Fr George Barde
DISCLAIMER: I scripted these lines not as an Ngas man or a Catholic Priest, identities I hold dear and proudly cherish but merely as an intervention by a social crusader in the present political debacle we are transitioning on the Plateau. To stake my credential I will refer you to my articles on Igbophobia I wrote 3 years ago and the one I wrote on Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The book, “The Road To Magadishu” is written by a Nigerian Journalist who believes that we are headed for the Somali failed State situation. The Rwandan genocide started when an entire ethnic identity was demonized, then tagged so that killing them was justified.
It is baffling that in this our small Plateau State, the Ngas man who holds the single biggest responsibility for putting her on the global map is now the villain. If there is a single tribe that God used to shape the destiny of Central Nigeria from Benue to Nassarawa and Plateau with the attendant multiplier effect across the country today, it is the Ngas man. If General Yakubu Gowon is responsible for one Nigeria, then CP JD Gomalk is responsible for the formidable anti-jihadist entity that central Nigerian minority tribes have constituted.
How many of us know that if not for the foresight of CP JD Gomalk, the small light we see which subsequent leaders have failed to substantially improve upon would not have been possible? The reason why he was killed alongside Col Bukar Suka Dimka despite his innocence in the charge of alleged complicity in the coup is because he was a class ahead of his peers and turned Plateau-Benue state into the envy of the Fulani Oligarchy of Northern Nigeria.
If you care enough you would have known that he went to beg Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria to help set up a state University campus in Jos so that our people can also go to school. ABU refused because obviously we must remain Fulani slaves forever. He called their bluff and went all the way to the famous and more credible University of Ibadan (UI) and they agreed. Today this is the story of our own Unijos which we are all proud of. You want to talk about the first colored Television station in West Africa (our own) NTA Jos? JD Gomalk did it. A state Governor better than a federal government you would say. How about Plapoly Barkin Ladi? Tell me what others with far more resources and lesser territory have done since after JD Gomalk?
THE ETHNIC COMPETITION THEORY
Perhaps the ethnic competition theory will explain this profiling situation. According to Wikipedia, the ethnic competition thesis, posits that individuals support far-right political parties (populist parties) because they wish to reduce competition from immigrants over scarce resources such as jobs, housing, mating opportunities and welfare benefits. Does this explain the obsession with the way call each other names such as enemies verse patriots of Plateau? This explains the Xenophobia we condemned in South Africa which we are replicating on the Plateau.
Unfortunately politicians have one Identity whether they are Christians or Muslims, PDP or APC. Count them all and I will show you show you they joined different parties according to convenience. For instance Da Jonah Jang was in All Peoples Party with Buhari. Lalong was in PDP with Jang. Dariye was in PDP and APC. JT Useni was in ANPP, then another party before he came to PDP. Who is fooling who? We the masses should know that we are the victims of their fights. Those who pretend to be our saviours are mostly pretenders and opportunists, what the Lord Jesus calls wolves in sheep’s clothing.
BEHEMOTHS SHALL CRUMBLE
I won’t stop believing in a better country because history has shown that the great and fearsome kingdoms of the world that looked indomitable due to longevity and sheer organizational orderliness still crumbled in an instant. It took just an event. Where are the Roman and Ottoman Empires today? In recent decades we have the example of the Empire of Great Britain with it’s iconic monarchy and famed bureaucracy.
Our own dear Plateau has been hijacked as indeed our country by a set of merciless and rapacious elite who care about no one but themselves and their families. In 2015 they used tribe. It was Berom against the rest, in 2023 they are using religion. I don’t even want to mention the angle of one denomination against the other.
Meanwhile good governance is thrown to the dogs. When shall we be wise?
THE DANGERS OF EMOTIONALISM AND IGNORANCE
It is obvious that a lot of the discussion about the politics of Plateau state today is junk. The election was won and lost on street gossips and propaganda. This has not abated. The evil that men do lives after them. Truth, is the victim; meanwhile it is what will set us free. There are two things that have kept me going especially after the presidential election despite all my utter disappointment. 1. My chronic optimism which has no rival and 2. A statement by the conscience of the nation himself Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah. “He said mistakes are permitted in a democracy.” We have made mistakes and will continue to make more mistakes until we come to learn that the politicians we believe are the key to solving our problem might be the source of the problems after all.
The 2023 elections in Plateau State and the outcome including the court decisions has exposed the limits that our emotions imposes on us. We have all been pretending to be Plateau and love each other after all! As their own gimmicks catches up with them, they resort to base incitements.
One thing that is very clear to me is that we have no leaders in Plateau State. We have dealers. Either they have it all or no one! There is a total lack of intellectual content in the arguments so far. Everybody on both sides are taking no prisoners. I think Dr Nentawe has been very measured in his silence which has helped a bit but nevertheless, his supporters have been less than gracious as well.
Emotion is a powerful tool for mobilization but also for manipulation. Zinedine Zidane, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and more recently the England female football star all buckled under emotions during tense sports competition. The emotional investment that has gone into the last election in Plateau State is a spill over of the same type of emotional investment that saw the emergence of Simon Bako Lalong 2015. Even my friend Buhari who says he doesn’t miss being President enjoyed the emotional magic. The only difference is that hypocrisy has joined the mix this time around.
HYPOCRISY HAS JOINED THE MIX
The mudslinging would have been usual but hypocrisy has joined the mix. APC won elections in Mangu. In 2015 votes where casted not by any consideration of merit but sheer sentiments. The unwarranted demonization of the Ngas people and other supporters of Dr Nentawe (a proud Ngas man) of APC, is symptomatic perhaps of a latent, albeit quiscent hatred that has been there until these turn of events forced out to the open. Many Ngas people and supporters of Dr Nentawe shared how otherwise close friends and peaceful neighbors after the elections literally turned enemies, pointing hands mocking them and calling them names. This is how genocide starts.
How did we arrive at this point in this our small Plateau? Do people even realize that Nentawe did not win some Ngas villages? That he had the worst most seething opposition from his own Ngas colleagues including his fellow Village Brother? I am sure they will be disappointed that they ahve all been stereotyped alongside their tribesmen after sticking their necks for their different parties. We must stop the politicians in their track before they finish us. They have been eating our money now they want to end our wretched lives.
Besides the elections results on the Plateau have shown that no candidate or party had landslide victory. The Governorship was won by a mere 30 thousand votes out of a total of about a million. They were all slim majority. All parties had fair share of the votes. So what is this toxicity about Plateau project which essentially is a project of a few opportunists.
Elections should be about policies and track record not hearsays and street gossips. Our politicians are intellectually deficient. To think that we the religious leaders could not be different and are even worst than they are depresses further. We don’t even have shame not to talk of fear of God. Most of us only know the candidates by their godfathers. There is what is called fallacy of generalization. Don’t be scammed. Remind me how many of you got palliatives and the displaced people money? These should be your concern because you won’t eat emotions and sentiments.
QUESTIONS BEGGING FOR ANSWERS?
The Ngas man put on the spot has never disappointed this state so why the new wave of demonization? How could we avoid calling this unfolding profiling as hatred and jealousy? Unto what really?
The Ngas man has never been found wanting in any relationship he enters with his neighbors. He is the peaceful neighbor who minds his business. He is the ideal inter-tribal playmate. He has shown time and again that he is trustworthy and reliable. In this entre state the Ngas man is the only man you will find in every nook and cranny of this state and beyond in substantial number. He has no tribal enemies unlike tribes we know today cannot athd each other.
Perhaps, the problem is that an Ngas man represented in Dr Nentawe who by all standards stands shoulder high compared to his opponents dared to raise his head again to take his own place at the table. It is said that people will not have problem with you until you decide to leave where they placed you. Stop this toxic hypocrisy!