One of the greatest setbacks to Plateau’s infrastructural, economic, educational, health, and other sectoral developments is successive governments’ discontinuation of inherited beneficial uncompleted projects started by their predecessors.
It is said, “Rome was not built in a day.” The adage refers to the governmental continuum as the bedrock of societal metamorphosis from underdeveloped to full-blown developed society through maintenance of existing infrastructure and institutions and also completing the ones started by predecessors.
Most successive governments in Plateau have shown a nonchalant attitude towards completing the projects started by their predecessors and maintaining the structures they found on the ground, leading to stunted and sluggish development. They move to initiate new ones where their successors will come and apply the same nonchalant attitude towards the projects they started.
This trait was born out of the quest to eclipse predecessors by discrediting them and the buildup to the fame of appearing better and greater achievers, as if government is an athletic race in which the winner goes home with a crown.
No governor uses their personal wealth to execute projects; they use public funds. And it is clearly vandalism, misappropriation, and wastage of public funds when projects are left uncompleted and abandoned.
It is a show of judicious utilisation of public funds when successors complete the projects started by the predecessors. It’s a win for the state. For instance, Gomwalk started the Jos Ultra-Modern Market, Solomon Lar built on it, and Samuel Bitrus Atukum completed it, and the state benefited a lot from it before it was destroyed.
Lar started the College of Education Gindiri on its temporary site; Chief Joshua Dariye moved it to the permanent site, and today it has hugely expanded and is benefiting the entire state in knowledge dissemination, employment, and the development of the host community. In fact, it helped expand Mangu town.
Dariye started Plateau State University Bokkos, Simon Lalong came and built on it, and development is being witnessed in Bokkos and knowledge is disseminated.
A case of wastefulness is the Five Star Hotel, started by Solomon Lar at Lamingo. Millions of naira were sunk, and today is an abandoned and eyesore project that nobody is benefiting from, but reptiles, aves, and amphibians. The hotel cannot be completed today because it will collapse after awhile.
It’s a gory sight that huge institutions’ infrastructures constructed by the Gomwalk administration, which will cost billions of naira to construct today, are being watched to rot and collapse, such as government colleges Jos, Jingre, Amper, and Kanam; the Plateau State Secretariat; and others.
The Peace Building Agency established by Lalong has been rendered ineffective, so many roads started by the Dariye and Jang administrations are left uncompleted, and attention has been given to constructing new ones.
Certain projects that were of political significance have been dissolved for no just cause, such as local government development areas, new districts, and chiefdoms that promoted traditional institutions. The irony of it is that the state will still go back to resuscitating them in due course.
If Plateau must rapidly develop, we must avoid going front and back in terms of infrastructure and institutional developments.
Successive governors should have it at the back of their minds that shying away from completing leftover projects is a waste of the state’s funds.
They should know that governance is a continuum, and any project completed by them is a win for them, the state, and their successors because it is the state’s funds that were used for the projects for the betterment of the citizens.
Maintenance of existing projects stems from the wastage of funds on repeating such projects and also saves funds for new projects.
When structures are maintained, they last, such as Buckingham Palace in the UK, which was constructed in the 19th century. Today, we are in the 21st century, and it is still very strong.
No society develops by destroying and rebuilding its infrastructure and institutions by successive governments.
The citizens of Plateau should knock off the mentality of attributing projects executed to the executor only and not those that completed them and the state.
They should also discourage a negative competitive spirit between predecessors and successors at the detriment of the state.
Plateau needs rapid development and not absurd competition between political parties and governors.
Kudos from predecessors should be meted out to successors when completing the projects they started, not useless giggles and unthward criticism to demoralise the governor and sabotage the development of the state.
Successors, too, must be magnanimous in swallowing their pride and completing leftover projects.
The incumbent government should not deliberately start projects it knows it cannot complete to frustrate its successor as a ploy to seek relevance and recognition after office as better achievers. Futility of Projects Discontinuity: Unravelling Plateau’s Developmental Setbacks
(By Shabul Mazadu)