by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
It has been observed that no nation exists in isolation (or as an island to itself) without a community of the people.
It was also observed that, the Democratic Journey in Nigeria generally and, Plateau State in particular, the role of communities is crucial and, hence the need for proper information center, for the effective performance of such role.
This assertion was made during a Paper presentation by Chuwang George Pwajok, at the recent Annual Berom Educational Cultural Organization (BECO) Jishe Unit, on Jishe Leadership Retreat and Awards, 2023, at the Conference Hall of Federal Secretariat, Jishe Jos, in Plateau State.
The theme of the retreat was, ‘A Quest for Redemption: Contending with the Negative Forces in Beromland,’ while the theme of his paper was ‘Interrogating Our Leadership and Community Life as Berom: In Search of the right attitude and Behavior by which to thrive and be great in the new World Order.’
Mr Pwajok stated that, “Information, they say, is power, and as a result there can be no positive engagement without information. This is because the recent development within have revealed how politics is often placed as a ‘dirty game.’ ”
According to him, the understanding of the Berom condition, one must necessarily appreciate politics in Nigeria, and Plateau State in particular.
“We have continued to witness problems with behavior of our political elites: politics of division, politics of devotion of ideology; this combined create an atmosphere in which sub-sections have created a setback – a devoid set back – in our democracy and development,” he stressed.
In his opinion, “Plateau State issues tend to divert attention on issues of welfare of the citizens and focus on personalities’ differences; the issue of foul play language and the manipulation of contention and religious sentiments confused the people.
“All manners of offensives have been bridges with some bordering on personality, while clashes among elders seem to be gradually increasing and sustaining the circle of poverty. That is miss information and backwardness.”
Mr. Chuwang Pwajok noted that, a collection of falsehood has continued to conspire to ensure that democratic project on the Plateau remains an unrealized expectation.
He observed also that, “There is no human being or even a community that exists in isolation. The issues that affect our politics as a people are equally the same issues that take politics in the wider Nigeria or Plateau situation.
“We are within a wider environment as community, and this community behavior – or attitude of Plateau indigenes and politicians – equally affects the Berom. So, we are not living in isolation for others; this is personalities’ clashes we are talking about.”
He stated that, “The clashes between political elites and elders equally have been the role influence and have been affecting our politics as a Berom Community, because often times we open up to the reality that people take up fight or dislike someone even without meeting them, simple because ‘this person is not a supporter of this candidate that I equally support.’
“So, you dislike someone without knowing how pleasantly influencing that person is; and we begin to throw some abusive words and say negative things, and it degenerates into fight, because our political leaders are not in agreement with one another.”
According to him, “The process is the issue of responsibility, which is basically things that will bring us as a people on the part of progress and development,” adding that, “The issue of welfare of the people becomes secondary when they are taking decisions as to who represents us in one of this or the other.
“How many truly hold onto the problem confronting us as a major reason as a measuring yardstick? We accept the performance of our leaders, especially those within elective offices, but we get divided because ‘this person is from my area; this person is not from my area,’ but at the end of the day, the performance does not matter.
“What matters is that, we share common identity with them. These attitudes and behaviors are detrimental to us collectively as a people; these are attitudes and behaviors that may gain the significance that politics or governance should.”
Mr. Chuwang Pwajok stressed that, “Collective action in times of calling them to book, calling them to account for their stewardship has become a major challenge to us; why? Because, we cannot speak with one voice in demanding accountability from our leaders.
“The Berom agenda must have to be a reflection of who we are and, if we accept that we are leaders in our Community and must also accept the responsibility that comes in building the future from bad. The effort and priority we set today will determine the kind of leadership we provide.
“Therefore, our lands need degeneration through additional change, because, in other words, our leaders are products of our collective attitude and behavior that can be set to be a reflection of who we are and must, therefore, challenge the existing norms, refuse to accept what is common or the usual in-politics and take action that would redefine our today,” Pwajok stated.
He continued that: “Berom are a peace-loving people in their communities, and share a lot of values, culture and stay with a regular continent with one another peacefully.”
He urged them to focus on those things that unite, rather than being divided, and should refuse to follow the “band-wagon.”
Earlier, the Chairman of BECO Jishe, Da. Lawrence Jick, said, the retreat was to foster unity among leaders in their communities, to raise the capacity of participants to effectively play leadership roles in the community and to share information and create awareness on important and pressing issues affecting them.
Others, he said, are “to stimulate discussion and analyze issues towards promoting our common good, by inspiring the spirit of service and good leadership, as well as hope in our leaders, to promote good moral values and promote the defense of our culture and traditional heritage.”
He noted that, last year, they met and reflected on the theme:’ Berom Agenda: The Right Perspective,’ while this year’s theme is focusing on ‘A Quest for Redemption: Contending with the Negative Forces in Beromland,’ saying that “the choice of the theme is apt for a lot of reasons.”
He said “This was to bring into consideration the condition of our corporate existence, especially within the Nigeria nation, which can say our corresponding interests have been fully guaranteed and protected, in terms of security, justice, fairness and equity.”
“What about the quality of our relationship with some other people around us; and how good is our personal effort towards our collective wellbeing and progress? We must be honest; all is not well, and we can count a lot that we have lost overtime due to these problems,” Mr. Chuwang Pwajok stated.
Also, there were presentation of Merit Awards to Very Rev. Fr. Paul Pam – for promoting of Berom Language and justice, unity, peace and progress in Beromland. Others include, Hon. Simon Mwadkwon, member representing Riyom/Barkin Ladi Federal Constituency Plateau, for Humanitarian; Steven Monday Gyang; Ngo Dr. Sarah Dagah, and Mr. Abhai Kumar.