Governor Simon Lalong and Yakubu Dati

Day of forgiveness: Lalong sets template for peaceful coexistence


As Gov Simon Bako Lalong storms the Centre stage to promote the Tinubu/Shettima APC presidential campaign at the national level, he has succeeded in extinguishing initial doubts being expressed about the likelihood that the high quality of governance which he is known for may suffer due to the demand of his responsibilities as Director General of the campaign council.

The governor has however kept proving over and over again that he is adept at multi tasking when it comes to providing good governance to his people and the nation as well.

Few days ago, the governor took time out from the grueling campaign trail to promote peaceful coexistence in his home state of Plateau by hosting what is now called the ‘Plateau Day and Day of Forgiveness and Reconciliation’ which has come to be celebrated annually since 2018 as part of efforts to sustain peace in the state.

The event which took place at the Rwang Pam Township Stadium Jos also marked the 47th anniversary of the creation of the State.

For Gov Lalong, the push to drive home one of the cardinal objectives of his administration which is to restore lasting peace in his state takes the cake as he understands that no development can take place in a rancorous atmosphere.

Recall that on assumption of office as Governor of Plateau State, Lalong resolved to restore the glory of the state in line with its popular slogan of ‘Home of Peace and Tourism’.

Having inherited a fractured state at the brink of collapse instigated by bloodthirsty warmongers who were exploiting the fault lines of ethnic and religious sensitivities, Gov Lalong initiated policies, programmes and an institutional framework to restore the state back to its lost glory.

Speaking on behalf of Plateau glorious stars, a former DG of the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA, Malam Yakubu Mohammed who was at the occasion, recalled his life while growing up in Jos and said the unfortunate events of the past have been detrimental to the image of the State but expressed delight that the Governor has done well to reverse the situation through inclusive leadership.

The former DG of NTA was not alone in preaching the message of peace as he was supported by various dignitaries who were at the occasion.

They include Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar who showered praises on Governor Lalong for his passion for peace and reconciliation which has restored calm and progress in Plateau State.

The Sultan said the initiatives put in place by the Governor have galvanised the entire state and brought together people who are no longer looking at one another with suspicion, bitterness and hatred.

Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama on his part said he was happy that the initiative taken many years ago has fully been implemented by the Plateau State Government under the leadership of Governor Lalong.

The Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba urged the citizens to put the past behind them and look forward to a greater future while Catholic Archbishop of Jos Most Rev. Ishaya Audu appreciated the Plateau State Government for adhering to the yearnings of the people and doing the needful.

Other dignitaries at the occasion include Emir of Askira, Alh. Abdullahi Ibn Askirama II, Emir of Kano Aminu Ado Bayero, former Military Administrator of Plateau State Gen. Lawrence Onoja, former Governor Fidelis Tapgun, CAN General Secretary, PIDAN President, Chairman Inter religious Council Prof. Pandam Yamsat, who all commended the Governor for toeing the path of peace and ensuring that criminals are not allowed to operate with impunity while reconciliation is going on.

Gov Lalong on his part described the day as a forum to appeal to peoples’ conscience and embrace peace.

“Today, the deep-seated level of mutual distrust, suspicion and hate that once characterized social relations between people of different ethno-religious backgrounds across Plateau State has greatly reduced to the barest minimum. This is a result of the hours, days, months and years of work put in by the Plateau Peace Building Agency which we established backed by law, as well as the Inter-Religious Council that was also inaugurated with top leadership of the Christian and Muslim faiths deeply involved”.

The Governor explained that the Government has continued to remove the triggers for conflicts such as those related to farming and grazing and has sent a Bill to the State House of Assembly for the establishment of Ranching which will prohibit open grazing so as to tackle clashes between farmers and herders.

He then took a very significant step that will further guarantee peaceful coexistence in the state with his unveiling of the Gazette for the creation of New Districts and Chiefdoms in the state and the formal handing over of 32 schools established by voluntary organisations back to their original owners.

The occasion attracted advocates of religious, ethnic and traditional inclusion and elicited acclamations from a cross section that yearned for accommodation and inclusion in the scheme of things and the purely non-political occasion has been received with warmth.

It was meant to be devoid of politics, but it nonetheless provided political analysts the opportunity to express their opinions on the impact of the efforts of the Governor towards improving on the lot of the citizens in his state.

Consequently, the Governor has in several analyses of the event been eulogized as a leader with focus who does not forget his immediate responsibility even while answering a clarion call on behalf of the nation.

Political analysts quickly recall that as chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum, Lalong provided quality leadership to his colleague governors and at the same time served the state well with quality projects and good initiatives.

As the DG of the Tinubu/Shettima Campaign Council, Gov Lalong is working round the clock to deliver on his mandate!

By Yakubu Dati



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