Historical Development: Plateau State, which derives its name from the Jos Plateau, is located more or less at the centre of
Iyom Rocks - A typical scenery around Plateau State
the country. The State has an area of about 26,899, sq.km and shares common boundaries with Benue, Nassarawa, Kaduna, Taraba, Bauchi and Gombe States.
Plateau State is a product of half a century of boundary adjustments arisng on the one hand, from the ambition of the colonial masters to create a province which consisted largely of non-muslims under one Resident, in order to protect the railway line being constructed at that time and guarantee the sustenance of tin mining activities which began in 1902, and the strong desire of the peoples in this area for political self-determination, on the other hand.
In the formative years of British colonialism in Nigeria, much of Plateau State was part of Bauchi Province. In 1926, Plateau Province, comprising Jos and Pankshin Divisions, was carved out of Bauchi Province. At various times between 1926 and 1976, the boundary of Plateau Province oscillated, paralleling the general trend of political development in the country, as the government of the day acquiesced to the agitation of different ethnic groups to be merged with their kith and kin who are of larger concentrations in other provinces.
University of Jos, Jos
During this period, therefore, some administrative units or Divisions as they were then called, from neighbouring provinces were added to or subtracted from Plateau Province. In May 1967, Benue and Plateau Provinces were merged to form Benue-Plateau State, one of the twelve states into which the military administration of General Yakubu Gowon divided Nigeria in place of the four then existing regions.
The division of the country into smaller semi-autonomous states was an attempt to introduce a sense of balance between the north and the south, and to save the Federation from total disintegration which was imminent from the polarization of the country along ethnic lines after the bloody military take over of 1966 and the subsequent crisis which led to an attempted secession by the Eastern Region. Benue-Plateau State emerged as one of those large states of the Federation where pressure was mounted on the Federal Government immediately after the civil war for the creation of more states.
The waterland of Plateau State ( A negative consequence of mining activities )
When the country was however further divided into nineteen states in 1976, Plateau Province was severed from Benue-Plateau State to become Plateau State. In 1996, the present Nassarawa State was carved out of the western half of Plateau State by the Abacha military regime.
Administrative Areas: Plateau State started off in 1976 with fourteen local government areas (LGAs). New LGAs were carved out of the large ones in 1989, 1991 and 1996, so that today, the new Plateau State consists of the following seventeen LGAs: Jos North, Jos South, Jos East, Bassa, Kanam, Barakin Ladi, Quai'an-Pam, Wase, Langtang North, Langtang South, Pankshin, Shendam, Riyom, Mikang, Kanke, Mangu and Bokkos.
Administrative Structure: The Plateau State administrative structure consists of the State Cabinet, House of Assembly and Local Govern ments. Key functionaries at the state government level are the Governor (chief executive), Deputy Governor, Secretary to the state government, Commissioners (cabinet members), special advisers, permanent secretaries, board chairmen and general managers.
Yakubu Gowon Dam, Bukuru
The House of Assembly comprises, the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Clerk of the House, majority and minority leaders and chief whip. At the Local Government level, the chairman is the chief executive, while his cabinet consists of appointed port folio councilors.
The elected councilors make up the legislative arm. Plateau State is divided into chiefdoms and emirates, each encompassing ethnic groups who share common affinities. Leaders of the chiefdoms are elected by the people from amongst several contestants who may not be related to any past chiefdom leaders, while succession to the position of an emir is hereditary.