If you want to measure the degree of animosity against any government in Plateau State, all you need to do is to wait until an election has been completed, and a new government is installed.
No matter what anyone thinks about the administration of Governor Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang in the last one month of its coming on board, a lot has happened for which there are many positive takeaways to run to town with.
What is more, it is in the realization of the enormous responsibilities placed on his shoulders that many citizens have asked questions on where the state should be heading to, on account of the promises made during the electioneering campaigns.
The opportunity presented for constructive criticism through citizens’ civic responsibility is to help government face the task of administration.
In more ways than one, Mutfwang’s administration has welcomed all shades of criticisms and opinions from day one. But no matter the amount of propaganda against its reputation, doing things differently has, thankfully become its middle name.
Thankfully, most have come to realization that the new administration is doing things to satisfy the generality of the citizens of Plateau State. That the Executive Governor of Plateau State, Barr Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang, was prepared to go into governance amidst daunting challenges inherited from his predecessor was not lost in him; even during the electioneering days which enabled him traverse the length and breadth of Plateau.
But the depth of rot and institutional decay the state was plunged into in the last eight years was for him the task that should occupy his government, if at all he wanted to be remembered by posterity. Considering the enormous goodwill he received from Plateau people and the party to get power back from the APC, he couldn’t contemplate failure as an option.
Taking a holistic look at some of the challenges the new government met on ground in various sectors of the economy of the state, any patriotic person would read meanings into them. They appear to have been carefully programmed as booby traps set up to crush the PDP administration, whose philosophy and clear-cut vision is to champion the course of humanity and better the lot of the people.
Given the mess on ground, some pundits have even concluded that had the All Progressives Congress won the gubernatorial election on March 18, 2023, the challenges it would have met on ground on assumption of power would have overwhelmed it, the acceptance of the Peoples Democratic Party by the people is helping to change the concept of governance.
It is common knowledge that in the midst of the daunting challenges, under which any governor may lose sleep and wonder what may have hit him, Governor Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang, who kick started his administration about a month ago, firmly believe that despite the banana peels lined up for him and his party, failure wasn’t on his agenda.
One of those is the inheritance of unpaid salaries running into 11 billion naira. He may not get help from the federal government as it was for the last administration where several tranches emanating from the Paris Club refund were able to upset wage bills, hence his resolve to get a loan of 15 billion naira from United Bank for Africa to pay salaries and engage in other development projects.
If the supporters of the government that had just departed thought he would easily cave in on account of the slimy but slippery grounds, all eyes were set on him, particularly the opposition APC to watch his dancing steps; and praying silently with mischief in mind to slip for obvious ridicule.
They must have felt appalled, with consternation, but more disappointed that Governor Caleb Mutfwang’s take-off was a clear demonstration that he was indeed prepared and equipped with sufficient capacity for the journey that would tackle myriads of challenges inherited from the previous administration. No wonder, they have remained at the level of malevolence, plotting at each turn what could be done to ensure he became a laughing stock, while he lasted in power.
They say it is during adversity that the resolve of a leader could be tested. The political courage summoned by him to provide the needed leadership and maneuvering his way out of the slippery ground by taking off strongly; wielding enormous political will to deal with the swelling resurgence of insecurity that confronted the state weeks before his inauguration.
Many would recall that for over two decades, the state has been embroiled by recurring violent attacks, which left several lives lost and property sadly destroyed. However, the ferocity of the attacks in Mangu, Bokkos, Barkin Ladi and Riyom few days before his inauguration are enough to test his will power. He immediately sought the attention of Mr. President and the former Inspector General of Police to have their buy-in of ways to tackle the crisis for deployment of more security personnel in the trouble areas.
However, determined to make the right mark, Governor Caleb Mutfwang rightly remained focused, steady, firm and unshakable, by drawing strength from the rule of law. He was the more, divinely inspired in taking critical and tough decisions with the sole aim of returning the state on the path of recovery, growth and development. It was nonetheless his point of departure with some elements that preferred that things should be operated in the old order.
Those who have followed his activities over time are aware from the onset, Governor Mutfwang never complained nor cast aspersion on the state of dilapidated infrastructure, collapsed government institutions, widening religious and ethnic division and of broken walls of friendship inherited from his predecessor on the door steps of individuals. He took the bull by its horns by raising standards that will satisfy the hearts of the people he is now their governor.
Realizing that he needed to build those walls that have irretrievably collapsed, he channeled his energy towards healing the wounds that admissibly have been inflicted on people by believing that the land could be healed, and the people united by building bridges of friendship and confidence across all strata of the society and even beyond.
His first day in office, after the famous and well attended inauguration at the Rwang Pam Township Stadium, Jos on May 29, 2023 was heralded with prayers, to seek divine guidance and interventions to commence the journey of rebuilding Plateau on a sound footing. That symbolic start, for all intent and purposes couldn’t have been lost in a man whose relationship with God is not a matter of conjecture.
Worried by the extent of destruction on communities by marauding terrorists over the years, immediately after his inauguration, he swung into action by convening a State Security Council meeting where he was furnished with detailed security challenges and what is needed to assure people that his government cares.
To make meaning out of his engagements with security chiefs in the state, the need for closer collaboration with the existing security apparatus at the federal level, using multifaceted human approaches to secure innocent communities who are terrorized daily by bandits suspected to be herdsmen militia became manifest.
What more, to feel the pulse of the victims, the following day, Barr Mutfwang was on the road to visit all the flash points where people were attacked, maimed and killed without any reason. To get to the root of the attacks for a solution, a crack Brig-General, Gakji Shipi has been brought on board as the Security Adviser.
His first point of call was on displaced persons in Riyom and Mangu Local Government Areas whose communities were invaded by enemies of Plateau a few days before his inauguration. The Governor came with a message of hope by assuring the people that help was on the way, even as it became clear to all, who wanted to know that the killings were genocidal in nature.
The suspension of local government chairmen and councilors must be noted was based on the recommendation of the Plateau State House of Assembly. Taking a look at the new Transition Implementation Chairmen, it can be observed that they young persons imbued with fresh ideas to transform the local government areas.
The suspension was based on the inability of the local government chairmen to make available records of their income and expenditures to the House which contravened the principles of transparency, accountability and fairness to which the current administration professes and hold in high regards. This action was necessary to provide a common ground for the House to investigate activities of the chairmen within the period in office.
Certain categories of employment made in the twilight of the last administration have been suspended due largely to non-adherence to due process. Those who have come hard of this administration on the issue will soon discover when a report is made on the findings that all did not go well.
Already, some critical appointments spread across the three zones have been made to stabilize the government. It is instructive to note that all those that have been appointed are coming with fresh ideas that are capable of catapulting the administration that hit the road running from day one into prominence. In the coming days and weeks, more of such would be made, and it is possible all sectors of the state would be given fair treatment and representation.
Even when it has been reported that the governor does not intend to look back to investigate the last administration, there are some infractions made by it or its officials that will not be left unchecked. Leaving them unchecked will amount to acquiescence by his administration; a path he has sworn to avoid taking. If tough decisions have been taken to right the wrongs of the past, it is because sanity has got to be injected for once.
The reason Governor Mutfwang set up machinery in motion is for the purpose of effective service delivery, having constituted a committee headed by a retired Permanent Secretary, Nde Isaac Wadak. The committee has among other terms of reference to identify and trace all government properties that were purportedly auctioned across the country; ascertain whether or not due process was adhered to in the exercise; and recover all government assets that were purportedly /or inappropriately acquired by individuals/groups/or corporate entities.
Doing so will restore confidence in government and reclaim public assets that were illegal sold out in a mischievous manner for the purpose of self enrichment by officials and supporters in the previous administration.
Although many have interpreted the action as witch-hunt, Governor Mutfwang has his mandate clearly cut: Return Plateau from the precipice and make it great again. The Time is now to unite and make Plateau great. Together, we are greater as a people, the Time Is Now!
Gyang Bere is the Director of Press and Public Affairs to Governor Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang.
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