The 2015 electioneering campaign was long, bruising and at times brutal. On one side the incumbent, Barr. Simon Lalong of the APC and on the other, Late Senator GNS Pwajok of PDP.
During the process, barbs were traded, accusations made and aspersions casted in the early stages of the campaigns – but through it all, the two candidates agreed to remain civil and cordial, both in victory and in loss. They were famously made to sign a “peace undertaking” during the 2015 Plateau Gubernatorial Debate (organised by ViewPointNigeria, PI and MOPPLAH) that they would abide by results of the elections and that peace was paramount and must not be compromised – that they have done.
With the victory of Simon Lalong at the polls, these gladiators have largely abided by this “peace undertaking” – agreeing on most critical issues e.g., peace, development and unity but disagreeing on a few issues – which is natural given they are from different parties.
With the shocking demise of Senator GNS Pwajok, Barr. Simon Lalong in a highly commendable gesture, demonstrated real maturity, sensitivity, respect and leadership – by requesting that everyone suspends printing congratulatory messages, with regards his victory at the election tribunal, in honour of the memory of late Senator GNS Pwajok.
This demonstration of humanity by the governor, is highly commendable and is worthy of emulation. It sends a strong message to everyone on the Plateau, that politics may divide us intermittently, but our humanity must remain intact and never diminish. Lalong’s simple message is that “Love and magnanimity must prevail over politics”! – a true gentleman one would say.
In furtherance of this laudable feat by Governor Simon Lalong, I propose that the governor further finds ways of honouring and preserving the legacy of the distinguished Senator by naming a youth project or an edifice his memory. A youth project may be most appropriate, because of how much GNS Pwajok has inspired Plateau youth to dream big, aspire to higher things and take-on life with vigour and a sense of purpose.
In his short life time of 48 years – GNS Pwajok contributed immensely to humanity in a variety of capacities – he inspired a whole new generation of young people, who hitherto didn’t believe they could contribute to governance. These inspired generation now actively demand accountability from Government, they question public policies and legislations, but beyond all, the youth now feel they are stakeholders in the Plateau project – something which was not the case in the past.
In the area of peace building, GNS Pwajok famously instituted a channel for genuine dialogue and reconciliation between the Fulani and their Berom counterparts. That initiative, even though it didn’t achieve its entire effect, brought about opportunities for actively engaging respective stakeholders in the quest to find a lasting solution.
GNS Pwajok was pivotal in conceiving, facilitating and executing a myriad of the projects of the Jonah Jang administration. He brought uncommon intelligence, dedication, integrity and weight to all development proposals put forward. Even though many people disagree with the execution of some of the projects – there is no denying the scale of ambition of these projects.
Not since the demise of Baba Solomon Lar, has the mood on the Plateau been so sombre and reflective, full of grief, sorrow and heart ache. Not to say I compare his achievements to that of Baba Lar. But certainly, I compare the relative shock, sense of loss, grief and despair within the Plateau-sphere at this time. The young man has definitely left an indelible mark in the hearts of all Plateau people – both PDP and APC, Berom and Non-Berom, Christians and Muslims, Young and old, Married and unmarried – let us recognise and preserve this.
In conclusion, Barr. Lalong has already been magnanimous, sensitive and has demonstrated great leadership – I simply request that in order for him to sustain the current perception of that sensitive, caring and respectful leader that Plateau people now have of him, he preserves the legacy and memory of this fine gentleman. It will remain on record that for once a sitting governor honoured the achievements of an opposition politician – but not just a regular opposition politician, once who vehemently contested against him. Simply put, such an action by Lalong would be perceived as Christ-like!!! And in Plateau politics, that would do a wealth of good to his public perception.
Adieu – GNS Pwajok
Dr. Chinan Mclean
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