Jul 1, 2008

Philemon Dewan Passes On

According to close associates, the decision by Philemon Dewan to join politics was a respond to a call from his senatorial domain in central Plateau State. Plateau state has sons and daughters doing great things for the nation. It is only when they join politics that people begin to dig into their past to find out their towering resume. Philemon Dewan is one of such persons from the state.

Dewan born in March 28th, 1956 is from Tuwan in Kanke Local Government Area of Plateau State. His life time though average in duration was replete with excellence. His distinct academic records were noted from his elementary education, reaching a crescendo in 1979 when he backed an Upper Degree in Business Administration at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, He followed that, immediately, with a Masters Degree from the same institution. The fifteen professional certificates he obtained between 1979 and 1995 points to the fact that he was a man that loved books for their sake and not because of the rewards attached to reading them.
It is common knowledge that when you do a thing for the sake of it you become a master of it and rewards are usually spontaneous.
Samson, the younger brother of Philemon, when asked to give a catalogue of his brothers working experience often ends up with a sad expression. This is because he often forgets some of them. That is an injustice to his late brother’s heroic status. The rewards of Philemon’s academic brilliance and love for books are seen in his collaboration with limitless organizations that includes the Nigerian Stock Exchange, where he was a first Plateau man, Nigerian Airport Authority in Kaduna, Arthur Anderson and Co in Lagos, the Jos International Breweries, Lion Bank of Nigerian Plc and so on. At one time or the other he held very managerial positions in a number of boards that included Julius Berger, Lion Bank, Upper Benue River Basin Development Authority. At his death he was a member of the Board of Directors of Consolidated Breweries Plc which had a few Nigerians with him as the first member from the North.
In 2003 Philemon contested for the senate from Plateau Central Constituency on the Platform of the Alliance for Democracy, AD as a challenger to the incumbent, Ibrahim Mantu, who was the Deputy Senate President. The result showed that Philemon lost the battle but voters felt otherwise and took to the streets in protest. Chaos broke out as a result. It ended up with trails of blood in the streets of Pankshin town. Political observers say Dewan worked to prove that the powerful Mantu was not unbreakable after all. His reversal of the earlier decision to challenge the verdict of the polls at the election tribunal was considered by many as an outcome of out-of-court settlement between Mantu and he. Mwantu however, denied ever knowing Philemon in person.
In 2006 one of Dewan’s three sons died in a ghastly motor accident. The boy, according to neighbours and intimate associates was Philemon’s most beloved. The death of the boy complicated his father’s already diabetic condition leading to a stroke. He never really recovered till he eventually gave up on June 25th, 2008.

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