BY GYANG BERE
In the course of the electioneering campaigns, the then gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Barr Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang traversed the length and breadth of the state. All through, he did not hide his feelings about what he wanted to do for the teeming youths in the state, if he won the election.
Realizing the youthful potentials that abound in the state, he repeatedly told the cheering crowd in all communities he and his team visited, that they will be well represented and utilized if the party won. Three months after his victory and inauguration as governor, the governor has lived up to expectation.
The vociferous advocates of youth inclusiveness in the state have been rewarded in more ways than they had expected by the government of Mutfwang. The singular act must have reassured them of the importance attached to their roles and indeed how such could impact positively on the state’s development.
On August 4, 2023, Governor Caleb Mutfwang swore in a set of commissioners into the State Executive Council. They are meant to superintend over the affairs of ministries in the state civil service, as well as give direction to his mission and vision in the saddle as Governor of Plateau State.
As often, there are sufficient reasons for the people of the state as well as the government to expect more from the new appointees. Just coming from a tempestuous election; and the dire need for development in the state, there is more to expect from them. The mammoth crowd that converged on the venue appreciated the enormity of what took place; it wasn’t for the fun of it that people from all walks of life came to witness the event.
Given that it was one of the major outings of the government, it was not unexpected; the quality and caliber of quests at the event announced the seriousness attached to it. They came to celebrate excellence in the persons chosen by the governor; who, in turn will assist change the story of the state through the service they will offer.
The euphoria of the speech during the swearing-in ceremony by the governor had hardly died than his political appointees were urged to prioritize teamwork and join forces to preserve and safeguard the rich heritage of Plateau. ‘For me, this is a call for dedicated service rather than personal aspirations. I implore you all to embrace a fresh mindset that underscores our shared objective at this juncture: the betterment of Plateau State.’
The meeting with all political appointees in the State, at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Lodge, Old Government House, Rayfield, Jos, Governor Mutfwang is a clarion call to join hands to advance the well-being of Plateau State. By all means, this is a privilege and opportunity to serve the people rather than a pursuit of personal ambitions.
Taking a long look at the new commissioners, one thing that runs through the gamut of the lot is their youthful age; seen to be imbued with capacity to walk the length of the journey; but more importantly, they came with the mentality of working towards achieving the goals the head of the vision has for the state.
As political head of their respective ministries, many in the past had thought that a posting to certain ministries is akin to being sent to Siberia. That warped mentality still subsists amongst our people. The costly assumption that ministries are graded may have led appointees in the past to believe that not much could take place in all of them.
We have since passed the era when commissioners are seen as lords. They are but purveyors of ideas that should drive togetherness to achieve sustainable development in the state. Such ideas could be used to open the path to survive current harsh economic terrain; so long as they come with workable solutions to Plateau problems.
All ministries are responsible to the people; if they are not they would not have been in existence. It is not the ministry that makes the commissioner, methinks it is the commissioner that makes the ministry; so long as we are aware that ideas rule the world.
The appointees are coming on board with fresh ideas, as the governor is aware of what they can add to the vision he has for the state. Given their youthfulness; and having been painstakingly chosen from a pack, they are not oblivious of what is expected from them.
The combination of what the governor has assembled, if anything is representative of the choice the state has made for the future. The fact that the governor is a man of ideas is noticed in his choice. They have no reason to fail; after all, Governor Mutfwang has warned anyone found wanting in discharging his duties may be shown the exit door.
It was not a threat, rather, they needed to know, that an opportunity has availed itself for them to showcase their capacity in developing the state. In the past, some commissioners get into office without an idea of what to do to drive the vision of the governor. If they can’t add any value in transforming Plateau State, a lot would be said about the government and its mission.
The present crop of commissioners would need the media like they have never done before. They need to sell government activities, failures and its achievements. Gone are the days when government is performing, while the doors of its commissioners are shut to the public. A partnership between the media and government for the people of Plateau State should be seen as a roadmap for progress.
While other states have made progress and have moved forward, the new set should see themselves as architects of a new Plateau where ideas will be used to push the frontiers of service and development. The room for innovation in handling the demands of their assignment would keep the aspirations of Plateau people justifiably high.
That being the case, it is therefore expected that this set of commissioners must see themselves as drivers of a vision, much more than for the glamour and privileges associated with their office. They are aware they have a huge task ahead of them; it should not be business as usual.
No doubt, the Caleb Mutfwang ‘administration inherited a state which psyche has been assaulted by an avalanche of crisis and which needed healing to get back on track.’ To get things working again, the government created space for inclusion, so that the feeling of alienation hitherto observed to have held the state captive is removed through giving a sense of belonging to all sections.
Already, it is common knowledge that the governor is doing all that is humanly possible to unite communities through dialogue and integration. Realizing that enough damage has been done by bandits in some local government areas over time, therefore, resolving knotty issues of living together has been pursued with no less vigor and determination.
Determined like none, the governor has rightly insisted that he does not want Plateau State ‘as a crisis prone state’. He has reached out to as many stakeholders as possible to put a stop to the killings in the state; particularly the central government and security chiefs as well as community leaders to get a buy-in for the initiative for an end to the blood-letting.
One of the greatest challenges of government presently is lack of funds to execute projects and offer services to the people. There are numerous competing demands for finance; hence the need to ensure that internally generated revenue takes center stage. There are lots of untapped revenue sources which have been neglected over the years
Their appointment is a call to service and an opportunity to help advance the frontiers of development in the state. They must work for all and not hold allegiance to whatever interest which may have influenced their appointments.
As they settle down to business, they have the leverage and opportunity to consult widely so as to ensure that they carry more people along as they administer the affairs of the ministries and agencies.
But as they settle down to business, the people must be mindful of how not to exert unnecessary pressure or demands on them. They must not divert their focus and attention from doing what they were entrusted with.
The need to establish a strong and united team that collaborates diligently, inspiring each other toward the realization of a united and prosperous Plateau at this point of the state’s history comes in handy. To recognize the equal importance of each office, emphasizing that every role is designed to address the needs of society, cannot have come at a better time than now.
Each of them is coming with sufficient energy for the job. Furthermore, if they leverage on their extensive experience to propel Plateau State into a new era of significant development, their appointments would have been substantiated.
According to the governor, ‘leadership is not merely a little, but a responsibility that demands action, resilience, and decisiveness’. It is in this regard that he appealed ‘to each one of you to take this responsibility seriously, as there are numerous challenges in our society that require our attention and correction. Let us unite for the greater good and well-being of the people of Plateau State,” he had told them matter of fact. How better can this be said!
Gyang Bere is Director of Press and Public Affairs to Governor Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang
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