Plateau: Berom nation In search of new political Identity

Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State.

AT the 2017 Berom Political Summit, stakeholders reflected on their successes and failures during the 2015 general elections, regretting that they lost out at the gubernatorial election in the state.

The Gbong Gwom Jos and the chairman, Plateau State Traditional Council of Chiefs, Da Jacob Gyang Buba, charged that politics of responsibility is also politics of accountability, adding that to be able to fine-tune politics as it concerns the Berom, there must be a road map to ask where they would like to be in the next decade.

The Gbong Gwom Jos lamented that the Berom have lukewarm attitude towards voter registration. He wants them to come out and register, adding that BECO, Berom Youth Movement (BYM) and other similar organisations should not be politicized because they are not founded on politics. He said that whoever will find a roadmap for the Berom will be appreciated.

A discussant at the event, Kachollom Best, said what is happening today in Berom land is very sad as political differences is tearing the people apart, as they have no tolerance for one another. She said the Berom people themselves are the problems the Berom nation has. “People with good ideas are not given the opportunity to talk because they don’t have money. Money is being worshipped. The future of Berom and that of the next generation is in the hands of the Berom themselves.”

Another discussant, Vera Oscar Pam, blame government policies, which she said are not inclusive, as they do not take the minority tribes into consideration. According to her, any elected representative who is not performing his statutory role should be recalled immediately.

Pam contended that a body should be constituted for all aspirants to tell the people what they are going to do if elected. She lamented that the Berom has almost one quarter of Plateau population, “but we are in the minority, always pushed aside.”

Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the governor, Mr. Dan Manjang, a Berom, regretted that he is one of the people that have been misunderstood, adding that time has come for the Berom to speak the truth. Most people expected to be present at the event, according to him were unfortunately not present.

Manjang said, “We form a large chunk of the population, but today, we have been pushed to the minority position because of disunity, because of intolerance among us. I don’t have business being in politics because the boundary is porous. The electorate is not helping maters at all. They are not united. There is nothing we want that we cannot get if we are united. With the present development, through negotiation we can get it. It is sad that we are in the minority today.

“Governance will not stop. We must believe in the unity of a Berom nation. We should respect our elders, leaders, traditional rulers and so on. We have political leadership which the electorate can hold accountable.”

Chairman of the Planning Committee of the forum, Prof. Pam Dung Sha was very concerned over what happened after the 2015 general elections and the level of political intolerance, stressing that it was intolerance turned the political table during the last general elections.

Noting that the Berom nation is today under siege, Sha contended that the gathering was informed based on the desire to build political structures and development in the land, while much should be done to remove the Berom ethnic nationality from the shackles of political slavery.

He agreed that some politicians are not representing their constituencies very well, urging the gathering to speak the truth, while at the same avoiding bitterness in their comments, as they did not come to the summit to campaign.

“This is not the occasion. At the end of the summit, we want to see political tolerance among the Berom people. We want to see positive change in our behaviours. We will not ask politicians to sign an undertaking that they will not embark on bitterness or violence. But we have BECO officials who will monitor the activities of the politicians so that they do not go out of their ways.”

The guest speaker and Resident Electoral Commissioner for Niger State, the famous political scientist from the University of Jos, Prof. Samuel Egwu, whose paper was on “Politics and Promotion of Tolerance and Development: Challenges and the Way Forward,” said that he did not agree with the view that democratic politics triggers violence and therefore people should do away with democracy, adding that that opinion is misguided.

Speaking also on marginalization of minority groups in Nigeria, he attributed it to colonial recklessness, which handed over the rein of power to people they thought were superior to other nationalities, regretting that those who benefited from that impunity are now resistant to reverse the lopsided arrangement. He pointed out that he is aware that there has been a sharp divide between the majority tribes and minority tribes.

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