From Gyang Bere, Jos
For the people of Kwa Chiefdom in Quan’Pan Local Government Area of Plateau State, not having a substantive traditional ruler on the Long Kwo Stool has been a reproach to the community.
About 33 years ago, the stool became vacant following the demise of the last paramount ruler. Now the agitation is on for a new traditional ruler and one of the prominent sons of the area and Executive Director, Foreign Operations of Duncan Group of Companies and Chairman, Lamebakena, Ghana, Miskoom Larry Bawa, believes that the situation of Long Kwo Stool remaining unoccupied is almost like a taboo that must be urgently addressed.
Already, Miskoom Bawa has signified keen interest in the contest to fill the vacant stool. He will slug it out with a former Nigerian Ambassador to Switzerland, Amb. Yahaya Kwande and eight other contestants. In this interview he appealed to the Plateau State governor, Solomon Lalong, to expedite the process for selection and installation of a new paramount ruler, without further delay. Excerpt:
Since the transition of the late Miskoom Hoomkwap Sule II, 33 years ago, the stool has remained vacant. How do you feel about it?
To say I am super sad is to speak less of this episode. I can’t really figure out in the whole of my entire existence that Kwo Chiefdom will remain without a ruler for 33 years. For me, I will rather say it’s an abomination. Our forefathers, wherever they are today will be very sad with what is currently playing out. Of course, these are not the norms and values they imparted on us. I feel ashamed that our community, Kwo has deteriorated and has since been drawn back by leadership tussle over these years. Imagine the development and government support that Kwo community would have enjoyed if there was a ruler all these years.
As a prince and stakeholder, how do you view the effect of the 33-old tussle over the Long Owo stool on the people?
Historically, Kwo Chiefdom was upgraded from its Kwande District status and accorded a 3rd class Chief Status of Long Kwo on April 3, 1981 by the first executive governor of Plateau State, Chief Solomon Daushep Lar and was later upgraded to 2nd Class status by Governor Simon Bako Lalong.
The chiefdom, a district area in Quan’Pan Local Government Area of Plateau State, is one of the most notable agrarian areas where its people are known to be hardworking, productive and predominately farmers. Sadly, the Kwo Chiefdom leadership crisis plunged the community into socio-cultural redundancy with lack of traditional leadership in the past 33 years. We are all aware that the Supreme Court had cleared all doubts on the leadership tussle years after and the town is now on the verge of restoring all its lost glory, we hope that the mantle of leadership will soon be restored, and our people will have their traditional leadership back. We believe that currently, there is a light at the end of the tunnel with the recent interest and pronouncement of the Plateau State government towards an amicable resolution with respect to the throne. Government pronouncement opened a floodgate of contestants for as many as about 17 princes from the four ruling houses of Mpoema, Lakwaram, Kaskang and Nuku, of this Kwararafa Kingdom has so far indicated interest to become the 27th Long Kwo. Prominent in the race to occupy the stool of the Long Kwo is Miskoom Larry Peters Bawa, a business top shot and an executive director of Duncan Group of Companies and chairman, Lamebakena Properties, Ghana; Miskoom Hubert Isa, a retired civil servant; Cornelius Shekarau, a former banker and businessman; Miskoom Danladi Nkup, a retired journalist and farmer and Miskoom John Aloko, a retired civil servant. Others are, Ambassador Yahaya Kwande, former Nigerian Ambassador to Switzerland; Miskoom Linus Layi Anden, the immediate past acting general manager of Plateau Express Services Ltd; Colonel Fidelis Attahiru, a retired Army officer and now a businessman, Casmir Angulu, a retired civil servant. The list includes children of the late Long Kwo, Miskoom Hoomkwap Sule II: Miskoom John Hoomkwap and Ibrahim Hoomkwap as well as Miskoom Benedict Bamshal Mairiga, a medical doctor; Miskoom Johnbull Dunggu, a farmer and Miskoom Kenneth Isa, a civil servant with the Plateau State government.
You are contesting the position of Long Kwo with former Nigerian Ambassador, Yahaya Kwande and many other people who have distinguished themselves in their chosen careers. Why do you think you are the most qualified?
The people of Kwo are yearning for a true and charismatic leader who has good personality. Over the years, I have worked with my people and understand their pain and suffering. I am most qualified as I have made a lot of impact and had wide consultations with Kwo religious leaders, youths, people in the private sector and other relevant stakeholders, who see me as competent. As I mentioned earlier, there is no way positive development will be actualized in any part of the world without leadership and I am the capable leader that can restore the fortune of the Kwo Chiefdom.
If you emerge as the Long Kwo, what should the people of Kwo Chiefdom and the entire Plateau expect from you?
A blueprint for the design and implementation of developmental projects in various jurisdiction of the Chiefdom will be my primary focus. The goal of my kingship will be education, agricultural funding and support from donor agencies through grants and donations to all the communities within the Kwo Chiefdom. In addition, provision of infrastructure to enhance the standard of living will be prioritized. I will initiate partnership with top personalities for developmental projects and secure the support of both internal and external development agents for the execution of these projects.
The Kwo Chiefdom and the entire Quan’Pan Local Government Area is an agrarian rural area. How will you apply your experience in the private sector to the developmental deficits in the Chiefdom?
The plan is to ensure that the people are well trained and equipped with the relevant skills to upgrade them for modern day mechanized farming through partnership with foreign, federal, state and local governments funding. Plants, machineries and seedlings will be sourced for mechanized farming alongside professional farmers. We organize seminars and practical sessions on the best way of farming. These will bring about job opportunities and increase productivity, thereby making the Kwo communities economically viable and self-sustaining.
What advice do you have for your co-contestants and the kingsmakers?
I strongly believe that all the contestants should have genuine concern at heart regarding the development of Kwo Chiefdom. For that reason, whoever emerges as Long Kwo should be accepted by all contestants, who should join hands with the declared ruler, to bring about lasting and sustainable development to our communities. It is in the light of the above, that I humbly seek the help of my people in laying the foundation of rebuilding Kwo by supporting my ambition with a view to actualizing the same.
What do you think is necessary to be done to break the jinx and make the government live up to its promise, to fill all vacant traditional stools?
I want to sincerely appreciate Governor Simon Bako Lalong and the Plateau State government for their support in ensuring a smooth transition. We also appeal to the state government to kindly fast track the electoral process and to create an enabling environment for the people of Kwo to elect a ruler for the Kwo Chiefdom accordingly. I will like you to also know that the Kwo Communities are peace-loving people and that is why we have been able to carry on for 33 years without a ruler. Today, some of our cultural values have been thrown over board and we believe it would be reawakened for a new dawn under the new chief.
Can you tell us briefly about your person?
Miskoom Larry Peters Bawa, is a born- leader, who has the vision that drives change and developments in all areas of life, career and humanity. I am a professional in the maritime, haulage, logistics, hospitality sectors and much more. I am a philanthropist, speaker and seasoned consultant. I am a crown Prince of the Kwo Dynasty and equally an aspirant to the vacant stool of the Long Kwo.