We Won’t Witch-Hunt Anybody In Plateau – Tyoden | Independent Newspapers Limited
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We Won’t Witch-Hunt Anybody In Plateau – Tyoden

Posted: Jun 26, 2015 at 1:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Plateau State Deputy Governor, Professor Sonnie Tyoden, a political scientist, was Vice Chancellor of the University of Jos. In this interview with journalists, including ONOJA AUDU, talks about the rescue mission of the Lalong/Tyoden administration and its resolve to run an all-inclusive government. He also speaks on other issues. Excerpts…

You served as the Collation Officer for the governorship election in Plateau State in 2011, and in 2015 you became the Deputy Governor, how do you react to this turn-around of events in your life? 

Professor Sonnie Tyoden

Professor Sonnie Tyoden

Sometimes things happen in a manner that one cannot explain, and I think that it is one of those things. When I was Collation Officer in 2011, in my wildest imagination, I never anticipated, expected, or planned for this. What happened, I believe God has done it in his own way, like God said in the Bible, His ways are not our ways. And I believe this is just the handwork of God.


As you and the governor sets for the task of governance on the plateau, what do you think your people expect from the Lalong/Tyoden administration in the next four years?

What they should expect is what we have promised them. We are out to rescue Plateau. If you look at the way things have been done in the state in the last dispensation, the state has been on the decline, economically, politically, educationally – virtually in every aspect, and it is our responsibility to uplift Plateau State and put it back on the pedestal of glory so that every Plateau person would be proud once again that he’s a Plateau person. If you notice, there has  been a lot of internal division amongst us in the state before now , internal disharmony, and one of our major responsibilities, right from the word go, was to bring Plateau people together in unison and in unity so that we’ll start operating like brothers and sisters. The period of politicking is over and we plan to see that everybody join us, everybody becomes a stakeholder, so that we can build the Plateau of our dream.


With the issue of non-payment of workers’ salaries, pensioners, debts running into over N104 billion inherited from the immediate past administration in your state, how does the Lalong/Tyoden administration intends to fulfill campaign promises made to the people of the state?

Let me be spiritual about this. Like I said earlier, there was the hand of God in this journey, and I believe the Lord that makes it possible to open doors will provide the resources. But having said that, it is quite true that the resources are not there, the demands are high, the expectations are high, but we’re going to do it because we have to see that the means and aspiration of Plateau people are addressed. We are going to cut our coat according to our size. We are going to look at what is available and tailor our activities to suit the resources on the ground. And it is in this respect that I want to appeal to Plateau people for patience and understanding. We know the resources are limited; of course, the expectations would be a bit more realistic. And one thing we intend to do is to put the cards on the table. We are going to tell the Plateau people this is exactly what the situation is, so that expectations would not be beyond what is expected. We also hope that the federal government will appreciate the plight we are in, to come to our rescue in one way or another.


Agitated Plateau people who were not satisfied with the way the affairs of the state were managed in the last dispensation have been calling  for the probe of the former governor, Jonah David Jang.  What is your reaction to these calls for probe?

No. I don’t think we’re going to probe anybody. We are not going to look back. We are going to look forward, but of course in areas where there are glaring misdemeanors and glaring injustices, we are out to make a difference. The people of Plateau have voted for change and they’ll definitely see change, it won’t be business as usual. But, like I said, we’re not going all out to be vindictive, we are not on a vendetta, we are out to build Plateau, but where things need to be corrected, it’ll be corrected, so that one day we’ll truly see the real meaning of the ‘change’ that we have been yearning for.


As an Academic turned politician, how would you blend the two, now that you have become Deputy Governor?

You’ve forgotten that I’m a political scientist; theoretically, I’ve been in politics, but now I’m into practical politics, it is now possible to put into practice what I’ve learnt over the years.


Now that change has come to Plateau, in what form would the change manifest in the first 100 days in office of Lalong/Tyoden administration?  

I won’t tell you what we intend to do in the first 100 days in office, but definitely we are going to hit the ground running. We had our package ready and we are going to do the best we can in order to address some of the immediate problems facing the state; for instance, the issue of back-log of salaries, non-payment of pensioners and other things. We are going to do our best by the special grace of God to solve these problems, because it is not something to rush. Now that the journey just began, we’ll surely try our best.


What policy does your government intend to operate on the Plateau?

Policy of inclusiveness. We are going to run a government that is based on inclusiveness, fairness and justice. We are not going to run a government that is based on excluding of people or exception of any community. Like I said earlier, this is a Plateau State government, we are out to rescue Plateau and rescuing Plateau is not a job for Lalong and Tyoden alone, but a collective effort, and a job for all Plateau people. So, we are inviting all Plateau people, even those who didn’t vote for us, to join hands with us and let’s build the Plateau that we’ll all be proud of.


What is your message to the people as the Lalong/Tyoden administration hits the ground running?

To Plateau people, let’s put politics behind us, let us join hands together, and move together as one family. We’re soliciting their prayers for the success of our administration on the plateau.