Gov. Caleb Mutfwang: When Diligence Guides Governance, By Emmanuel Onwubiko 

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Emmanuel Onwubiko
Around June of last year, in the heat of the intensive,  crushing and very massive campaigns, political intrigues and covert/overt negotiations in political circles concerning who should emerge as the heads of the Federal House of Representatives and the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, yours faithfully, was compelled by the urgency of that moment, to abridge a three weeks vacation in far-away United Kingdom to return to Nigeria’s federal capital and present myself live at the studio of one of Africa’s most glamorous television stations: Channels TV.
The truth is that, I  had barely settled down in Great Britain for my 2023 annual vacation and had spent only a week out of my scheduled three weeks, when I got the invitation to return to Nigeria to contribute to the media debates on the best possible leaders of the national legislature.
As I made to exit the studio after a very heated 45 minutes live debate on the merit or otherwise of the choice of Senator Godswill Akpabio by President Bola Tinubu as the Senate president of the then soon to be inaugurated 10th session of the National Assembly by all means as against allowing for a free, fair, transparent and accountable electoral process by the Senators to select their own leadership without external influences, I met this well built smiling man that was being ushered into the same studio to be interviewed in the next interview session coming up just next after ours.
We greeted for less than a minute and he entered the studio whilst I and my office manager who accompanied me to that television studio around late evening, disappeared into our car and left for our respective homes. That sighting was my first time of meeting the current Plateau State governor.
I remember saying it loud and clear face to face to his hearing, that he must be resolute, determined and forthright as Plateau state governor and to not allow externally imported armed herders to destroy the beautiful state of Plateau people: some of the most generous and hospitable Nigerians alive.
He gave me a friendly smile, but said nothing in response. Apparently,  his smiling silence represents what is generally stated that ‘actions speak louder than words.’
In the few words of this essay, I will demonstrate the fact that within his first few months as the governor of Plateau State, this gentleman has shown that he is a gentle giant who is determined to instil discipline and good governance and a man who is in a hurry to do whatever is practicable to restore peace, stability, economic growth and respectability to the government and people of Plateau state: a state that its capital city of Jos is home to all genres of Nigerians because of the large heartedness of the natives to accomodate visitors to their communities that virtually share similar weather and climatic conditions with Europe especially in the area of COLD.
Yours faithfully got a one year scholarship from the then deputy governor of Kaduna state Engineer Steven Shekari, now late, to do an abridged postgraduate diploma programme in journalism at the prestigious Nigerian institute of Journalism, Jos campus. I was then a reporter with the Jos,  Plateau state based Nigerian Standards newspaper whose Managing Durector was Sir. Joe Ari who gave me that employment. Nigerian Standards is owned by the government and people of Plateau state. And working in the Stabsards Newspapers of Jos  was my first real employment in the media industry before i left to join The Guardian newspapers fortuitously.
Now, the following is the real essay.
Plateau State, nestled in the heart of Nigeria, has weathered its fair share of political storms and security challenges. Leading the charge through these tumultuous times is Governor Caleb Mutfwang, a figure of resilience and fortitude. His journey through the labyrinth of legal battles, coupled with his unwavering efforts to tackle insecurity and foster economic growth, is shaping his tenure as a beacon of hope for the future of Plateau State.
Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang was inaugurated as the sixth democratically elected Governor of Plateau State, amidst jubilant celebrations at the Rwang Pam Township Stadium in Jos. In his inaugural address, Governor Mutfwang expressed gratitude to God and the people of Plateau State for the opportunity to serve. He emphasized a vision for a peaceful and prosperous Plateau, pledging to unite the diverse communities of the state.
Acknowledging the challenges ahead, including a significant debt burden and ailing healthcare and education systems, Governor Mutfwang promised to tackle these issues head-on. He highlighted the importance of peace and security, particularly in regions affected by violence, and vowed to hold perpetrators of criminal acts accountable.
Governor Mutfwang outlined key thematic areas for his administration, including peace and security, economic development, agriculture, tourism, mining, commerce, sports, digital economy, youth and women empowerment, education, healthcare, and infrastructure. He emphasized the need for collaboration with stakeholders and the implementation of policies to drive growth and development.
*A Legal Odyssey:*
Governor Mutfwang’s rise to power was met with legal hurdles and political maneuvering. Despite emerging victorious in the 2023 governorship election, his triumph was swiftly contested in court by his adversaries. The Court of Appeal’s unexpected decision to nullify his mandate in November 2023 dealt a severe blow. However, Governor Mutfwang refused to be deterred, opting to challenge the ruling in the highest court of the land.
In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of Nigeria brought closure to the prolonged electoral dispute that had cast a shadow over Governor Caleb Mutfwang’s tenure in Plateau State. The verdict, delivered on Friday, January 12, 2024, upheld Governor Mutfwang’s victory in the fiercely contested March 2023 governorship election, effectively reinstating his mandate, which had been called into question following a contentious decision by the Court of Appeal.
Governor Mutfwang, a stalwart of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), clinched victory in the election, securing 525,299 votes to defeat his closest rival, Yilwatda of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who garnered 481,370 votes. However, the euphoria surrounding his electoral success was short-lived as the Court of Appeal, in a surprising turn of events, overturned his win on grounds of alleged procedural irregularities related to party congresses.
The crux of the legal battle revolved around a directive from the Plateau State High Court regarding the conduct of fresh congresses by the PDP ahead of the gubernatorial primaries. The Court of Appeal’s decision to invalidate Governor Mutfwang’s victory was anchored on the purported non-compliance with this directive. However, the Supreme Court, in its wisdom, discerned that this issue fell beyond the purview of the appellate court, stressing that the validity of party nominations did not warrant the annulment of an election.
In a scathing indictment of the appellate court’s ruling, the Supreme Court justices emphasized the paramount importance of upholding legal principles and refraining from overstepping jurisdictional boundaries. Justice Agim, delivering the verdict, highlighted the fundamental errors made by the Court of Appeal, including the improper shifting of the burden of proof onto Governor Mutfwang. The justices unanimously concurred that the appeal was meritorious, thereby overturning the decision of the lower court and reaffirming Governor Mutfwang’s victory.
Governor Mutfwang’s path to vindication was marked by unwavering determination and resilience. Despite the legal setbacks and the cloud of uncertainty they cast, Governor Mutfwang remained steadfast in his commitment to serving the people of Plateau State. His unwavering faith in the judicial process and his resilience in the face of adversity have earned him widespread admiration and respect.
The Supreme Court’s ruling not only validated Governor Mutfwang’s electoral triumph but also underscored the primacy of the rule of law. It sent a resounding message that justice will prevail, irrespective of the obstacles encountered along the way. With the legal saga now behind him, Governor Mutfwang can now focus wholeheartedly on the task of governance, emboldened by the legitimacy of his mandate and empowered to pursue his vision for the development and prosperity of Plateau State.
*Challenges of Insecurity and Restoring Peace:*
Plateau State has long been plagued by persistent insecurity, exacerbated by external influences and terrorist activities targeting indigenous tribes. Governor Caleb Mutfwang inherited a state mired in violence and displacement, with the recent massacre in Mangu LGA serving as a grim reminder of the urgent need for decisive action.
Recognizing the intricate link between drug abuse and insecurity, Governor Mutfwang declared war on illicit drug trafficking, pledging to dismantle criminal networks and restore peace to Plateau State. His administration adopted a comprehensive approach, blending law enforcement measures with community engagement and socio-economic development initiatives to address the root causes of conflict and foster enduring stability.
In the wake of recent attacks claiming the lives of over 200 residents, including a devastating assault on communities in Mangu LGA where over 27 individuals were reportedly brutally killed, Governor Mutfwang sounded the alarm on the role of illicit drug abuse in exacerbating the state’s insecurity. During a visit to the affected LGA, he attributed the spate of killings to drug-related activities, emphasizing the imperative of putting an end to illicit drug peddling.
“The involvement of drugs is evident, and this is a critical issue that we must confront head-on to tackle the drug menace plaguing our society,” Governor Mutfwang declared, underscoring his administration’s commitment to rooting out drug traffickers and purveyors.
Addressing community leaders and residents at the palace of the paramount ruler of Mwaghavul, Governor Mutfwang expressed profound sorrow and outrage at the wanton loss of life. “I am deeply grieved by the senseless violence that has claimed the lives of innocent victims,” he lamented, emphasizing the need for unity in the face of adversity.
“We must stand united against those who seek to tear us apart,” he urged. “Our youth must resist the temptation to take matters into their own hands, and we must all work together to ensure that criminals find no refuge in our midst.”
In response to the escalating security crisis, Governor Mutfwang announced the relaxation of the 24-hour curfew previously imposed on Mangu, with the revised curfew now in effect from 4 pm to 8 am until further notice. This measured approach aims to balance security concerns with the need to minimize disruptions to daily life and economic activities in the affected area.
As Plateau State grapples with the scourge of insecurity fueled by illicit drug trafficking and other nefarious activities, Governor Mutfwang’s steadfast leadership and decisive actions offer a beacon of hope in the quest for peace and stability. With concerted efforts and unwavering resolve, the state remains poised to overcome its challenges and emerge stronger than ever before.
Again, Governor Mutfwang’s administration acknowledged that achieving peace and stability in Plateau State necessitated a comprehensive strategy addressing the underlying socio-economic factors fueling insecurity. In addition to law enforcement measures, the government prioritized community engagement and conflict resolution initiatives.
Governor Mutfwang personally traversed areas affected by violence, lending a listening ear to the grievances of residents and collaborating with local leaders to chart pathways to reconciliation. His commitment to inclusivity and dialogue fostered trust among diverse communities and laid the groundwork for sustainable peacebuilding efforts.
Moreover, Governor Mutfwang championed the empowerment of youth and women as pivotal agents of peace and development. Through targeted programs and partnerships with civil society organizations, his administration provided vocational training, entrepreneurship opportunities, and access to education for vulnerable populations. By investing in human capital and creating avenues for economic empowerment, Governor Mutfwang aimed to address the underlying drivers of conflict and cultivate a more resilient society.
Furthermore, recognizing the pivotal role of traditional institutions in conflict resolution and community governance, Governor Mutfwang bolstered collaboration with traditional rulers and religious leaders. These partnerships facilitated the dissemination of peace messaging, mediation of disputes, and promotion of inter-communal harmony. By harnessing the influence and authority of traditional institutions, Governor Mutfwang reinforced the social fabric of Plateau State and nurtured a culture of tolerance and coexistence.
*Driving Economic Growth and Industrialization:*
Amidst the security challenges, Governor Mutfwang has remained steadfast in his pursuit of economic growth and industrialization. Recognizing Plateau State’s untapped potential, his administration rolled out initiatives to attract investment, stimulate job creation, and rejuvenate key sectors of the economy. Infrastructure projects that had languished were revitalized, while new ventures were launched to harness the state’s natural resources and human capital. Governor Mutfwang’s focus on diversification and innovation positioned Plateau State as a dynamic player in Nigeria’s economic landscape, driving sustainable development and prosperity for all its citizens.
Addressing environmental concerns, Governor Mutfwang declared a state of emergency on environmental sanitation in Jos North and Jos South Local Government Areas, signaling his administration’s commitment to tackling waste management and urban development challenges.
One of Governor Mutfwang’s flagship initiatives was a comprehensive roadmap for inclusive growth and prosperity. Developed in collaboration with stakeholders from the public and private sectors, academia, and civil society, the roadmap outlined strategic priorities and actionable strategies for driving economic transformation. Key focus areas included agriculture and agribusiness, mining and solid minerals development, tourism and hospitality, ICT and innovation, and infrastructure development.
To support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs, Governor Mutfwang’s administration through the Plateau State Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (PLASMEDA) is providing financial assistance, technical support, and capacity-building programs to SMEs, enabling them to thrive and contribute to job creation and wealth generation.
Furthermore, Governor Mutfwang has continued to pursue strategic partnerships and collaborations with local and international investors to catalyze industrialization and unlock the full potential of Plateau State’s economy. Through initiatives such as the Plateau State Investment Promotion Agency (PSIPA) and the Plateau State Industrial Park, the Governor hopes to streamline investment processes, provide incentives, and create conducive business environments for investors.
Conclusion:
Governor Caleb Mutfwang’s leadership in Plateau State epitomizes resilience, vision, and transformative governance. From navigating legal challenges to addressing security threats and driving economic growth, his administration has made significant strides in advancing the welfare and prosperity of the people.
By prioritizing peacebuilding, inclusivity, and sustainable development, Governor Mutfwang has laid a solid foundation for a brighter future for Plateau State. As the state continues on its trajectory of progress and prosperity, Governor Mutfwang’s legacy will endure as a testament to the power of leadership, determination, and service to the people.
As a leader who understands the meaning and usefulness of peace building as a necessary step towards economic emancipation of his people, it is generally expected that the Plateau State governor will keep to his determination to deliver good governance to his people and still maintain his natural attributes of gentleness and cheerfulness as he is well known for by his admirers and even by his political rivals.
Emmanuel Onwubiko Writes From Abuja.

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