The University of Jos on Wednesday held a town hall meeting for all the governorship candidates in Plateau State.
All the six governorship candidates in the state contesting the election on the platform of various political parties attended the town meeting which was held at the University’s Faculty of Social Sciences Auditorium, Naraguta Campus.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Tanko Ishaya, said the town hall meeting, which was organised in collaboration with the Voice of America Hausa Service, was aimed at deepening participation in the democratic process in the state and Nigeria at large.
They sought explanation from the governorship candidates on how they intended to provide the Plateau State with good governance if elected into power.
The candidates, who spoke in Hausa language, shared with Plateau citizens their political philosophies and manifestos, expressed commitment for the enthronement of ensuring peace in the state during and after the 2023 elections.
The People’s Democratic Party, Caleb Mutfwang, said that peace and security was sacrosanct to the existence and development of every society and said Plateau is not an exception.
He assured that his administration would demonstrate justice, equity and competent leadership in the governance of Plateau to accommodate every individual and ethnic nationalities in the state.
He said, “Where there is insecurity, you will find injustice and lack of courageous leadership. Therefore, we will provide a good justice system and run an all inclusive governance to secure and protect our people.”
He noted that he will revive and equip the state’s security outfit “Operation Rainbow” hunters and Vigilante Groups to provide community security to battle the incursion of bandits and criminality into rural communities in the state.
Mutfwang added that the issue of justice is crying for attention in virtually all communities in Plateau, adding, “I will listen to Plateau residents and do what will enhance mutual relationship to provide justice to all ethnic groups in the state.”
The All Progressives Congress candidate, Nentawe Yilwatda, said his administration will constitute a security trust fund to address security issues for greater unity of the people.
Yilwatda added that the services of vigilante groups and hunters would be deployed to secure rural communities inview of their track record in combating bandits and other forms of criminalities in the state.
He noted that he will build a responsive justice system and work closely with Plateau State Peace Building Agency to foster peace and unity among various ethnic groups in the state.
Luka Panpe of the People’s Redemption Party explained that his administration will promote good governance that will bring people together and come up with strategic leadership that will address issues that trigger violence in the state.
He noted that he would work with security institutions, particularly the Centre for Conflict Management and Peace Studies, University of Jos to strengthen confidence building in the entire state.
His counterpart from the Social Democratic Party, Ibrahim Ponyah, said he would beef up security in the local communities through intelligence gathering on issues that culminated into violence for prompt response.
Ibrahim explained that security companies within and outside the state would be engaged to provide security and respond swiftly to early warning signals to curb violence.
The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Samuel Abashe and his counterpart in the Action Democratic Congress, Solomon Chendan, said priority would be given to physical security and security of lives and property in the state.
Chendan said his administration would adopt a community-driven approach in addressing security challenges and said strategic leadership would be used to engage various ethnic groups in the state for peace and unity.
UNIJOS VC noted that Nigerian democracy could be better than the people who lead it, adding, “If we have weak leaders, we will have a weak society.”
He explained that the university provides a significant training ground for future leaders and said the institution attracts people who want to do important things in life because they also realize the important role the university plays in society.
Ishaya appreciated Voice of America Hausa Service for the collaboration and said the media provide adequate information that would prepare Plateau people to make an informed decision ahead of the 2023 elections.
The Director of Centre for Conflict Management and Peace Studies, University of Jos, Danny McCain, admonished all the candidates to embrace peace during and after the elections.