The Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate in Plateau State, Senator Gyang Pwajok, in this interview with JUDE OWUAMANAM, speaks about his plans for the state and other issues
What do you have to offer the state after serving as a senator for almost four years?
Let me say that the mere fact that I exist as a human being means clearly that I must be driven by something, driven by the motivation to contribute to the society, to make an impact in any assignment that I have undertaken and, at the same time, ensure that I don’t just pass through this world without leaving a visible imprint on the sands of time. I thank God for his endowments; I thank Him for leading me through life up to this moment. To aspire to a higher office is very natural of man. I am motivated to aspire to a higher post because there is so much to be done in Plateau State in terms of development. I am part and parcel of the development plan of Plateau State and I know that if you take infrastructure alone, there is so much to be done.
In fact, what people are already celebrating is a tip of the iceberg as far as the vision and intentions of this administration are concerned. And this is also something that has been impeded by the limited resources available to the present administration. There are key areas that I intend to improve. If you remember so well, I was also part and parcel of those that fashioned out the three key pillar policies. If you want to score this administration, you will discover that at the level of infrastructural development more needs to be done, at the level of human capital development, we have significant areas to cover. At the level of financial options and the resource mobilisation, you realise that we are just beginning to scratch the surface. There is so much to be done in Plateau State. There is really much to explore and ensure that we maximally utilise the latent resources of the state.
There is a widespread opposition to your aspiration because you are not only from the same senatorial district with Governor Jonah Jang, but from the same hamlet. What is your reaction to this?
Let me correct this impression. I think it is also something that people will carefully consider and eventually take the decision that would clear the path for the direction that we are moving to. The truth of the matter is that controversies are normal in political discourse, they are normal in competition, they are normal when elections are concerned. And I am one of those who believe that elections are simply and squarely the way and manner human exert the freewill of choice; the freewill of choice with regards to individuals, the freewill of choice as regards policies, and even governance issues. And I stand distinctly as somebody who belongs to a school of thought that there is so much to be done for Plateau State and that the development we are witnessing now can be better if only we can work together and begin to see the challenges as things we can confront.
In fairness, those who are campaigning along divisional lines, who are campaigning on ethnic issues, are doing so because it pays them. This is because these are the campaign issues they want to rely on to be able to win support and win the election. But my campaign is strictly speaking about the things I intend to do for the people of Plateau State. To a large extent, it will take my short stay in the senate to know that I knew clearly that my leadership role is going to be limited to duration. And power is exercised within a limited time and space.
Whatever I will be telling Plateau people when I unfold the details of my developmental plans will be anchored on the time perspective or the duration of time. I do not belong to the school of thought that would promise heaven and earth in a situation where you know that you are going to operate under some constraints of time and space. And I believe that we can articulate this position, as I am already doing, to say that we intend to consolidate the achievements we have been able to record and, God willing, be able to surpass the standard that has been established so that it would justify the reasons why the governor , as well as other meaningful stakeholders of Plateau State, believe that the youths will be challenged to take responsibility and assume clear roles of not only competing with their peers in other climes, but to ensure that the country is safe and that Plateau State is first among equals.
That is the reason, as far as this project is concerned, of contesting for the governorship of Plateau State. I want to say that I believe strongly that at the end, we will make Plateau State the hub of developmental innovations of this country so that people can come back and say we are doing something.
For the past 16 years, the Birom ethnic group which you belong has been in power. Don’t you think justice and fairness demands that other zones should produce the next governor?
The PDP constitution provides a basis for stabilising the nation and the party has used this creatively to win elections. To that extent, it has to also conform to the constitution of Nigeria, which is the supreme law of the land. There are fundamental human rights that have been enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria. Of course, the agreement enshrined in the PDP constitution is also in line with the experiences we have passed through on the Plateau.
Based on the principles of equity and justice, even though I don’t want to engage in debate on zoning, there has been a natural direction of zoning that had been clearly exemplified in Plateau State. Of course, nobody can deny the fact that the southern district has produced two governors, the central and the north one each. Simple mathematics shows that the principle of equity, justice and rotation can also be applied to any of the districts as it is today.
That means that by the time any election is conducted, that principle will also be in line with the principles of the PDP constitution. In other words, I must say in clear terms that the whole argument about rotation and zoning as far as Plateau state is concerned, does not in any way deny any of these districts the opportunity of contesting the governorship of Plateau State.
To that extent, I must say that those who are clamouring for attention to their own zones must also look at the PDP constitution closely and realise that it is not simply and squarely asking for power, but delivering on a mandate. We believe that apart from just winning the election, the challenges of governance require that the issues of state craft must be properly considered so that governance would be at a higher pedestal as far as Plateau State is concerned.
So to me, I must say that as it stands today, whoever wins the election from any of the zones is in line with the principle of equity and justice. No matter the zones for now. For me, coming from the northern zone that has over 51 per cent of the voting population, in a democratic setting, any consideration of election will not exclude any of the zones and must necessarily include the northern zone in the calculation towards a winning formula as far as the PDP is concerned.
So an election that excludes any district will not be in line with the PDP constitution and the party manifesto; neither would it be in line with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So I say that for now, we can also see in practice that all the zones have aspirants. That is in line with the principle of equity and justice. Let us slug it out and see the outcome and let the people will decide.