By Ralph Madugu
Members of the Plateau State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists have tasked the Simon Lalong administration to ensure openness and transparency in its resolve to rebuild the Jos Main Market.
Speaking during a stakeholder consultation/engagement with members of the State Technical Committee headed by the Head of Civil Service, Engr. Sunday Hyat, the men of the pen profession advised the government to make public contents of the yet-to-be- sign Memorandum of Understanding for public scrutiny as a way of allaying the fears of the people that there were sinister motives behind the signing of the MoU with Jaiz Bank less than a year to the end of its tenure of office.
Recall that there has been so much uproar concerning plans by the State Government to sign an MoU with Jaiz Bank to rebuild the Jos Main Market.
The uproar necessitated the PLSG to convene a meeting of all stakeholders in the state. At the end of which stakeholders advised the government to embark on wider consultation with the people from the grassroots.
At one of the meeting with the technical committee in Jos, journalists drawn from across government and private owned media led by the State Chairman of the NUJ, Comrade Paul Jatau, took turns to bare their minds on the issue and advised the government on the need for adequate sensitization and mobilization of the people on sensitive matters that require the buy in of the citizens.
In their various submissions, the media practitioners asked probing questions and raised public concerns regarding the MoU and advised the state government to be sensitive to the yearnings and aspirations of the citizens since the people are the direct beneficiaries of the market.
Comrade Jatau pointed out to the committee that some of the concerns were based on perceptions that have arisen largely due to poor communication and inadequate information on the part of government.
Other journalists who spoke during the meeting faulted government for not sensitizing the people from inception when government agreed to rebuild the edifice through an MoU.
Some of the journalists who spoke, said the failure of the government to provide adequate information on its activities to the public has been the basis for the trust deficit that currently exist between government and the governed adding that people become highly suspicious of any developmental efforts, even if they are well intentioned.
While urging the government not to disregard the outcome of the various stakeholder’s meetings even if it is not favourable to it, adding that it would amount to a waste if government decides to go ahead with the MoU without regards to the overall interest of the citizens.
They however, commended the state government for the initiative which would go a long way in finding a way forward urging that the consultation should be a continuous one.