Written By Yakubu Datti
In November last year, the government and people of Plateau State could not hide their joy when it was announced that the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, was billed to attend graduation of the Course 39 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS), in in Kuru, Plateau State.
Though the President was represented by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo at the occasion, the feeling was upbeat, as the people poured into the streets to receive him.
It was so because it signified a very important landmark in governance to the effect that Plateau is beginning to get the attention of the federal government.
The significance of the presence of the Vice President as the forerunner of Mr. President was all too obvious to the discerning.
Today, the state is once again agog with the news of the coming of Mr. President and the proverbial red carpet has been rolled out by an excited citizenry to receive him days before his expected day of arrival.
As the president arrives on a working visit, he will inspect and commission some road networks which includes the Mararaba Jama’a expressway, Low-cost Miango-Rafiki road network, and the fly-over at the Secretariat junction. President Buhari will also inspect the Unguwar Rogo – Alikazaure bridge under construction.
The Agric sector which is one of the new normal in the policy thrust of the government will witness a significant push as President Buhari launches 400 tractors purchased for distribution. The tractor ownership and Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme between the Plateau State Government and the Plateau All Farmers multipurpose cooperative society.
The president is also expected to visit the Gbong Gwon Jos as well as hold a town-hall meeting where the Peace building roadmap will be unveiled by Governor Simon Lalong at the Government House, Little Rayfield.
Each of these physical infrastructural project is of utmost significance to the people because it impacts directly to their daily sojourns.
The Maraban Jama’a express-way for instance, is the gateway to the capital city by air and by road. It also connects the three senatorial districts of Northern, Central and Southern Plateau.
The low cost/Rukuba road network connects different parts of Jos with one another and takes the pressure off the main routes leading into the town while the secretariat Junction fly-over also eases vehicular movement at that busy commercial spot by creating routes for cars to pass seamlessly.
Though these projects endears the people to the Lalong-led administration, the disposition of the administration to complete abandoned projects further projects the hard-working Governor as a compassionate leader not given to self adulation.
Lalong’s total devotion to ending the endless circle of bloodletting in the state has projected Plateau as a reference-point of peace. His strategic deployment of variables of peace in a scientific manner has created an island of peace on the Plateau. This major feat achieved without much ado has attracted worldwide commendation as the state is no longer in the news for the wrong reasons. Not surprisingly, the unveiling of the strategic road-map to peace has got everyone excited,
This project though intangible is fundamental to the development of the state as well as to the success of the current administration and to the overall wellbeing of Nigeria. That the l.along administration has thought it wise to make it a cardinal aspect of the visit of the president underlies its significance to the nation.
The All Progressives Congress, APC, led administration of President Muhammad Buhari has undertaken to change the country on a positive note. A key area is mobilizing the psyche of the citizenry in achieving the dreams of its founding fathers, which cannot be achieved in an atmosphere of rancor, civil strife and violence.
Plateau State unfortunately had in the last decade found itself in the center of internecine violence with high casualty rate on issues that threatened the very fabric of our nationhood.
For more than 10 years the drums of war have been reverberating, scaring genuine investors, enthusiastic tourists and even Federal Government agencies domiciled in the state. To add insult to injury, unpaid salaries, allowances and gratuities of workers intensified the pains of the stressed citizenry. These stressors increased the angst for intolerance and other intemperate reactions.
As soon as the current governor came on board, Governor Lalong knew he had to do something to douse the tension and made it a policy to not only clear the backlog of salary arrears but to sustain a culture of prompt payment of salaries and allowances to civil servants and teachers.
This has succeeded to a great extent in fixing the economy of the state as small and medium scale business which had generally packed up resurfaced to contribute to the local economy..
Communal outreaches were also set up which established contact with hitherto hostile communities and people who were not on speaking terms began to live and work together.
The tense atmosphere gave way to a general feeling of camaraderie among folks and smile once again returned to the faces of the people. These successes achieved by the Rescue administration has projected the state as a reference point for peace and prosperity. It its bid to share the success story, Governor Simon Lalong will graciously invite President Mohammadu Buhari to unveil the strategic document christened The Plateau State Road Map to Peace. The blueprint for sustainable peace in the state will institutionalize milestones achieved in the peace process.
As President Buhari arrives Plateau on Thursday, 8th March 2018, he will be received by an enthusiastic community of people motivated by the peaceful and humble disposition of the Captain of the Rescue team, Rt Hon Simon Bako Lalong fondly referred to as Governor-alert.!
Datti is the Commissioner of Information and Communication of Plateau State.