Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State says his administration has been able to remove the obstacles hitherto seen as mysteries that are responsible for halting the progress of the state over the years.
The governor, in a statement issued recently in Johannesburg, South Africa, by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mark Longyen, said since his assumption of office, he deliberately took some measures in line with his Five-Point Policy Thrust, which had demystified the said mysteries, thus paving the way for him to reposition the state for genuine economic growth and progress.
He said, “In the area of education, for instance, we took the bull by the horns and did the needful for Plateau State University, Bokkos, which was rendered comatose for 10 years since its establishment without graduating students, and now the university’s first convocation ceremony will take place in November this year.”
Addressing the business community, investors, policy makers and some Nigerians residing in South Africa, Lalong explained: “We reinstated a former vice chancellor of the state university, who was wrongly sacked by the last administration; we reconstituted the university’s Governing Board, now chaired by former INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega; right now, 17 courses of the university have been accredited, more courses are being considered for further accreditation; while other institutions of higher learning are being funded and catered for within the confines of our limited recession resources,’ the governor said.
He noted that Plateau State and South Africa had a lot of things in common, such as tourism, mining and agriculture and urged his audience to take advantage of these opportunities to come and invest in the state.
“The mysteries retarding the state’s progress have been or are being removed. We have signed an MoU with the Chinese for power generation under Public Private Partnership (PPP), in addition to the Panyam Solar Power Project, while we have also engaged NESCO in negotiations to boost power supply,” he said.
Lalong called on investors to come and invest massively in the state’s tourism sector, which will have a positive massive multiplier effect on Plateau State’s economy, stressing that “we need 5-Star hotels in Jos; investors should come and build them.”
The governor said that he had already created the enabling environment that would turn the state into a haven of peace, tourism, agriculture, solid minerals and foreign investment through the provision of peace, security, coupled with a flexible process of acquiring land in the state through the Plateau State Geographical Information System (PLAGIS).
He continued: “Now, you can sit down in your home in South Africa and access land in Jos via PLAGIS. I am also looking into the possibility of appointing an SSA on Diaspora, while land and street demarcation are being done to facilitate same.”
Lalong further said that he defied all odds to ensure that the Jos Ultra-Modern Market, which was burnt down many years ago during the Jos crisis, was brought back to life, as renovation work is set to commence soon in partnership with a foreign firm, just as the moribund Jos International Breweries (JIB) is now slated for reconstruction under PPP.