WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE AUTOCHTHONOUS PEOPLE OF JOS OVER THE RECENT APPOINTMENT OF CANDIDATES AS MANAGEMENT COMMITTEES IN FOUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCILS OF PLATEAU STATE. PRESENTED AT JOS, PLATEAU STATE, ON 15TH OCTOBER, 2019.
Gentlemen of the Press,
It has become expedient for us the autochthonous peoples of Jos, Plateau State to address the world today Tuesday 15th October, 2019 over the recent appointment of APC candidates as Management Committee Chairmen of Jos North, Jos South, Riyom and Barkin Ladi local government councils by the Plateau State governor, Rt. Hon Simon Bako Lalong.
Definition of An Indegene of Jos:
A definition of an indigene of Jos was originally coined by the Hon. Justice J. Aribiton Fiberisima Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Jos riots of April 12, 1994 as follows; “…an indigene of Jos is one whose ancestors were natives of Jos, beyond living memory. This does not include any person who may not remember from where his father or grandfather left his native home for Jos as a fixed home, domiciled there as of choice for life; or who is ignorant of about from where his family moved to Jos permanently in quest for better living or in the process of his business.”
This well articulated definition was adopted by all succeeding Judicial Commissions of Inquiry into the Jos crises of 2001 and 2008 led by Justices Niki Tobi and Bola Ajibola respectively.
In the light of the above consideration or careful thought and on the strength of the evidences at their disposal, all the forenamed Judicial Commissions of Inquiry declared that we the Afizere, Anaguta and Berom tribes are “indigenes” of Jos and this against the Hausa/Fulani people’s assumptions whom the Commissions made bold to advise that they can qualify only as “Citizens” of Jos”. The Plateau State government has since accepted the foregoing position through a government White paper.
Statement of the facts:
What started as rumours on Tuesday 8th became a reality the following day when the Plateau State House of Assembly approved a memo dated 8th October 2019 from Gov Simon Lalong requesting an extension of the tenure and appointment of new council Management Committees for Jos North, Jos South, Barkin Ladi and Riyom LGAs. All the persons listed as nominees for appointment as Management Committee Chairmen and Secretaries are APC Chairmanship and Deputy Chairmanship candidates for the council polls of 10th October 2018, which was conducted by the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) but which excluded the four LGAs ostensibly “for security reasons”.
Considering the history of council polls particularly in Jos North, it is very clear that whenever the council elections are scheduled, they promise to be a keen contest. The Council Chairmanship race in Jos North is a straight battle between the PDP Chairmanship ticket held by Hon Aminu Zang (an indigene of Jos) against the APC Chairmanship ticket held by Hon Shehu Bala (a citizen of Jos). Rather unfortunately, during the pendency of a new date for the council polls, Gov Lalong declared and imposed Hon Shehu Bala a non-indigene of Jos North LGA as Management Committee Chairman on Wednesday 9th October 2019.
The indigenes of Jos invite the public to recall that barely one week on assuming office on 29th May 2015, Gov Lalong dissolved the 17 Local Government Councils in the state precisely in total negation of his promise a month earlier not to dissolve the democratically constituted councils which by then were barely halfway into their three-year tenure of office.
It must be stated that the indigenes of Jos do not have any problem whatsoever with any qualified Nigerian citizen occupying any elective office in Jos North LGA as long it is done on the basis of free and fair elections in a democratic process as guaranteed under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (CFRN 1999 as amended) and confirmed by a plethora of Supreme Court Judgments.
However, it must also be stated in clear, unmistakable and unambiguous terms that we totally reject and condemn in the strongest terms possible the suppression of our franchise in Jos North LGA among others. The imposition of a non indigene who also double as the APC candidate during the pendency of elections completely rubbishes global best democratic practices, is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional. It is a great disservice to our people in particular and indeed Plateau State in general as it has the capacity to breach peace in the Tin City. It makes a mockery of Gov Lalong’s pillar of his purported 3-point Agenda namely; peace, security and good governance. The CFRN 1999 (as amended), provides that security and welfare of the people shall be the primary essence of government.
This is unprecedented in the historical annals of Plateau State.
Since its creation on 3rd February 1976, no elected or even military governor has so completely betrayed the indigenous people’s trust like Gov Lalong neither has any previous State House of Assembly on the Plateau sold out the destiny of its people by imposing a non-indigene on Jos North. We are completely aghast that our own elected representatives have so despicably disregarded our ideals and failed to protect our interests. Not even under the military regime was our dignity rubbished and our destiny so threatened.
The indigenes of Jos understand that Gov Lalong was pressurized by forces alien to Plateau to take this action if his fluid victory at the Elections Petitions Tribunal must be sustained at the appellate and possibly Supreme Court levels. We understand Gov Lalong’s desperation to demonstrate his loyalty to President Muhammadu Buhari whom he once shamelessly and publicly confessed he would die for (not his people), but we completely reject the idea that it should be at the expense of our freedom of choice and destiny.
We have noticed that Gov S.B. Lalong has consistently stayed away from the State thus alienating himself from his people losing touch with realities on ground in the State. He has invariably become a visiting governor to the State.
Consequently, we observe with utter dismay how on Tuesday 8th October, he visited Jos from Abuja and issued a memo for the extension of the tenure/appointment of new Management Committees for Jos North, Jos South, Barkin Ladi and Riyom LGAs which was hurriedly approved after “the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ayuba Abok and all the APC members insisted the House must endorse the executive memo” as was widely reported by the media only for him to return to his base in Abuja shortly after swearing-in the new councils Management Committees.
Keen observers in Jos and environs would have noticed a sustained mass movement of troops into Jos the capital city of Plateau State since Thursday 10th October 2019.
Considering that such impositions have always been greeted with protests in the past, it should be clear to all discerning minds that the massive deployment of security forces into the city of Jos cannot be a coincidence. It is crystal clear that the Plateau State government with the aid of its collaborators in Abuja decided to mobilize the military in order to suppress any possible dissent against Gov Lalong’s unconstitutionality.
It wouldn’t be suprising should the spokespersons of the Armed Forces come out with any public statement justifying the mobilization of troops to Jos.
We call on the public and the international community to observe the conduct of the military in Jos within these days. It is very unfortunate that government could not mobilize security forces to protect our people who were massacred by killer herdsmen but is mobilizing battalions to defend a unpopular agenda hatched elsewhere and being implemented by stooges well-stationed in Little Rayfied, Jos. We wish to make it abundantly clear that we cannot be intimidated.
We observe that the imposition of the APC candidates as new Management Committees for Jos North, Jos South, Barkin Ladi and Riyom LGAs is coming a few months after Gov Lalong tested the waters under the guise of traditional council reforms.
We have it on good authority that plans are in the pipeline for Hon Shehu Bala to submit to Gov Lalong a memo for the creation of a District in Jos North for the Hausa-Fulani, which will prepare grounds for the realization of their age-long quest for an Emir of Jos.
We totally reject the attempt to dash the Hausa-Fulani oligarchy an undeserved “victory” their fore-bearers failed to secure through Usman Danfodio Jihads. We wish to use the opportunity to draw the attention of government especially the international community to the humanitarian disaster this dangerous move portends.
We urge the natives of Plateau to monitor carefully the conduct of the Hon Members of the Plateau State House of Assembly and to hold them accountable in case of any attempt to annex our heritage to the feudalists.
We are equally prepared to die for our people and for our collective heritage just the same way Gov Lalong is prepared to die for President Buhari.
We demand without any further delay the reversal of government decision vide a memo dated 8th October 2019 for the imposition of the APC Candidates on Jos North, Jos South, Barkin Ladi and Riyom as council Management Committees. It is completely illegal and cannot be sustained under whatever guise.
Since Gov Lalong has now confirmed that the security situation has improved, government should direct the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission PLASIEC to immediately conduct elections into the four local council areas in the interest of the law and constitutionality, peace, security and good governance.
We thank you for good listening
For the autochthonous peoples of Jos;
Hon Theresa Kaze………………………………………………………………………….
Barr Jonathan Azi Nyako…………………………………………………………………
Da Gyang Dudu Dalyop…………………………………………………………………..
Da Chollom Gyang………………………………………………………………………….
Hon Daniel Boka Garba…………………………………………………………………..
Hon. Sunday G. Bunu……………………………………………………
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