- Samson Omale
MUTFWANG'S PLATEAU: GREAT EXPECTATIONS
By Chris Gyang
The drums are silent. The spontaneous celebrations that greeted the announcement of Caleb Mutfwang as winner of the March 18 Plateau State gubernatorial election are over. At least for now.
It is time to start strategizing for governance. Serious governance.
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. In Plateau State, the crown will be studded with thorns for the in-coming governor. The burdens he will inherit will be enormous and the weight of expectations of citizens is incredibly heavy, to say the least.
Victory, like the sweet smelling rose, attracts butterflies, other insects, even bees. Which sting. The governor-elect must apply wisdom and discernment to distinguish harmless insects from those that sting. These have the potential of inflicting pain and derailing his vision for this state which has suffered so much in the last eight years.
Political analysts suggest that he must stamp his foot down and not allow political jobbers, the bees, poison him into stupor, failure. The good thing, however, is that even his ardent critics and detractors agree that he possesses the grit to withstand all negative forces and confidently march on to meet the yearnings of citizens.
But have no doubt about this: the nature and prospects of a new government can be assessed by its initial steps. Therefore, Mutfwang should be very circumspect in the first steps he takes. Especially in the coming days when the heat will be on him as he begins assembling his team.
Is it better to step on toes now and attain success ultimately than pander to the whims of self-serving individuals now and reap the sour rewards later? Would a courageous and resolute leader not mind stepping on some toes here and there to pull through his vision? Some say that that would amount to political suicide. Perhaps?
Whatever be the case, Plateau State is on the brink today because in the last eight years it was saddled with a leadership that had no vision, lacked courage and was not decisive in handling critical matters of state. Barrister Mutfwang does not lack these requisite leadership qualities and values.
The buck always ends at the table of the leader, at the end of the day. But that is not all. All successes and failures also end up on his head. It is based on these that his tenure shall be finally adjudged to have either failed or succeeded.
At the end, the leader is left to himself, a solitary figure, to bear his own cross. He and he alone will account to God and man for his time on the exalted seat of power.
Then the butterflies, other insects and the bees would have already flown away to once again find another victim to suck, without any compunction whatsoever.
That is the cruel reality of leadership.
Surely, it is not all that glitters around Mutfwang at the moment that is gold. Therefore, he must studiously and dispassionately look about him and carefully select the seeds from the chaff. He must not fall into the quagmire of looking for familiar faces, considering personal relationships, giving in to the deceptions of eye-service merchants in apportionments key into and critical positions.
Of course, personal ties and such other considerations cannot be completely discountenanced while making appointments in a political system such as ours which thrives on patronage. But the overriding consideration should be merit and competence - if Plateau must move on from its current state of stasis.
Certainly, politicians, friends, bankers, businessmen and women, etc, would now be intensely lobbying and justling for plum political positions, contracts, government accounts and so on. Some will even set up 24-tents and lay siege at the residence and everywhere the governor-elect turns.
It is all part of the game, a necessary evil. But he must be able to see beyond the veils of self-seeking individuals and groups for whom access to power and its perks is nothing but an enterprise in self-enrichment.
Which is why Plateau State has been adrift in the last eight years. Mutfwang must avoid that destructive cesspit.
Social commentators assert that his job was distinctly cut out for him that fateful day the results were announced. There were unprecedented celebrations within and outside the state, even among Plateau citizens and other Nigerians in The Diaspora.
This is because of the strategic place Plateau occupies in the geo-politics of Nigeria, especially in core northern Nigeria.
Have we forgotten the efficacy of prayers on the Plateau? During the kick-off of the PDP campaigns at Shendam, Baba Jang knelt, prayed and made supplications on behalf of the people and state. In this most trying moment in the annals of the state, citizens must seek God's face for forbearance and forgiveness, both Muslims and Christians.
That should be the starting point in this endeavour to set things right in this devastated land.
There is an urgent need for divine intervention as the next government takes over. No doubt, the state has been taken to the alters of strange gods and exposed to forces and principalities.
Plateau citizens have confidently placed their destiny in the hands of Mutfwang for renewal. They are rest assured that he will handle it with love, compassion and courage.
Time without number, he has shown that, indeed, he will not allow it slip from his fingers, fall and break.
They are certain that, despite the frightening and grim challenges on ground, their great expectations will be met - through diligent leadership and management of abundant human and scarce material resources.
(GYANG is the Chairman of the N.G.O, Journalists Coalition for Citizens’ Rights Initiative – JCCRI. Emails: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org)