We are constrained to respond to a so-called “World Press Conference” by a group called YOWICAN, WOWICAN & ETHNIC NATIONALITIES (NORTHERN ZONE) where various issues were raised with the intention to stop the forthcoming Local Government elections in Plateau State, scheduled for 9th October 2021.
For starters, the originators of this so-called “World Press Conference” appear determined to confuse, brainwash, incite and instigate the public using their identities, ideologies and interests that clearly portray them as strange bed fellows, sponsored hirelings and instruments of destabilisation against Plateau.
Here are some facts to dismantle their submissions which are at best at a shallow and desperate attempt to incite violence and disrupt the elections holding this Saturday 9th October 2021.
- YOWICAN (Youth Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria) and WOWICAN (Women Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria) are religious associations that are supposedly representing the interests of members of their faith. They are not known to be political organisations, neither are they recognised to be representing any political party.
But to the surprise of all, their so called “World Press Conference” in conjunction with an amorphous “Ethnic Youth Nationalities” is by all standards a political submission coated with cheap ethno-religious sentiments aimed at stopping a legitimate and constitutional electoral process.
- It is rather sad and disappointing that these supposedly religious groups appear to be celebrating the history of violence, particularly in Jos North and using it as a benchmark for not holding elections. Indeed they have clearly stated that they prefer the state of anarchy and insecurity than normalcy and stability, which the Lalong Rescue Administration has worked assiduously to bring about in the last 6 years. If not, why will they make a statement such as:
“However, between the close of 2020 to August 2021, we have had resurgence of insecurity and massive destructions of lives and properties followed by the imposition of 24 hours curfew just few months ago which was only now relaxed to between 10pm to 6am. This is indicative of the fact that normalcy has not yet returned to the troubled LGAs of Bassa, Jos South, Riyom and Jos North”.
YOWICAN and WOWICAN need to tell the people what they know about the violence which they are cheerfully referring to and displaying gleefully. Were the recent attacks about politics? Are they confirming the fears of many that once elections (particularly Local Government) are around the corner, violence erupts on the Plateau? Are their hands in this dangerous conspiracy?
Since they claim to be speaking as an ethno-religious conglomeration, can they truthfully say that as at today, they don’t perform their religious obligations because of insecurity? If they can hold church services, organise weddings, go to the markets, farms and offices, hold ethnic meetings and festivals, organise cultural meetings etc, why can’t elections hold?
What is the big deal about people going out to cast their votes to choose their leaders peacefully in a matter of hours on Saturday? It is sad that these so-called “World Press Briefers” are ridiculing their faith and members of their ethnic groups by painting a picture that they are crises mongers and against democracy and prefer to perpetually remain in violence or instigate same.
If they profess violence, what then is the essence of their prayers and fasting that God should restore peace to Plateau? Now that God has answered their prayers and peace has substantially been restored, why are they prophesying doom and gloom? Did elections not hold in Kaduna recently amidst the high banditry and kidnappings going on? For how long will Plateau remain in the shadow of fear and subjugation to merchants of war?
- The so-called “World Press Conference Organisers” continued with a hypocritical counsel when they said “We advise the government to resist the temptation of being insensitive to the plight of Plateau people and refrain from any attempt of conducting Local Government Elections in Jos North and Bassa LGAs for the time being until there is much more stable peace and calm”.
This is laughable and heartbreaking. Just when did conducting elections as stipulated by law becomes an insensitive action by a legitimate government? Are these people for real? Maybe they assume that we have forgotten that they were part of the campaign of calumny against the government of Rt Hon Simon Bako Lalong over the non-conduct of elections in the aforementioned Local Government areas.
Their agitations, lies and incitements pushed the opposition PDP to approach the courts to compel the governor to organise elections and stop appointing Transition Management Committees forthwith. Now that the governor has complied with this demand by empowering PLASIEC to organise the elections, they are singing a different tune and shouting blue murder.
What exactly do they want? What is their agenda? They are so determined to castigate Plateau State and the Rescue Administration of Governor Lalong by painting it as insecure and unwelcoming at all costs, just to achieve their hidden agenda masquerading as religious and ethnic groups. This is the same thing they did together with their cohorts to make states rush to evacuate their students from the University of Jos. They are now blaming the governor for the school’s closure by the Management which is under the control of the Federal Government. What a pity.
- To shock and bemuse the world in their sponsored so-called “World Press Conference”, they couldn’t hide their real intentions and the identity of those sponsoring and using them when they said: “It is most unfortunate that another calamity is likely befalling Plateau State by the rape of the people’s voices to make a choice and decide who should govern them. A worst version of the encounter of the last Local Government elections is about to set sail on the 9th October, 2021”.
How on earth can a supposed religious group propagate such falsehood and propaganda which is only common with opposition politicians? Alas, we know who is behind the drums of war that YOWICAN, WOWICAN and ETHNIC YOUTH NATIONALITIES have been dancing to. Was it the governor or the APC that stopped PDP from being part of the elections?
Why do they want to rub feaces on the government at all costs even when a court of competent jurisdiction, affirmed the decision of the PLASIEC not to allow the PDP participate based on an earlier court judgment concerning its internal wranglings? What has that got to do with the government or the governor?
Where has the voice of any Plateau citizen been raped to choose their leaders in the forthcoming Local government elections?
If the PDP which is clearly sponsoring the YOWICAN, WOWICAN & ETHNIC NATIONALITIES is not on the ballot, does that stop the electorate from choosing other candidates from the many political parties participating in the elections? The decision of who will govern people at the grassroots is purely for the people to make and not for these hired ethno-religious bigots to decide.
We urge them to stop this show of shame and dragging their organisations to the mud. However, if they want to play politics, they should join the fray, roll their sleeves and jump into the murky waters rather than hide under the cover of entities they don’t represent.
We also wish to remind them that Governor Lalong is a democrat whose credentials stand way high and above some of their political idols. They have forgotten that it was Governor Lalong who swore in the late Chief Dan Dul as chairman of Langtang South years after he was denied his office despite court orders. He did same for the current outgoing chairman of Langtang North, Ubandoma Laven. Today they have turned against him, churning out falsehood of disenfranchisement of Plateau voters.
- And then they threaten government: “The Plateau people especially the youths and women are watching keenly at what government is doing and will hold them accountable for every negative and detrimental action taken or planned against the good people of Plateau State. Silence is no longer golden.”
This is the height of irresponsibility, rascality and provocation that must not be allowed to go unchallenged. Which Plateau people are they referring to? Are there youths and women from other states than Plateau they are representing? What about the people of Plateau State that is eager to see the 9th of October to go out and exercise their franchise? Are the youths that have been campaigning for their various candidates not from Plateau?
If silence according to them is not golden, must they be sponsored by people who feel they have lost out to open their mouths to incite violence and threaten government? We hope the security agencies are already inviting them for questioning in order to thwart their evil plans against the forthcoming elections and the government of Plateau State in general.
We also advise them to thread with caution, because no single individual or group can threaten government, which is the collective representation of the wishes and aspirations of the citizens. They can speak for themselves and their sponsors and stop rubbing the good people of Plateau State into their greed escapade.
- They then play the ethno-religious card: “We call on Plateau Elders, Church Leaders and all well-meaning citizens to call on government to retrace it’s steps in the light of issues addressed above, as it thus appear that only civil pressure and sustained agitations hold sway on this government, even when it deliberately insults the sensibilities of the average citizens who have not recovered from the recent unrest that has affected the citizens.”
Why would these groups ridicule themselves and play up an old but outdated sentiment of using the church, elders and so-called well-meaning citizens in their journey to perdition? Do they think that the church is a political party or a tool they can use in their bid to justify the money they have received from their sponsors?
For God’s sake, this is a political endeavor and not a religious or ethnic activity. In case they have been blinded by their lust for power and money, let us remind them that in all political parties, there are people from all religions, ethnic groups and interests. Infact the irreligious are also present and entitled to participate in the elections to vote and be voted for.
Elders of Plateau State are solidly behind Governor Simon Bako Lalong for his doggedness in ensuring that peace prevails in the state and for democracy and the rule of law to prevail in the state. The Local Government elections are being eagerly awaited as people go out to once again choose their leaders. We assure them that no amount of social pressure or sponsorship of protests will truncate the collective destiny of the people of Plateau State.
They tried such tricks during the Southern Senatorial bye-elections by using the NULGE and failed. Today, they have abandoned them and are using students and miscreants. They will still fail unfailingly.
- That the security agencies beam their search light on these groups (YOWICAN, WOWICAN & ETHNIC MATIONALITIES) and immediately invite them for questioning to anticipate, dislodge and deal with any threats against the forthcoming elections in the state, especially in Jos North, Bassa, Riyom, Jos South, Barkin Ladi which they have copiously mentioned in their so-called world Press conference.
Their agenda must end like the counsel of Ahitophel.
- Security should be tightened in all the 27 Local Government areas before, during and after the elections particularly in the areas mentioned above to deal with trouble makers and crises merchants.
- We call on PLASIEC not to be intimidated or harassed by these groups, their sponsors or the members of the PDP who have openly threatened to cause chaos, because of the court ruling that excludes them from the exercise. PLASIEC should perform their duties honestly, fairly and independently.
- Plateau citizens should ignore these rantings from people who have lost out in open contests and now want to come back through the back door to orchestrate violence and disrupt the elections. Democracy must prevail on the Plateau and the will of the people must stand.
Selfish politicians and their cohorts must be disgraced. People should freely choose candidates they like from the various political parties participating, including the leading party in the state the APC.
We appeal that all Think and Act Plateau for the greater good.
Comrade Iliya Mark, JP
Comrade Tina Dabak
RESCUE MONITORING TEAM
5th October 2021