Gov. Akala Leads Delegates to Jos
Sat. 14-15 Dec 2008
At about 4:30pm pm on Saturday 13 th of December, 2008, Governor Christopher Alao Akala led a high-powered delegation to the City of Jos to commiserate with the Government and the people of Plateau State over the recent religious violence in Jos city. Among the Governor's entourage were Dr Saka A. Balogun, the Chief of Staff, Alh Kola Oyebamiji, Hon Commissioner for Establishments, Training, Poverty Alleviation, Dr Kola Balogun, Hon Commissioner for Commerce & Cooperatives & other Principal Officers. This visit was one of the most significant events on the Plateau since the recent mayhem in Jos city for the significant record of the Oyo State Governor Akala, being the first Governor to visit physically since the unfortunate incidence. Another significant landmark in this visit was the presence of the King of Ogbomoso, His Royal Majesty, Oba Oyewumi, Ajagungbade III, Soun of Ogbomoso. The Ogbomoso are the first and the largest Yoruba group on the Plateau and they were the worst victims of the carnage. Since the unfortunate incidence, the entire city of Ogbomoso and Oyo State as a whole has been mourning because the visiting Governor also hails from Ogbomoso there is no family in Ogbomoso that is not represented on the Plateau. To the Ogbomosos, Jos is a second home. Even the King only left Jos in 1973 as a very successful businessman to assume the throne of his ancestors. He owns the famous Terminus Hotel property which is a special landmark in the centre of Jos.
At the Government House in Rayfield, Governor Akala, in his speech reiterated that that he had told the Yorubas to continue to be law abiding while we see what to do to help the people in their predicament. He also told his Chief Host, Gov Jonah David Jang that since this violence is now becoming too frequent in Jos; it is good to put a permanent stop to it this time. He regretted in his speech that Jos used to be a very peaceful and beautiful city in Nigeria and he therefore advised Governor Jang to try and restore that same glory.
Governor Jang, in response, expressed his appreciation, adding that Governor Akala was the second Governor, after Governor of Anambra State, who phoned him as soon as the violence began. And also noted that Governor Akala is the first Governor to visit physically. Governor Jang admitted that the mayhem was quite unfortunate. He recalled that in 2001 when it first happened, a Reconciliation Committee was set up but no one was punished. But this time, he assured that President YarAdua is in agreement with him to look into this matter and no one involved shall be spared.
Governor Jang further revealed that on that fateful day, someone called him at about 1am in the night that some hoodlums had started burning places. But the major problem he had was that the Army said they had to get orders from Abuja before they could respond to the violence. Furthermore, the GOC was not in town and even the Battalion had been deployed to the South-South, with the assumption that peace had returned to the Plateau. He also confirmed that the election was ended peacefully but even before the result was announced, they had started killing and burning places. The Governor said we could call the incidence “multi-dimensional.” He also quarried if it could be called an inter-party crisis because 15 houses of Hausa-Fulani who are PDP members were torched. But in all, the surprising revelation was the arrest made of foreigners who were actively involved in the carnage- 40 Chadians and another 17 from Niger Republic, camouflaged in our military and the Police uniforms and also found with very sophisticated weapons.
However Governor Jang appreciated the Yoruba community for their calmness and understanding. He also assured that permanent peace would come back to the Plateau and we can continue to live as brothers and sisters like before. He pleaded that there shouldn't be a reprisal because of our future generation. He encouraged the people to emulate Ghana for their peaceful election and much more, South African election where there was no single Policeman in the street during the election exercise.
He concluded by asking the people of Plateau to make our nation attractive for foreigners to come and invest.