Jok Alamba was a Former Chairman of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau state and a key Leader in the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview, he expressed confidence in the Governor Simon Lalong / President Muhammadu Buhari administrations as they clock one year in office. Raymond GUKAS sent excerpts:
What are your assessments as regards to the removal of fuel subsidy by President Muhammadu Buhari?
Knowing the position of the President, I believed he did it with a good intention for this country, I have no doubt that after a wide consultation with the necessary stakeholders, he came out with a vision which I believed is for the best interest of this country, in view of the situation this country has found itself, a situation where only a few are benefitting greatly from the share of subsidy and they are also using the subsidy as a conduit pipe for their personal aggrandisement and benefit, it has not augur well for this nation at all. Every Kobo that is been generated by the Federal Government, every kobo has been generated as a source of revenue for this nation must to be put into proper use, if this country is to survive and to progress. It is as result of missing kobo here and there, that this country has found itself in this very strangulated position. Therefore, I seriously buy the idea of the increase in the fuel price, especially as it is being backup by palliative measures, and also with the belief that the words of Mr. President are very sincere, that over 2000 jobs are likely to be created from the increase in the fuel pump price.
Critics of this increase in fuel price are the same people who are advocating for the establishment of local industries and local refinery, but I asked, how do we effectively come up with local refineries and managed them without the necessary capital? If a money is being misused and stolen as a result of fuel subsidy. We need to truly get ourselves organise as a nation, especially by a way of shying away from the hydra headed monster that has strangulated us, that is corruption.
If today as a nation we get well organised by paying 145 naira per litre, I think we are better off than been completely unorganised and paying 85 or 86 naira per litre. It is only when we are organised as a nation that we are truly been able to uplift the natition to the attraction of the rest of the world.
Nigerians witnessed a change of Government from the PDP to the APC. What is your assessment of this administration as it clocks one year in office?
I have studied, observed and assessed the administration of President Buhari and discovered that he has a very good intention for the development of this country. Looking at his tract records, he has consistently behaved in such a manner at any point in time that he found himself as a leader; as somebody who wishes this country well by doing his best, putting his best without necessary behaving like those who appears to be highly opportunistic any time they found themselves in the highest office. Mr. President has always restrained himself from corruption and I knew him very well from his reaction and remarks and actions that he has a very goodwill for this Nation. For the very first year he spends in office, you found out that, the process of pursuing corruption in this country is serious, he has been able to inject a lot of change in a mind-set of all facets of governance, he has shown the world that he is serious, he is very serious in pursuing the laid down manifesto of APC. If it is true that we believe that corruption has been one of the monster that has held us back for years, then we know by the action of this administration; the results that we are seeing so far and yet to see in this country. This administration has done well in that direction of fighting corruption.
In what area do you think Mr. President should put more efforts?
Mr. President has a programme for youth empowerment and a plan for elaborate construction of roads, I think he should put more efforts in that direction. In the area of peace, we have seen the efforts Mr. President has put and the progress he has achieved most especially in the Northeast, that is a sign that yes! this administration within one year has really put up his best that he came up with good results for ensuring that peace is realised, which is a necessary tool for the development of this nation.
With the rising in price of foodstuff. What is your take on that?
Well even with the increase in fuel price, we believe that it is because of the dwindling economy worldwide; inflation has been a threat not only to Nigerian, but most of the countries in the world. So the best way of pursuing the inflation as of now is to come out with a necessary programme like the palliative measures that has been provided by the Mr. President.I belief sincerely that if more money is injected into the economy by way of caution and systematic planning, honestly speaking we will realise the situation where the common man does not suffer too much because of this inflation.
What is your take on the availability of Fertilizer?
Every time you have inflation going up, you asked yourself why? Most of the reasons of price increase have to do with the scarcity of commodity. now if the Federal Government is really out to boost the economy by way of increasing productivity of farm produce and inputs including fertilizer, obviously speaking, you will find out that at the end of the day with the availability of this product, the price of fertilizer is bound to go down and consequently the farmers will be able to improve their productivity by way of easy access to such inputs like fertilizer. we must also understand that to encourage local productivity we must discourage importation of some of these inputs particularly. We have to be systematic, we can just go ahead and just push at once for this change, we must start somewhere. So it is as a result of careful concentration of local productivity of fertilizer and other inputs that this scarcity is now coming to bear.The Federal Government is more been encourage or encouraging itself not to open up to the importation of fertilizer, rather it is saying that let us look for a way to ensure that we produce fertilizer locally and in sufficient quantity to reach our farm.
All the pains we are experiencing right now are the pains we normally experience when we are rebuilding from a completely destroyed foundation. Unless a solid foundation is put in place, the building cannot definitely stand. Therefore, we must pass through some pains before we finally ripe the benefit. So, we must have to bear to some extent, but I believe all this will not be for too long.
What is your assessment of Governor Lalong, on managing of the bailout funds?
Considering the backlog of salaries arrears that was inherited by the Lalong administration, honestly speaking, considering the huge amounts involved, you would want to seriously appreciate the efforts of especially Mr. President for coming out with bail out to assist states that were already strangulated, the states almost heard no idea or way out as to cope with the payment of backlog of salaries first, talk less of coping with subsequent payment of salaries.The bailout was supposed to be in two fold; in two instalments, the first instalments has been released across board, the second instalment has not been given across board. The bailout has really assisted some state to come up-to-date in the payment of salaries, some of the state that has higher backlog of salaries couldnâ€™t really come out up-to-date in the payment of salaries, even with the first bailout. So they are waiting to see if they will get the second bailout so as to help them pay completely off the bailout and come up-to-date with the payment of the salaries.
Gov. Lalong led government in terms of salary payment that is one of the very first areas that we need to say kudus to Governor Lalong
What is your called to the Plateau people?
For my dear state Plateau we must not allow the pains, the hardship been experience as a results of the change process to confuse us and make us lose hope, we must see hope at the end of the tunnel, we must remain resilient and focus and supportive. to our governor and the administration of APC, not minding all form of criticism because of the fact that with time the sweet benefit of change will be experience in Plateau state and Nigeria as whole. Nigerians, we should be very tolerant to the experience we are passing through Mr. President mean well; we should rather encourage him, knowing that even if Angels came down as a leader of Nigeria today he will have to struggle against all the challenges. I wish the Plateau people and the Nigerians to be tolerant and support him so that at end of the day the change benefit will start flowing to the appreciation of every citizen of Nigeria and even our future youths and leaders who will now have a solid foundation for moving a better Nigerian forward.
We Are Building Bridges For Peaceful Coexistence – Jos North Council Sec.
Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau state is one metropolitan council that is known for violent notoriety. Enmeshed in so many skirmishes bothering on ethnic or religious confrontations, it still remain the only council area that has defied all arrangements for a local government election in close to a decade now. The present administration however, made a move to bridged the persistent misunderstanding between the Hausa Muslim and the natives by appointing Shehu Usman as Secretary of Jos North local government. In this interview with Raymond GUKAS, the new Secretary, bared his mind on the experienced of insecurity and the return of Peace in the council sixteen years after. Except;
What effort did your administration made towards the restoration of permanent peace in Jos North LGA after several years of political and economic crisis that rock the council?
I take you back a little,this is the total restoration of peace which is the hand work of Governor Simon Bako Lalong to ensure that all the tribes living in Plateau state enjoy what is called love and freedom of worship. The Lalong administration gave recognition to all the major tribes who are residents in