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Why crisis persists in Plateau

By SANUSI MUHAMMAD

Prior to the arrival of Christian missionaries in Plateau State, most part of the area was ruled by pagans and animists just like most parts of the northern states. These missionaries exhibited high sense of maturity, love, peaceful coexistence and the rule of law. Our then leaders including religious preachers were more sincere, honest and straight forward in their dealings.

As the missionaries arrived with their commendable system of preaching the gospel against animism and paganism, most of the hitherto pagan enclaves were easily converted and introduced to western system of education, food and clothing.

Unknown to the foreign missionaries, instead of the new converts to embrace the new religion with total commitment and submission to the dictates of the religion and what the Holy Books preach, they converted to the religion for what the missionaries could offer in terms of material things which include second hand clothing, food and western education.

Majority of them remained internally committed to idol worshiping and the maintenance of their shrines that were hidden inside the jungles far away from the eyes of the unsuspecting missionaries.

Today, the innocent are targets of attack from those hypocrites hiding under the cover of ethnicity and religion in a state developed by others. One of such beneficiaries of the missionaries largesse, the Gindiri was a Christian preacher whose extreme-passion for ethno-religious fanaticism held sway for decades in Plateau State with Jos as his base.

Those of us that knew him in his style of extremism in religious sermons can easily recall how he manipulated the Christian Religion to indoctrinate poisonous ideals in the hearts of his ignorant followers relating to matters that concern the Hausa/Fulanis and Islam. Paul came to limelight in the second republic. As a religious zealot who was moved by a deep sense of ethnicism, his open air preaching in Jos and other areas were carried out in the most provocative manner that could easily penetrate any sane mind and rendering it with the strongest desire to let war prevail. His usual battle ground was the old Bukuru motor park located in the heart of Jos.

At his battle ground, he constitutionally or unconstitutionally abused the provision of the freedom of expression to launch and unleash various attacks on the overall feelings of the Hausa/Fulanis and their faith (Islam). Paul Gindiri spent the better part of his life agitating for the eventual collapse of peace in the guise of religion unmolested or even challenged by the authorities.

Fortunately for the peace-loving people of Plateau State, Gindiri departed this world with the greatest disappointment that he would not bear a living witness to the genocide attempt on the Hausa which he laboured to initiate. But then, why did Gindiri labour so hard to deal ruthlessly with the Hausa and Islam? Why did he execute his evil design with the strongest vigour unprecedented in the history of Plateau State?

Gindiri serves as a typical representation of a people, group, race whose high degree of enthnicism produces a deadly cancer in social behaviour. It is a common phenomenon that majority of the people of Plateau State have been psychologically troubled by the agents of tribal antagonism. This is clearly manifested in the shaping and treatment of their psychology that the Hausa-man and Islam are undesirable elements in the socio-economic set-up of Jos.

The greater part of their life is spent on how to eliminate the Hausa-man and the religion of Islam from Jos and indeed in Plateau State and perhaps declare paganism not Christianity as their state religion against the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They really mean business. It is their onerous mission. One will be flabbergasted as to this bohemian mentality. There are two factors that seem to inject venom in the minds of the Plateauneans vis-a-vis their antagonistic view on the Hausa. One is political and the other has to do with economic prosperity.

From the political perspective, the sad story began when General Murtala Ramat Mohammed was cold-bloodedly murdered in a foiled coup attempt which was spearheaded by Colonel Bukar Suka Dimka of Ngas extraction from lower Plateau. According to historical facts, it was a coup that was largely dominated by military officers from Plateau State The military trial and ceremonial execution of Dimka, Iliya Bisallah, Temlong, Umar and the other coupists at the famous Lagos bar beach did not go down well with some people. This political connection was dangerously greeted with a proportional degree of tribal bigotry.

At different explosive sermons, there were religious campaigns to the effect that for the sake of only Murtala, tens of Plateauneans were executed. Their biased contention then was that Murtala was a representative of the Hausa. Like bush fire ravaging the hearts of the Plateauneans in linking this political factor, it reached the highest boiling point in the process of the collapse of peace hitherto associated with Jos.

They let it out of control in such a way that the only alternatives before them are one, genocide and complete destruction of property. There are Igbo and Yoruba who are also economically strong but are usually spared the horrors by the natives. Igbo are spared on religious ground and the Yorubas are considered too submissive. The complete razing down of Kasuwar Katako, the setting ablaze of fleet of exotic cars belonging to Hausa/Fulani dealers among others go a long way in the execution of barbarism, brutality on a people who strongly believe in peaceful coexistence and even development. The Hausa/Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba are the real developers of Jos.

For the past 34 years, Plateau State has been a failed project that brought misery and uncertainty to its people. When compared to younger states like Gombe, Taraba, Kebbi, Katsina, Osun, Abia, Zamfara which have excelled in different aspects of human life, it is greatly disheartening that the ghost of ethnicity has prospered in Plateau State more than any other state in Nigeria.

From my personal experience as well as available facts at my disposal, Plateau state is a total disappointment and disgrace to Nigeria and human civilization because it is horribly bedeviled with dangerous creatures that have since forsaken the path of development to champion the ugly game of tribal fanaticism.

While other younger states are fixing infrastructure for the good of their people irrespective of tribe or religion, Plateau State is currently searching for peace. The existence of a general feeling of insecurity, hatred, distress, uncertainty among the people of Jos in particular is the order of the day in the present Plateau State. Nigerians and nationals of other nations are no more guaranteed of their safety in Jos. As a way of saving innocent lives, the federal government should as a matter of urgent importance, relocate all federal establishments out of Plateau State to a safer environment. Poverty, maladministration, corruption, cannibalism, paganism and lost of hope are some of the major causes of the troubles in Plateau State.

The state was lucky to have patriots the likes of Fidelis Na'anmiap Tapgun, Thomas Niagwam, Nicholas Selben Musa, Ambassador S.A.Yero, Abdullahi Nimlan, Damishi Tonson Sango, Micheal Danbaki, Vonjen Gambo Sanda, Dr. Hassan Aminu, Hajia Fati Kyari, Lohsel Shagayya, Jibrin Sam Pilgani, Davou DB Zang, Arch. Guyit, Micheal Hirse, Joseph Jiblik, John Jatau Kadiya, Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu, Bagudu Mutle Hirse, John Manklik, Leonard Keyen etc but envy cannot allow any development.

Muhammad contributed this piece from No.1/A Wuntin Dada New Extention, Bauchi.