Plateau: Expectations as Mutfwang unveils plans

From Jude Dangwam, Jos

On Monday, May 29, 2023, Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang took the oath of office as the new Governor of Plateau State alongside his Deputy, Mrs. Josephine Piyo, pledging to be governor for all.

Amid excitement by a mammoth crowd who gathered to witness the epoch event, Mutfwang said he doesn’t care what tribe, religion or political affiliation anybody may belong to. He said as long as such persons live in Plateau, and are indeed in love with the state, they shall continue to be considered as brothers and sisters.

He noted that the drive would serve as the new orientation for peaceful coexistence against the deliberate plans by enemies of the state to paint the people negatively, warning that those who would not be at home with the new position would be isolated and made irrelevant in the new Plateau.

He made the promise during his inaugural address to the citizens of Plateau State, as he reeled out his blueprint and priorities in the short and long term period. He noted that his first official functions would include the revival of the State Security Outfit known as Operation Rainbow to complement the federal security agencies; strengthening the mechanism of peaceful coexistence through the peace-building agency; provision of fertilizer and a clean environment, with a declaration of a state of emergency on environmental sanitation.

Mutfwang who is the sixth democratically elected governor of Plateau State promised to take some hard decisions without hesitation so as to close the widening cracks that have plunged the state into murky waters, leaving behind its trail, songs of sorrow, agony, despair and excruciating pains among the people.

His political philosophy of rebuilding the broken walls of Plateau to pave way for a conducive atmosphere, where citizens will carry out their day-to-day activities devoid of impediment, has left no one in doubt that the people of Plateau made a popular and right choice, as they all turned out in their numbers leaving behind their businesses for the inauguration that metamorphosed into a carnival of green and white caps.

The governor was bold to make a statement of caution to those who abused the accommodative spirit of the Plateau man. He said: “I make bold to say that no other community of peoples is as accommodating and welcoming as the people of Plateau. All we ask is that those who live within the borders of Plateau should live with us in peace, and with utmost respect for our values and traditions. As we sang during the campaigns, I don’t care what tribe you belong to, but as long as you live on the Plateau and you are in love with the Plateau, you’re my brother/sister. This is the new orientation we must strive to project in the days ahead, which is that everyone who loves Plateau and especially anyone who lives within her borders is my brother/sister irrespective of tongue or creed.”

Mutfwang added, “I, therefore, call on all of us, who truly love the Plateau to embrace peace and look out for the well-being of one another. I enjoin us to let go of the hate and distrust of the past and embrace the brotherliness that our dear state is known for. We must learn from Rwanda; despite the crises and internal wars that engulfed the country in the past, it has turned itself around to become peaceful, prosperous and a choice destination in Africa.

“However, we know that there are persons who do not seek the welfare of the Plateau. They preach and fan the embers of hatred. They stood by unconcerned when our people were murdered in cold blood. They even callously labeled such genocide as ‘farmers /herders clash’ to the chagrin of the whole world.

“In the spirit of the new Plateau, we shall give them an opportunity to repent and redeem themselves. If they fail, God will give us the wisdom to isolate and make them unworthy of recognition in the new Plateau we have embarked on building. I must also sound a note of warning to others who converted these waves of attacks as excuses for committing crime by stealing or sometimes putting innocent persons in jeopardy in the name of revenge to know that this would no longer be tolerated.”

The governor maintained that he and his deputy, Mrs Piyo, are focused and single-minded in their quest to bequeath rich legacies to their successors and successive generations; legacies that will live long in the hearts of their people. He said they were committed to the security of lives and property, which is of great importance to them as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“It is our topmost priority because it is the foundation that gives birth to all forms of growth and development. The many years of human misery, despair, hopelessness and pains that our people have gone through and are still going through must end. Under my watch, by the grace of God, no Plateau indigene will continue to live in camps but in a place of their choice. We call on our true friends and development partners to rally round us in this great hour of need.

“By the grace of God, we will work within the constitutional provisions to defend and secure our state using multifaceted approaches. We will, as a matter of urgency, revive and equip the state security outfit ‘Operation Rainbow,’ to augment the existing national security apparatus. While we salute the gallantry of some of the officers and men of the various security agencies, there have been a few bad eggs that have tarnished their image.

“Under this administration, we will fish out and expose such persons. For those who will lay down their lives to protect our people, we promise to stand with them and appreciate them sincerely. We shall collaborate with critical stakeholders within and outside the state, through the constitutional provisions, and institute a standing committee that will shoulder the responsibility for the resettlement of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

“We shall deepen the operations of Plateau Peace Building Agency (PPBA), and strengthen community relations, using mechanisms that promote mediation and dialogue-centred approach to conflict prevention and resolution. Fellow citizens, let me reaffirm that we shall explore all means possible within the constitutional provisions to secure our people,” he passionately stated.

The governor said he was conscious of the fact that he was elected as governor by the divine will of God, and the great determination of the people. “My dear compatriots, I wish to assure you that the government under my watch will be committed to peaceful coexistence and will work assiduously to secure the boundaries of Plateau State.

“I will be firm, but fair and just to all regardless of political, ethnic or religious inclination. We are peace loving people. That is who we are and that is our heritage. It was not a mistake that the state was christened ‘Home of Peace and Tourism.’ It is possible to live in peace because we have enjoyed peace for decades. Our state is a choice destination in Nigeria and it will remain so. The land is beautiful and the weather is serene, second to none. My government shall ensure that visitors, tourists and investors, enjoy their stay; visit tourist sites of their interest and carry out their legitimate businesses in a peaceful and serene environment.

“Fairness, equity and justice shall be our watchwords. Criminal elements/invaders hell-bent on destruction will be decisively dealt with. Also, crisis merchants will not go unpunished. We shall be strong on the rule of law to ensure that criminality under whatever guise is curtailed. It is also necessary to reassert that campaigns are over and the gear has shifted to governance. Let us join hands despite our political differences to build the Plateau of our dreams. Again, I extend a hand of friendship to the governorship candidates of other political parties in the last general elections, alongside their supporters to join me in the quest for a new Plateau,” he stated.

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