Yelwa is a linean settlement in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State. The Community is famous for hosting early Christian missionaries and a branch Bible school, an affiliate of ECWA Bible Training School, Karu.
Yelwa an agrarian Gbagyi Community has produced prominent scholars, pastors, politicians among others.
Among the Chairmen that have ruled Toto Local Government three (3) came from Yelwa, including one time Member, Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Commissioner, State Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) core party men, retired Permanent Secretary in the state (Nasarawa) civil service among others.
In 2013, precisely April 19th (Friday) Yelwa welcome home one of its illustrious son who has just then been appointed Commissioner in person of Hon. Philips Tatari Shekwo. The Community was pomb, roll out drums with cultural dances in honour of Hon. Shekwo who arrived Yelwa in a white Hillux at exactly 9:15pm.
The same honour was accorded to him in 2014 when he was elected State Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Last Friday, November, 27th 2020 the same Community stood still in a mournful mood to receive the corpse of this same great son who was kidnapped by yet to be identified gun men Sunday night (22nd November, 2020) and later found dead near his residence. Yelwa community will not share this moment of grief alone but the state and Shekwo’s associates from all walks of life will be in Yelwa to bid him farewell as his remains is committed to mother earth today.
Since the breaking of the sad news of Shekwo’s kidnap and death there has been movement of people in droves within and outside the state to his residence and Government House to condole the family, Government and people of the state.
The Comments of thousands that have visited the family can be summarize in a sentence that Shekwo was a good leader, honest, sincere and a complete gentle man. Even when he was elevated in the society as the State APC Chairman, he remained his humble self.
For the years he man the affairs of the party in the state, he never take pride as the Chairman of the ruling party. The party got stronger and witnessed no any serious crisis during his two terms tenure. The thunderous outcry and lamentations that followed his killing is a clear manifestation that a big bird has flown out of Yelwa, Nasarawa State and the Country at large.
Many of his admirers would for long live with trauma of his sudden death. A devout Christian and Jerusalem Pilgrim (JP) Shekwo relied on the power of prayers and God’s guidance in carring out his daily responsibilities.
Shekwo never hesitated when called upon to render good service to humanity. He was an accomplished administrator.
HIS WORDS ON MARBLE
When people are used to doing things for their personal interests only, no matter how beneficial a change is to the larger society, they will certainly oppose it. That was why we had conflicts with the House of Assembly that was dominated by PDP then. The conflict led to the impeachment move against Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura who was the governor then, but the APC government survived the impeachment attempt.
There were no roads, water and electricity. There was no difference between Lafia and my village, Yelwa, at that time. Al-Makura saw sorry state of things and came up with a master plan to improve on the looks of Lafia as a state headquarters.
Remember, the state headquarters is an image of the state; more so that Lafia is a gateway to the east and north. Many visitors pass through Lafia and if there is any road congestion or blockage, the travellers become frustrated because there were no alternative roads. So when Al-Makura came in, he opened alternative roads, he opened up so many communities that were like slums, paid compensations and constructed roads.
APC is a child of necessity and that necessity was for the Government to bring about change to do things not in the usual manner.
We should be able to do our campaigns based on issues that will advance the polity of Nasarawa State.
If you win election based on religion or ethnicity, are you going to form your government based on your religion or tribe? The question of Nasarawa State should come first before any other thing.
Religion when used properly should unite us, develop our minds, and create the fear of God in us and the knowledge that our existence on earth is temporal. I condemn politics of religion or ethnicity. Even if it is found in APC or elsewhere, I condemn it because it is counter-productive. It divides the people and set brothers, sisters against each other. We should look for who has a genuine heart to develop Nasarawa State. And I boldly say I found that in our governor, Engr. Abdullahi Sule who has a large heart that can carry Nasarawa State without any demarcation or discrimination. He has the zeal to develop the state, just like his predecessor.
In APC once elections are over, we settle down for development. Our Governor has been placing a call on all Nasarawa State people to join him in the development of the state. We are very much on course for Nasarawa State.
When you fight corruption, it will fight you back. In some third world countries, some of them have been able to topple governments because of the huge financial gains they make. So fighting corruption is not a local exercise, it is an international fight. This is what makes it difficult to fight it. Countries that stand to fight corruption normally face frustration from developed ones. Those international conglomerates are in various countries and they benefit their individual countries and sometimes their countries give them back up. In fighting corruption, we need to tread with caution.
I want to thank the people of Nasarawa State for giving APC a chance and for believing in the party. I assure them that government will not disappoint them. Under Governor Abdullahi Sule we will see more progress. This is why the governor is consolidating on what has been gained by his predecessor. There is continuity on the projects he found on ground. I want to plead with them to continue to support this government so as to encourage our governor to do more for the benefit of all.
Born in Yelwa (9th May, 1957) Shekwo attended ECWA Transferred Primary School Yelwa (1964-1970) Government Secondary School Nasarawa 1973-1977 and was the House Captain, Makama House (1976-1977) He was a student , School of Preliminary Studies Keffi, Nasarawa State (1977-1979) and furthered his education at Bayero University Kano (1979-1982) and obtained Bachelor of Art (B.A) (Hons) English/Political Science and did his National Youth Service Crops (NYSC) 1982-1983. He was a Lecturer with the School of Preliminary Studies Keffi (1983-1990). He secured employment with the National Population Commission and rose to Deputy Director [grade level 16] and voluntarily retired for active politics.
He held the position of Honourable Commissioner, Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Nasarawa State in 2013 and later moved to Ministry for Higher Education. In 2014 he was elected State Chairman, All Progressives Congress, a position he held till his death. He was also chairman, Governing Council. Federal College of Education (Technical) Umunze, Anambra State 2018-2020. In 2003-2004 Philips Shekwo was appointed Chairman, Transition Management Committee, Toto Local Government Council, Nasarawa State. At various times he was president, Plateau State Students Association, Bayero University, Kano. Head of Department S.P.S. Keffi, Secretary, Academic Staff Union SPS Keffi and chairman, staff union, SPS, Keffi, President Gbagyi Cultural Association Toto and Nasarawa Local Government Areas.
As Shekwo’s remains is laid to rest in his country home of Yelwa today, the best respect that can be paid to him by his admirers and Sundry is to imbibe his simple life style of humanity and sincerely.
APC State Chairman, as you were fondly called, it is well with your soul in the land that you will never grow old. God reward you for your service to humanity.