On this day in 2015, Gyang Nyam Shom Pwajok, a Nigerian politician who was a member of the People’s Democratic Party and the youngest Senator in the 7th Assembly, from 2012 to 2015, died of Hepatocellular Carcinoma otherwise known as liver cancer.
Pwajok’s death sent cold shivers down the spines of many Nigerians as only a few months earlier he was the People’s Democratic Party Candidate in the April 11 2015 gubernatorial election in Plateau State.
Born on the 15th day of March, 1966, in Jos Plateau State, Gyang Nyam Shom, Pwajok, popularly referred to as “G.N.S” based on his initials, lived a greater part of his childhood in the cosmopolitan City of Jos. He attended the Jos Township Primary School, (1972-1977), Saint Murumba College, Jos (1977 – 1982), the School of Preliminary Studies, Keffi; (1982-1984), the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1984-1987) and the Post Graduate School of the University of Jos, where he earned a Master of Science Degree in Political Economy and Development Studies in 1991 at the age of 24. His special interest in Research and Development enhanced his creative and active involvement in multi-ethnic Non-Governmental platforms with programmes and projects designed to facilitate peaceful coexistence in significant parts of Nigeria. From his National Youth Service (NYSC) in Imo State (1987-1988) he taught Government and History at Zang Secondary Commercial School, Bukuru (1989-1993). He was engaged as a Lecturer with the Department of General Studies, of the Plateau State Polytechnic, and became Head of Citizenship Education Unit, Secretary of the Departmental Research Committee as well as Editor of Pla-Poly Newsletter.
The Department of Political Science, University of Jos found him worthy of appointment and engaged him in 2003 to serve as Lecturer thus providing him the opportunity to teach Public Enterprise Management, Political Economy, Public Administration, the Politics of the World Economy, Theories of Rural Development amongst others at both under-graduate and Post graduate levels, where he distinguished himself as a promising scholar.
He was elected as the National Social and Cultural Secretary of the Berom Youth Movement in 1994 and subsequently, Public Relations Officer of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Plateau State Chapter where he pioneered the publication of the Youth Scope Magazine as Editor-in-Chief from 1996 – 1998.
As a young man, God exalted him to an even greater honour. While serving as lecturer, Governor Jang, his political mentor appointed him to the office of Director General, Political, Research and Planning in 2007. He actively participated in the Transition Committee and subsequently served as Secretary of the Committee that produced the Four Year Strategic Development Plan, soon after the Jonah Jang administration was inaugurated in 2007.
His astute political skills, objective presentations, global perspective, high level analytical thinking and high social and technical competence led to his appointment as Chief of Staff, Government House in 2011, testifying to the fact that he had established himself as one of the key stakeholders in the struggle for the building of a just society and a leading figure in the struggle for social change especially amongst the youth in Plateau State. Always ready to defend the state at various national and International fora, he took the Plateau story to the shores of the United States of America at Capitol Hill, Washington DC where he made a presentation on the Kaleidoscope of Conflict and the stark realities of the challenges of conflict to a gathering of senior members of the US government. He also made a presentation at the United Nations Headquarters on the Jos Crises.
While carrying out his duties as chief of staff the unfortunate death of a sitting senator representing Plateau North senatorial zone created a vacuum that required immediate filling considering the emerging challenges in the zone. GNS Pwajok received the nod from elders and stakeholders in the land to fill the void. A man of destiny, Distinguished Senator Gyang Nyam Shom Pwajok was sworn into office on the 16th of October 2012 after a landslide victory in the bye election.
While at the Senate, he was appointed to committees on Health, Solid Minerals, Cooperation and Integration, NEPAD, and Aviation. He was also appointed Vice Chairman of the senate committee on Marine Transport in recognition of his outstanding performance in the senate in such a short time.
He participated vigorously in senate debates, speaking on the floor of the Red Chambers just two days after his swearing in and has presented bills and motions on the floor of the Senate, including the Motion on the Killings and attacks in the middle belt region of the country.
Senator GNS Pwajok’s impressive past experience in policy development, political participation and governance as well as his unquestionable political pedigree and exceptional intellectual capacity led to his declaration of intent to contest for, and subsequent emergence as the PDP flag bearer and candidate for the governorship of Plateau State in the ill-fated 2015 general elections. His Greater Together slogan has in recent times evolved into a movement for unity and positive change, and the pivot for generational shift and progress of Plateau State.
GNS Pwajok died at 48, two years ago today.