Mr. Denis Yillah, Plateau State-born policy analyst, in this interview with EJIKEME OMENAZU, spoke on the state’s previous administration, even as he challenges the incumbent Governor, Simon Lalong to create an enabling environment to attract investors, especially in the areas of tourism and agro services. Excerpts:
What do you see as the most crucial needs of Plateau State presently?
Bad politics and poor management of crisis by former Governor Joshua Dariye destroyed Plateau State and drove away businesses. So, among other things, we need peace. Peace must return to the Plateau. It is a state that is blessed with natural resources, food, vegetables, good weather conditions, etc. I am begging Governor Simon Lalong to invite foreign partners so that they can invest and make Jos a tourist destination. A lot of white people reside here because of its weather. I am pleading with the governor to look into the area of agriculture and tourism. I think we will get there, especially with what we have as a state. The revenue from taxes will help boost both state and the nation’s revenue.
What is your take on the long-drawn crises that destroyed the beauty and peace of the Plateau?
Plateau stands for peace and equity. That is why the slogan is “Home of peace and tourism”. But, some bad eggs in politics came and destroyed Plateau State. Plateau State is a home for all, especially the Igbos and other ethnic groups of Nigeria. People from all nationalities had the free will of living in the state till 2000, during the era of Joshua Dariye as governor, after which crisis erupted, resulting in killings, etc. They blamed the crisis on religion. But, as far as I am concerned, the crisis was political.
Why do you believe that the crisis was political?
It is very clear. The hand writing was on the wall. Everybody could see and feel it. I remember very well that every successful businessman from every tribe of the federation was represented in Plateau State, until 2000, when rumours had it that the Hausa-Fulani wanted to take part of Plateau State. The governor then, Joshua Dariye, could not come out clear on the indigenes of the state. It was then the crisis broke out. But, we knew it wasn’t religious crisis, but politics. It’s a known fact that Plateau State is 100 per cent Christian state. So, coming to say the crisis was religious was not true.
What is your assessment of incumbent Governor Simon Lalong administration?
As a matter of fact, we are getting there. I will not like to talk about the present administration because I have not seen much that he has done, as far as I’m concerned. May be he needs time, but we need to see his blueprints. What are his plans? And we need to see if he can deliver. For now, I have nothing to say about his administration, because I have not seen anything tangible yet that he has done.
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