by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
The stakeholders of Plateau State have observed and stated that, stakeholders at the meeting held over the weekend with Governor Lalong never endorsed the rebuilding of Jos Main Market.
In a rejoinder, signed and issued to newsmen in Jos by Deacon Pharm Markus Audu Kanda, YOWICAN Chairman, Plateau State, Amb. Hon. Barr. Panmak Mark Lere, Vice Chairman, and Nehemiah Nanmwa Michael, Secretary, it stated that, “This narrative as captured by the Press Release from the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Governor of Plateau State, Dr Makut S. Macham, is at best the manifestation of the wishful desperation displayed by the State Government as exemplified by the Chairman of the Meeting, who did not only obviously oppose some observations but he perceived were not going in the dimension he would have desired to have the commentaries made, but almost ridiculed some speakers with his comments and utterances.
“It is expected that, the government would present the true reflection of the deliberation as captured at the meeting, rather than a sensational misrepresentation of facts, which has ridiculed the integrity and disrespected the goodwill of all stakeholders who, in all honesty, respected the government’s call and seeming desire for sincere advice and observations on the subject.”
It further stated that, “What was the governor’s response to the queries from Amb. Hon. Barr. Panmak Mark Lere, the Vice Chairman of YOWICAN Plateau State who, inter alia, questioned whether the meeting was simply called in an attempt to seek a vetoing of the government’s position or be open to explore other alternatives on the subject?
“This and other questions following, did not receive the welcome of the chairman, who interrupted the submissions and shut-out the flow of the contribution and never allowed him to complete his questions and observations.”
According to the statement, “Where is the submission of the women captured at the meeting? Then, what happened to their strong submission to stand down the engagement of the government on the market so far? Were the women then not part of the stakeholders?”
It further asked, “What about the revered elder statesman, His Excellency, the former Military Administrator of Plateau State, Admiral Samuel Bitrus Atukum, during whose time as the Governor of Plateau State the Jos Main Market was completed and commissioned, who categorically celebrated the fact that no MOU has been signed with JAIZ Bank on the market and clearly cautioned the Plateau State Government not to go on with that arrangement.
“Rather, use the remaining time in office to widely consult on the issue and allow the next administration to handle the issue of the Market? Is His Excellency not part of the stakeholders? What happened to this view strongly expressed by him?
“More so, was the respected view and submission of the Chairman of the State Inter Religious Council (IRC), Rev. Prof. Pandang Yamsat (Rtd), not part of the stakeholders meeting resolution? Or did he not caution the governor on the measures he is insisting to take with JAIZ Bank, which made the governor to almost embarrass the elder statesman at the meeting by interrupting him and requesting the retired clergy and elder to sit down for cautioning him to be careful not to insist on this contract with JAIZ bank?
“As same is sensitive and has the potential to erode the good work the governor has started in his efforts to unite all religious groups in Plateau State by establishing both the IRC and the Peace Building Agency? And we are not surprised that, this was not captured also since the government holds a position it must promote, and this was clear as the few voices that supported the work.
“This is not to forget the views of the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Very Rev. Fr. Polycarp Lubo, who reminded the Governor that Plateau State is bigger than himself and bigger than the Governor and recommended the consultations to continue,. Is CAN also not reckoned among the stakeholders?
“True, no one accused the Plateau State Government for nurturing the desire to have the market back alive and to seek a good means of improving the lot of the Plateau people, but there was clearly disenchantment with the desperation and haste displayed by the Government in all of this. Other concerns were raised pertaining to security and the yet-to-be disclosed cause of the destruction of the former market structure.
“The Press Release by the Government via the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Governor of Plateau State, Dr. Makut Simon Macham, is at best a clear evidence of the questionable desperation of the State Government to remain recalcitrant, even under the Injunction granted by the High Court of Plateau State restraining the consummation of their cherished marriage proposal with JAIZ Bank on the subject, even amidst wide concerns and palpable apprehensions from the Plateau People.
“One wonders, if this Government gives heed to the plight and concerns of its citizens. Is government not established for the people; and the duty of the government to also listen to the clear voice of the people – if truly the project is intended to be for the people and the same people have raised concerns necessitating a stand down of the said project?”
The statement questioned thus: “Is the government not vindicated and justified to stand down on the work? Or can anyone donate vires on the government to continue with the work without the People’s blessings? This leaves much to be desired, and we can safely assume that, if not for the fact that the Joint Venture Partnership Agreement got leaked to the public, the government would have contracted this unholy marriage to mortgage the lot of the Plateau people without their knowledge, consent and blessing.”
They assured that, they remain resolute to restate their position on this issue in the interest of the State and her inhabitants, that the government should stand down any further engagement with JAIZ Bank on this issue and focus on ongoing projects in the state, work hard towards returning students of the state tertiary institutions back on campus, settle all outstanding salaries, pensions and other emoluments of its civil servants, as well as begin to prepare for a seamless handing over, “as the applause seem to fade away by each display of desperation on this subject.”
They further assured that, “Plateau Stakeholders at the meeting did not endorse the rebuilding of the Jos Main Market as falsely transmitted by the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Governor of Plateau State, Dr. Makut Simon Macham!”