By Yiro Abari
On the June 12, 2009 the Nigerian Minister of information and communication, Dora Akunyili commissioned the sound stage, auditorium and an administrative block of the Nigerian Film Institute which is an arm of the Nigerian film corporation, NFC in Jos. The visit of the minister came two days after a report of the Nation daily newspaper quoted the Plateau State Commissioner of Information, Greg Yenlong decrying a suspected plan by the Federal Government to relocate the NFC to from Plateau State to Abuja. While the minister delivered her speech at the venue of the Institute people listened keenly to hear what she was going to say regarding the relocation rumour. At last she spoke to the relief of many when she noted that the decision has been suspended.
The presence of the NFC in Jos is of remarkable significance to the government and people of Plateau State due to reasons that are known to even elementary school children. Thus the State Government has tried all it can to make the city cozy enough to the corporation. According to the Deputy Governor of the state, Pauline Tallen, it has supported the corporation with N 500 000 and provided land for the development of the permanent site. There is also all the certainty that the administration will continue in that direction. Tallen expressed the hope that the Federal Government will live up to its promise.
A lot of people have had qualms as to the true intention of the federal government to undertake such an action. This is because a lot of progress has been made regarding the development of the permanent site somewhere around Shere Hills. Just last year, a library complete with internet service and a photo laboratory were commissioned at the institute. Then the additional projects the Minister came to commission. These are enough reasons to discourage the Federal Government from relocating the corporation out of the state.
Anything can however, happen and many things of this nature indeed happened to the state in the past. During the second republic (1979-1984), Plateau State suffered an inability to pay salaries for months due to shortage of funds. The Nigerian oil wells weren’t dry, just that the state was been administered by the NPP, an opposition to the ruling party at the national level. Thus the leaders of the second republic were the architects of their own fall. JAMB and CBN zonal offices used to be in Jos but were moved to Bauchi State. Towards the last years of the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo as the President, good news came to Plateau State concerning the location of an inland container depot. Then some people started making frantic efforts to divert the project to Bauchi. At last we were told that it will remain in the state. The project is however yet to commence and a lot of people in Plateau State fear that it may end up as another disappointment. Also towards the dusk of the administration of Obasanjo, the zonal headquarters of the Ministry of information was moved from the state to Niger State.
These to many Nigerians, underscore the inability of our leaders to overcome minor temptations for prejudice and sentiments since no satisfactory explanations are usually given to justify such actions. It is an indication that most of our leaders fail to even understand the dire situation of our country and the fact that if we must move on, there is the need for us to build a culture of fairness as failure to do sends to wrong message to upcoming generations thereby nurturing a culture of chaos. In view of the challenges we now face as a country, we should be the last people to take such issues for granted.