on all matters; the grazing reserve, Ranching and all Agricultural policies for the good of our people inclusive.
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