The Plateau State Government has carved out Jos North and Riyom Traditional Councils from the Jos Joint Traditional Council currently headed by the Gbong Gwom Jos, Jacob Gyang Buba.
According to Daily Trust, this was seen by many as a move to reduce the influence of the paramount ruler.
Governor Simon Bako Lalong had, last August, created new chiefdoms and upgraded some, including the Anaguta Chiefdom in Jos North and that of the Aten of Ganawuri in Riyom. Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State Lalong had followed it up with the presentation of a first-class staff of office to the Ujah of Anaguta and Atar Aten of Ganawuri.
In a leaked memo written by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Dayyabu Garga, to the chairmen of Jos North and Riyom Local Government Areas, the government stated that all the graded chiefs, district heads, village heads and their staff, who are from both local government areas, should henceforth constitute members and staff of the newly created traditional councils.
The memo explained that Governor Lalong’s decision was in compliance with Section 91(1) of the 2016 Local Government Law, adding that Section 91(3) of the law also states that the most senior traditional rulers in each local government shall be presidents of Jos North and Riyom Traditional Councils respectively.
The development has elicited controversy with many insinuating that Jacob Gyang would no longer be referred to as Gbong Gwom Jos, but Gbong Gwom Berom. But Gyang yesterday dismissed the insinuation.
Speaking through his media aide, Alex Rwang Pam, Gyang said: “That is an absolute misconception and not a true reflection of the implication of the current development.”
According to him, the position of Gbong Gwom Jos was the one gazetted and nothing has altered the provisions of that document.
Pam went down the memory lane to explain that the position currently being occupied by Da Jacob Buba was first institutionalised as Sarkin Jos on August 28, 1947, explaining that it was much later that the Berom people re-coined the name to their own language “since ‘Gwom’ means ‘Sarki’ in that language.”
First class chiefs and emirs in the state are Gbong Gwom; Agwom Izere – Jos East; Ujah of Anaguta – Jos North; Atar Aten of Ganawuri Riyom; Long Gamai; Ngolong Ngas; Ponzhi Tarok; Emir of Wase; Emir of Kanam; Miskaham Maghavul – Mangu LG; Utu Ugo Kiche-Bassa; Long Pan – Quaan Pan LG; Saf Ron Kulera – Bokkos LG and Long Tehl-Mikang.