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I’m not too young to govern Plateau – Pwajok

You joined the Senate in 2012 one year after the session commenced, how has it been for you?I must say that it was a significant…

You joined the Senate in 2012 one year after the session commenced, how has it been for you?
I must say that it was a significant transition for me, especially on the fact that I was part and parcel of the executive at the state level. So it gave me an opportunity to interact with senior ranking senators, those who have been there before me in the senate and it exposed me to the fact that legislative business is bulky, compared to executive responsibilities. To that extent, one is gradually settling down to the business of lawmaking.
You represent the troubled area of Plateau state, what are the stakeholders doing to ensure a lasting peace?
You see the unfortunate situation that we found ourselves is that you cannot isolate the Plateau experience from the national experience. I am one of those who have said that we have national security challenges, and Plateau is one of those states. I always have this opinion that Plateau gives you the picture of the sum total situation of what obtains in my constituency. And there are external and internal groups, that I have interacted with to minimise the burning effect that we have had to contend with. People will be shocked to hear that hitherto, Plateau talked about porous borders, none Nigerians in Jos and other parts. People think at that time it was mere propaganda. People thought that bomb explosions were only known in Jos, but Abuja has had its own. Now we have come to appreciate the fact that we are more or less forerunners in the breakdown of law and orders. More so, because of the unique location of Plateau state and Jos. We may have maintained that its geographical position is located on the flashpoint of religion, as far as Nigeria is concerned, where you have the Muslim population and the Christians population, where the divergence of Nigeria meets. And when there is any crisis, it is bound to create effect on the other states.
Are you saying Plateau was left to its fate?
In fairness, we misunderstood the experience on ground as far as Plateau is concerned. More so, the early pockets of conflicts were very obvious in Jos and parts of my senatorial district and like I said, being that it is a reflection of a miniature Nigeria, rather than a place that we could used to give us a forewarning on how to battle the security challenge, we were left to battle it out it. And people also have the tendency of misjudging the challenges and rather than help the state to deal with the problem, people were saying the state was part of the problem,  some of the recommendations had to do with the removal of the state’s executive governor, to declare a state of emergency, call for the dissolution of the state House of Assembly, in which case, weakening the state’s legislature, instead of supporting these arms of government. Some also had to call for the weakening of the judicial powers.  Now, the implication of that is when a state is facing challenges, what we need to do is to support the state in dealing with the challenges. But if you declare a state of emergency, it does not mean that you should remove the executive on ground. The civilian authority should be respected by those who should be moving to the direction of impunity in dealing with the problem in itself. Unfortunately, we have allowed such situation to dig deep. They are there in different state agencies where federal agencies feel that they don’t need their support, they don’t have any contribution to make in that order. That is why today you hear in some states people are talking about Civilian JTF. You know when you post soldiers from other parts of Nigeria to go and fight the insurgents; they probably don’t know the terrain. These are some of the challenges of security.
Do you support calls for state and community policing?
We have said this on several occasions that the state police will tackle grassroots crime. In this country, people have politicised the security management, where you find the issue has been regionalised. I want to challenge Northern Nigeria, given that the challenges are more in Northern Nigeria, yet the region has remained opposed to state policing. The crimes have become so big and you need community policing to take charge of such crimes. When you post a police officer, may be from southern part of Nigeria to the far northern part, he will start working behind the scene for him to be posted back to where he was. When people are posted to the areas of conflict, people say they want to run away from it. And people must start to face the challenges that are coming from the grassroots. It is better to recognise them constitutionally. Things that they would do would be guided by law, rather than to allow for ad hoc arrangement where you have vigilante groups, or Hisbah that may even outrun police on the ground.
You are young, is there any limitation on your part as far as seeking for higher political offices are concerned?
I am one of those who strongly believe that the age of Metusalah is not the same thing as the wisdom of Solomon. We have worthy examples of young personalities that have made this country proud. We have examples around the world also. It is not just about age. If you say it is experience, how do you acquire experience? You acquire experience by getting involved. I am one of those who challenge this notion that youths are leaders of tomorrow. I am those who believe that tomorrow begins today. The actions you take today determine a better tomorrow. So, youths to a large extent are also leaders of today because today matters in the definition of tomorrow. So I am one of those that are of the opinion that is not so much about age. I contested election against a much older personality yet the citizens voted for me as somebody who should represent them in the Senate.
But the argument has been that the weight will be too much for young people to carry…
The fact remains that all shoulders are meant to carry weights. God does not give you responsibility without giving you the capacity to handle such responsibility and to that extent when people talk about the weight, the weight might even too much for an older person because you need a lot of energy, creativity and inventiveness and a lot of ability to also reach out to youthful population who are considered left out.
How are the stakeholders in Plateau State handling the succession crisis ahead of 2015 elections?
I am also one of those who strongly believe that the true test of every administration depends on how it handles succession. To that extent the stakeholders have been very cautious  on the issues with a lot of discussions and consultations and I think the state will be able to have a successful succession. At the right time the successors will surely emerge.
In Plateau there is agitation for power shift to other zones, do you believe in power shift?
It is always the right time for such agitations. Every soul agitates. More so that there is no document which restricts any zone from agitating. Two major zones in the state have produced aspirants but the Northern Zone has not even produced a single aspirant. The implication of such is that nobody should take the Northern Zone for granted for not producing a candidate. If the two zones are already in contention it means the issue of who should go next has not been resolved.
The answer to this question is already found in the attitude of the two zones having produced many aspirants already.
Does that mean that the northern zone has conceded to the two zones?
It is actually cautiously watching.
Is Senator Pwajok going taking a shot at the governorship in 2015?
You won’t see me taking a shot, you will only see the people of whatever zone taking a shot.
Are people asking you to contest?
I won’t say yes. We are also observing cautiously and getting increasingly entangled in the entire debate and with time I am one of those who strongly believe that the future is as bright as the promises of God.
If your people decide that they want GNS Pwajok as governor how prepared are you?
The people themselves will take the shot and it is much more easier when the people themselves say they want you to do something than you saying you want to do.
Does Senator Pwajok have the capacity to be governor?
Why no?. The fact that I am a Senator of the Federal republic shows that there is no office that I cannot hold. That is the reality. Even the presidency of Nigeria.

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