In a week such as the last, there were several reasons to have many things to write on. Why would there not be, Nigeria always offers a lot of things to think and write about. I had decided on the topic to write before this as there were several flashes of topics that were on my mind.

Becoming a senior public officer in Nigeria can be frustrating; it takes all the energy and the lobbying that are required from the person and those who want the person for the position. But much more, the journey to frustration starts immediately the person is sworn in.

When one eventually becomes one, at the point to expect them to offer service to Nigeria often becomes problematic. The problem does not arise as a result of the fact that such an individual does not qualify to be appointed; most times the expectations of many who ‘believe were responsible’ for his or her appointment become a burden to carry during the tour of duty.

No one is asking questions when public officers don’t open their gates to people. No one wants to know why they don’t pick their calls. They think they are foaming and playing big. They don’t most times, speaking about some. While for others, the new office is an opportunity to drive away old friends and make new ones. Why don’t we ask questions if what is being said about them remain ‘officially’ as mere rumours which platter to insignificance?

I actually would have written on the expectations of Nigerians on the ministers, but come to think of it: Let me worry for now with the headache that is driving me crazy to comment on the newly inaugurated Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, but particularly what Governor Lalong told her on her inauguration day.

Listening to Governor Simon Bako Lalong tell Dame Pauline Tallen to be a woman of herself by not listening to gossips, as she begins her tour of duty last Wednesday; one would have expected those whose stock in trade is common to the admonition to think twice and retreat into surrender.

Some will, a number may not; however the warning has been sounded and in a situation such as this when the state has had enough of the acrimonious relationship between the minister representing the state and a serving governor, is it not time we knew that they have been exposed? It is hard to forget what happened when Governor Joshua Dariye held fort and Hon DamishiTongson Sango, while he served as Sports Minister. Before long, he was swept aside for Mark Aku.

We thought that was the end. But in the recent past when Solomon Dalung was made minister, we expected the state to benefit in the partnership that should have come, sadly however, there was no love lost between him and the governor. The state didn’t fare better as the merchants of division feasted heavily on this without let.

Our politicians, if we must move ahead will do well to shun the politics of division, intrigues, gossips and bitterness; even as we know we have only harvested polarization and instability for the state and its people in the past. We all know that we cannot continue in this fashion, if what we have heard must serve as a pointer to the new course we have to chart.

We cannot deny the fact that the division was glaring but the governor had made up his mind not to be distracted by the experience of the past. To raise the bar against such a development, it was easier for the governor to be closer to the Presidency; more perhaps for his political survival and for the good of the state. Whatever anyone may say of his closeness to the presidency, the governor had a reason to also ward off the plans to scuttle his gubernatorial tour of duty.

Therefore, to have issued the admonition to the newly sworn Minister for Women Affairs, not to listen to gossips from people that had no good intentions for Plateau State is anything but to tell the world that the state has had enough and we can do much more to ward off such distractions for the interest of the state.

Speaking at a post-inauguration dinner organised to honour Dame Pauline Tallen, who was inaugurated as Minister of Women Affairs Wednesday by President Muhammadu Buhari, he did not hide his ‘anger’ at the destructive tendencies that have held our development. What ordinarily should have been a thing of joy and for development of the state may have been used against the people and the offices of the governor and that of the minister.

The governor was quoted as saying matter of fact, to the new minister: “You should not listen to gossip from people who don’t mean well for Plateau. There are people who would sow seeds of discord between me and the minister for their selfish gains. Don’t listen to them.” Leadership 101: Don’t listen to gossips!

It is interesting to note, but if it is a political statement that Lalong promised to work with Tallen and members of the National Assembly from the state for the progress of Plateau; he knows that is the wish of the people and indeed one that will benefit the state in more measures than one. He knows we are interested in having a Plateau that measures in development as some of its peers in the system; because the leaders are united for what has become popularly referred to as the Plateau Project.

We all know that Plateau would be better for it if they worked together. We all know that a number of the merchants who would have wished for them to be at loggerheads against being united as a team are not happy with that Abuja declaration.  They know that we know that no governor or minister worth his or her salt would deliberately work against the development of the state because of certain political disagreements that border of power. Leadership 102: Work as a team!

Looking at the new minister intensely, and without mincing words said: ‘Today, you are a minister; Idris Maje is the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, several others are members of the National Assembly and I am the governor, let’s respect everybody’s position; let’s work together and Plateau will be better for it.You need the governor as a minister to succeed and the governor needs you as minister to succeed’.

It is right the governor has his constituency as well as the minister or the federal legislators. They must work in concert to bring development to the state. In his words: ‘If I need to do something in Abuja, I will just call you and it will be done.You must work with the governor in order to succeed as a minister and the governor must work with you to attract federal patronage for the overall benefit of the state. I am very happy that I have you here at the federal level as you will further pursue our interests’.

They all need each other for the state’s development. They also need us to re-calibrate the potentials of the state. If as they all agreed that the event was another opportunity for the political class in the Plateau to not only celebrate Tallen, but to reflect on the progress of the state, we need to be assured that the time has come to be more united in substance than speech.If like top sons and daughters stated that Dame Pauline Tallen’s choice as a minister by President Buhari is God’s will; this must be respected and supported. Leadership 103: Support from Others!

Rightly so, the time has come for the rumour mongers to be told in the language they understand better. In year 2015, the governor was frank: I was virtually alone with just a few members in the House of Representatives, but today I have the Deputy Speaker in the House of Representatives, three Senators who are wall willing to work with me for the good of our state’. We are at the point we all desire: To be united for the Plateau people. He needs more people to work with and collaborate for the greater progress of Plateau State.

They both know that often, rumour mongers succeed because they are given space to practice their craft, he warns; and truly so: Don’t come to my house to talk about 2023. In 2013, many of us did not know we are going to be where we are today. If God wants you to be something in 2023, he will give it to you, you don’t need to pitch people against each other and bring down others. You don’t need to struggle’. Rumour mongers and mischief makers can only engage in the craft to mislead those in office for their selfish ends.

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Idris Wase was emphatic about the allegations that flew around on her ministerial candidacy where it was insinuated that he was against her nomination. The needless gossips and falsehood by few selfish people should not be left to stand in our way. Course 104: Shun selfish people!

Dame Pauline Tallen like Lalong and Maje are aware of the attempt by some persons to engineer crisis so as to benefit from it, but will never give in to them because her interest is to serve the people of Plateau State and Nigeria and carry out the task that President Muhammadu Buhari has given her.

It has been stated Joseph Lengman: Our strength as a people could only be derived from our sense of unity and diversity.

‘Mama Tallen’s ministerial appointment, thrusts open yet another new window of opportunity to redefine, recalibrate and project the Plateau interest at the state and national levels respectively.

‘Her wealth of experience, exceptional interpersonal skills and sophisticated political network across the country must be brought to bear to help the governor actualize the Plateau dream.

‘It will certainly amount to a tragedy if this turns out to be another missed opportunity.

‘The long awaited social and economic transformation of our state has never been this urgent. As such, the task ahead of the governor and the minister is such that it requires a tag team’. Let’s wish our.

Categories: Column

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