Friday, 17 December 2021

Jang: The Two Faced Janus On The Plateau ...By Yakubu Dati


 

In ancient Roman mythology, Janus is depicted as having two faces. In contemporary times, one man fits the bill. 


The building of the 10 Commandment Prayer Altar by former governor of Plateau State, Da Jonah Jang is an attempt to use religion to pull the wool over the people's eyes in order to cover up for the failings of his administration. 


It is also a decoy to take the minds of the people off the current attempt by the Governor Simon Lalong led administration to recover monies allegedly stolen during the tenure of Jang and for which the latter is standing trial. 


The case which has been on for some time now aims at recovering a whopping N6.3 billion from the former governor and many witnesses have appeared to testify and give evidence that will facilitate justice and hopefully, repatriation of stolen funds. 


But as the people are astonished with these testimonies, Jang tries to play on their emotions by playing the religious card. 


The offer of a place of prayer is particularly interesting because the people of Plateau have never lacked a place to pray. Plateau State is headquarters to many religious organisations with ample number of sites to pray in. 


It is therefore surprising that someone will try to make an issue out of building a business enterprise with a small cubicle for prayer. What however is not surprising, is that Jang would again be playing the religious card as that has been his stock in trade- to use religion to deceive the people. 


When he was governor, he relied on this gimmick to deceive the people and now, instead of making restitution, he is at it again. 


The most unfortunate aspect is inviting unsuspecting leaders like former president Goodluck Jonathan to grace the occasion. Not a single Governor showed up. Even his former colleagues avoided the event like a plague. 


This was purely to give credibility to the event which he knew will not go down well with the average citizen on the Plateau familiar with his antics. 


As a self acclaimed pastor, Jang knows very well that there are certain standards expected of a man who wishes to please God by building a place of worship and that he hardly fits in the description. 


Between 2008 and 2013, when he was in charge, Plateau State witnessed one of the worst spate of bloodshed in its history with many lives and property worth billions of naira destroyed. 


The situation was so bad that human right groups had to issue countless cautions to the then government which saw itself as a party in the conflict and was adding fuel to the crisis by its words and actions rather than calming nerves. 


Jang has also not cleared himself of the charges over the N6.3 billion allegedly misappropriated yet so he lacks the moral standing to offer a spiritual lift. Offering a house of prayer at this time is the height of hypocrisy. 


The question the people of Plateau have been asking about the facility is where did the former governor get the money to build it? 


Can the former governor claim that the resources for the project were sourced from his legitimate income? If not, does he think by claiming that he is dedicating it to God that he will succeed in covering the eyes of the people with regards to how the funds were sourced? 


Is it actually a prayer house or an extension of his business empire with an eye to further milk the people by charging for use of the facility? If that is the case then what Jang built is a house of idolatory not a prayer house. 


The people of Plateau know better and cannot be fooled by the schemes of the former governor. 


They deserve a better place to worship, where they can do so with a free and they would not have to look over their shoulders to see whether officials of the EFCC are hanging around to confiscate or seal the property while they're praying. 


Part of the monies allegedly diverted by the former governor include the N2 billion meant for the setting up of small and medium scale businesses on the Plateau. 


While he had done nothing to improve the economy of the state but had rather  impoverished the people through his harsh policies and lack of economic plan,  it is difficult to reconcile how he can now offer a spiritual lift as a panacea. 


It was during his tenure, that thousands of small scale businesses and federal agencies closed down their premises on the plateau while he made no attempt to rebuild or bring them back. 


The Simon Lalong administration has done much to correct these anomalies with sound economic programmes and people oriented policies. 


Govenor Lalong has also enhanced commerce and religious activities in the state by improving on the security architecture of the state. 


These are the hallmarks of exemplary leadership and not merely playing on people's emotions.



Mr Dati A Public Affairs Analyst Wrote In From Jos


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