By Taye Obateru
Mr. Joseph Pwol, a security consultant in this interview argues that Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State means well for the state but is sometimes misunderstood. He spoke on this and other issues to Vanguard Politics. Excerpts:
What do you as a security expert think are the political implications of the current level of insecurity in Nigeria especially with another election around the corner?
Internal security in Nigeria is the most challenging issue the present political climate is faced with. Unfortunately security in Nigeria is treated with kid gloves.
Our approach to matters of security and safety leaves much to be desired. It is only in Nigeria that agencies charged with the responsibility of security remain docile. I think government itself has been boxed into a corner in a manner of speaking. Security agencies need to be proactive in their dispositions.
It is unfortunate that the military is brought in too often in cases of security breach as this is not in the best interest of democracy. It will be better to use the police and civil defense agencies, more.
Another point is that poverty has persistently remained a source of threat to security in Nigeria. Government has made no serious attempt to stem the scourge of poverty and that is why many youths have turned to criminality and have become a ready workforce for mischievous politicians with destructive motives.
Talking about youth involvement in crime , there are fears that the army of unemployed youth all over the country would be ready thugs for politicians in the coming election, do you see INEC being able to deliver on its promise to conduct a free and fair election in this circumstance?
I feel it is the duty of every Nigerian and not just INEC alone to work towards having a free and fair election next year. Beyond the issue of youth unemployment, which is a serious problem as I stated earlier is the need for proper orientation of Nigerians to have the right attitude.
With the right orientation, people will be able to work for the emergence of credible leaders who will come and change things for better and create jobs for the youth. At least our example in Plateau State has shown that if you have a credible leader, a lot can be achieved. Governor Jonah Jang has proved this.
Another good thing is that the current Chairman of INEC (Prof. Attahiru Jega) is a man who the common man believes is a man of integrity. His resume makes him assume the posture of a colossus standing tall. If only he does not bend over backwards to the powers that be, we may scale through unscathed this time around.
What is your assessment of the Jang Administration in the state given your comment a while ago?
Thanks to wisdom of Governor Jang there is rapid development on the Plateau. His achievements like I said has restored the confidence of the people in government.
People are excited by the level of development he has brought to the state. Relating it to the point I made earlier concerning youth unemployment, one of the greatest achievement s of this government is the fact that for once on the Plateau, youth are being mentored on the evolution of good governance.
For once in over thirty years youth can see what real development looks like and I think what is happening now is positive and healthy for future generations in that a standard is being set and any youth who finds him or herself in government will not deviate from the standard.
Given the picture you painted, why then is the governor having problems with top politicians who are bent on stopping him from getting a second term?
I feel most of them are seeking relevance because politics is all about being relevant in the scheme of things. So I see the problem Governor Jang is having despite his achievements as part of politics.
The fact remains that none of these Abuja based politicians will deny the fact that Jang is a performer. Jang has distinguished himself as a performing governor to the admiration of the world and because of this development members of the opposing political class are frustrated and envious of his developmental strides and have risen against him.
So what is your message to the opposition politicians?
I think they should think more about Plateau State and team up with Jang to take the state to higher heights. They should seek to build alliances with governor Jang in order to remain relevant. The truth is that today on the Plateau, they are perceived as detractors or rather enemies who are against the development of the state.
They need to redeem their images by forming a network which will portray them as people of integrity.
Some people have blamed the problem on the governor’s style…
People tend to misunderstand Gov Jang. They see him as arrogant and a non conformist but that’s not true. A lot of the ordinary people in the state believe that his intentions are noble and his efforts to develop the state are there for all to see. So I believe all well meaning citizens of the Plateau State will support him to continue in 2011. I can assure you that all warring parties will reunite for progress soon.
Do you foresee a situation where Jang does not emerge as the PDP candidate in view of the “gang up” against him?
I believe strongly that he will make it at the primaries. He is astute politician and the party structure is firmly behind him. He is one politician who knows how to hit it once and get it right. Like I said cracked fences will be mended soon and Jang’s performance speaks eloquently for him.
He has been prudent with public resources and has brought creativity and innovation into the act of governance. He also has strong values which have endeared him to the people of Plateau State and I think all these will work for him at the primaries.