Professor (Asso.) Elias Nankap Lamle
Centre for Conflict Management and Peace Studies
University of Jos
In the tapestry of human affairs, the Plateau People have woven a narrative that transcends the political cacophony. As the philosopher Albert Camus once opined, ‘In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.’ The Plateau People, through their unity, have uncovered an invincible spirit within, dispelling the divisive forces of feudal manipulation. Their collective voice echoes a timeless truth: unity prevails when the people rise above the stratagems of power.
In a notable political phenomenon, feudal forces from the northern Nigerian oligarchy have astutely recognized their inability to overcome the Plateau People through conventional elections. Consequently, they have resorted to dubious methods, engaging a handful of disgruntled elements within Plateau state. This stratagem involves manipulating the electoral process through fraudulent court procedures, primarily accusing the widely accepted political party, the PDP, to force electoral victories.
This surreptitious orchestration extends to the removal of duly elected Chairmen of Local Government councils, Senators, and members of the House of Representatives and Assemblies. The electoral bodies, succumbing to these theatrics, conducted a rerun-election for the Plateau North electoral constituency, while curiously allowing the results of the Plateau South elections to stand, despite similar allegations.
One pervasive narrative contends that the PDP lacks organizational structures. However, following a court-ordered rerun, even the appeal court judgment urged all parties to participate in the election. This appeal subtly influenced the election bodies to refrain from overtly barring the PDP from participating, thereby allowing them to continue campaigning under its banner. However, a mere two days before the polls, the election body released voter papers that excluded the PDP, compelling the party to shift allegiance and endorse relatively unknown candidates from the ADP and the Labour Party.
Surprisingly, these seemingly unpopular candidates received the endorsement of Governor Barrister Caleb Mutfwang and Political Mogul Jonah Jang, indicating a strategic shift in their prospects for victory. The subsequent rerun elections in Plateau State unequivocally demonstrated that the will of the people transcends allegiance to a specific political party. It served as a resounding message to feudal elements attempting to exploit religious divisions within the Plateau People.
The election witnessed a collective, non-denominational turnout, with both Muslims and Christians voting for supposedly unpopular candidates. This resolute action conveyed a clear message to feudalists – Plateau People vehemently rejected attempts to divide them along religious lines. The election underscored a unity of purpose among the people, who voiced their commitment to love and remain united, irrespective of religious affiliations. In essence, the Plateau People’s resounding assertion signals a call for the feudal forces from northern Nigeria to desist from interfering in Plateau State and the Middle Belt. The heightened awareness among the populace fosters a renewed sense of unity in Plateau State, emphasizing that attempts to exploit religious differences will no longer succeed.