BEING THE TEXT OF A STATE BROADCAST BY HIS EXCELLENCY, BARR CALEB MANASSEH MUTFWANG, EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF PLATEAU STATE, ON THE CURRENT POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN THE STATE.
Date: 18th September 2023
My dear people of Plateau State,
It is always a joy and honour to address you as your chosen Governor. Let me start by restating that I count it a great privilege and honour to be bestowed with this sacred trust of serving you as Governor. I give God all the glory and do not take for granted your collective decision to have me lead you at this critical time. As a testimony of my gratitude, I wish to re-affirm my unwavering commitment to work tirelessly for our collective good and progress.
I am glad to address you today out of the need to keep you updated on our efforts towards rebuilding the foundations of our dear state. You will recall that I have stated at several fora that upon being sworn-in, we met a state in dire need of attention and repair with so many institutional and physical structures at the verge of collapse. This is in spite of the beautiful and blessed land bequeathed to us by God with abundant human and natural resources. Our potential for growth and development is huge with limitless opportunities.
The remembrance of your uncommon celebrations since my lawful declaration as Governor of this Great State, ensured that my team and I decided to hit the ground running, by urgently undertaking certain efforts to retrace our steps and correct fault lines left by the administration we took over from. Of course, we have never been under any illusion that our job will be easy. That is why we decided not to complain or dwell on blaming the previous administration for the appalling state in which we met things.
However, as your leader in service, I owe you a duty and responsibility to regularly update you on the state of affairs as we continue to put in place the right approaches and strategies to ameliorate the challenges we face.
Among the issues we have been tackling since assumption of office, was the heightened security challenges and renewed attacks in some Local Governments on the eve of our swearing in that confronted us in the face; an over bloated civil service with some questionable appointments on the eve of elections; 4 months backlog of salaries remained unpaid to civil servants. A huge debt profile which exerts pressure on every income of the state and; A Jos metropolis in dire need of urgent cleaning, reorganisation and repairs.
We inherited a state engulfed in daily renewed attacks of our beloved ones, civil servants were on strike due to unpaid salaries in the neighourhood of N11bn and unfulfilled obligations. The debt burden was in excess of N300 billion, constituting huge debt servicing burdens. Indeed, the problems were enormous.
Regardless, we have so far put in place mechanisms to restore peace in the state and due process in the civil service, correct employment maleficence, appointments and placement irregularities saving Plateau people a significant amount of money monthly, that hitherto went into the private pockets of some corrupt individuals who have been shortchanging and robbing the state through ghost workers and other illicit schemes deployed. We were not surprised when those benefitting from this criminality, sponsored elements on a social media smear campaign targeted at us, all in a bid to veil their terrible actions. We have set the machinery of the law in motion and it will soon take its course in bringing such individuals to account. After a painstaking process of identifying these leakages, we cleared the backlog of salaries and have paid up to July 2023, while that of August will commence in the coming days.
By the Grace of God, the daily attacks on our people have significantly reduced. I must at this point express gratitude to His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, who granted me audience within his early days in office during which His Excellency immediately made a commitment to address the security challenges in our state. I sincerely appreciate Mr. President for the support provided so far and look forward to sustained collaboration with the Federal Government towards eliminating all security challenges on the Plateau.
I want to also extend appreciation to all security agencies for their cooperation and immediate response to the isolated attacks. I want to seize this opportunity to specifically express appreciation to the Chief of Defense Staff; General Christopher Musa, Chief of Army Staff; Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, Chief of the Air Staff; Air Vice Marshall Hassan Abubakar, Inspector General of Police; Egbetokun Olukayode Adeolu, PhD, Director General of the DSS; Mr. Yusuf Magaji Bichi, Commandant General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps; CG Ahmed Audi, and other security chiefs and operatives for their patriotism and professionalism which has allowed us to cultivate about 900 hectares of land of attacked communities.
Significant progress is also being made by my administration through the Plateau State Direct Labour Agency in road maintenance across Jos-Bukuru metropolis. Several roads are undergoing maintenance to ensure their utility whereas, and as professionally advised; road renewal projects will commence in the dry season to ensure durability of constructed infrastructure. Furthermore, the Jos metropolis is wearing a new outlook, following the evacuation of refuse heaps that had littered our neighborhoods. This will be sustained with the monthly sanitation exercise for which I encourage total compliance and active citizens’ participation. Our values of cleanliness must be upheld so that we reset our state to global standards of hygiene and tourism.
Fellow citizens, I am very aware the expectations are high. The celebrations that greeted my declaration as Executive Governor of Plateau State are a constant reminder that my team and I must not fail you. By the Grace of God, I dare say we cannot fail.
We have constituted the State Executive Council; several appointments have been made, while others are yet underway, towards providing a full complement for the vehicle of government to operate. Therefore, I enjoin you to keep faith with us as well as constructively engage with all government institutions as we refocus them to provide service to the people. I want to also implore you not to allow anything alter the trust and confidence you have in this administration. I owe Plateau a debt. A debt of good governance, for which my team and I intend to pay and that by God’s grace we shall.
As part of the efforts to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal on our people, work to reactivate rail transportation with the Greater Jos Master Plan, covering key locations within Jos-North and Jos South is ongoing. We are hopeful these services will commence soon and expansion across other parts of the state would also begin. Similarly, the 5-Billion-Naira palliative received from the Federal Government will also be distributed along a comprehensive and systematic format, upon broad consultations with stakeholders towards ensuring the most effective deployment and utility of the funds, as well as ensure the most disadvantaged among us receive support and care.
It has also become expedient to address the recent developments in our polity. We must not be tempted to throw away the baby and the bath water. We must continue to have faith in the Three Arms of Government, and believe that God will still use this great and necessary institution to affirm His will which you, my dear citizens, graciously and resoundingly expressed on March 18th this year.
Recent developments have generated and continue to generate unnecessary tensions between our people. We are not unaware of activities by some who are busy conspiring to scuttle the relative peace we are enjoying. We must not allow them! We must not allow ourselves to be provoked into making unguarded statements that will only overheat the polity. We must allow the lawful grievance resolution mechanisms to be brought to a logical conclusion in an atmosphere devoid of threats or tension as some of our saboteurs would love. As a government, we wish to restate our commitment to protecting lives and properties. We therefore assure all and sundry to go about their lawful duties without any fear or intimidation.
To my dear youths, I urge you not to allow people with unexplained wealth instigate you into violence. These are people who occupy positions of honour but are actually dishonourable. Unfortunately, their dubious wealth has not brought them the honour they crave for, hence their resolve to seek the destabilisation of our dear state. Doing the bidding of such miscreants mistaken for honourables will only ruin your God given potentials and destiny. I entreat you, flee from such leaders who preach and scheme evil. We must not allow the modest gains we have made in the last 3 months to be scuttled by utterances of a few rascals in our midst who found themselves in positions of honour they do not deserve!
At this juncture, I hereby appeal for calm and restraint. Do not pay attention to merchants of destabilisation who are bent on reversing the gains made so far.
As Chief Security Officer of Plateau State, let me sound a note of warning that; I will not tolerate any attempts at unsettling the peace of our dear state and hereby call on any individual or group (s) involved in such conspiracies to desist forthwith. Consequently security agencies are investigating various leads to track down the sponsors of crime and to promptly deal with any criminal tendencies. Let us maintain our focus on the path of unity, peace and development.
Let me appreciate the unwavering support I have enjoyed since assumption of office. I have never been under any illusion that I can run the state on my own capacity. Rebuilding the State requires collective action. We must be intentional and united in purpose towards building a Prosperous Plateau where everyone will dare to dream and succeed.
It is on this note therefore, that I call on everyone to journey with my team and I in this task of uniting and building a new prosperous Plateau, which will be at par with regional and global giants. Let me restate that the principles of equity, fairness and justice will continually be our watchwords. We shall continually be fair to all irrespective of party, ethnic or religious affiliation. Let me reassure you, dear citizens of Plateau that I will work assiduously to leave indelible marks, build on successes of the past administrations and set a new performance measurement standard for successive leaders.
Finally, let me offer special thanks for the support received from my Deputy, Her Excellency, Ngo Josephine Piyo, Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly, Members of the National Assembly, Commissioners and members of my cabinet, appointed office holders, all Plateau citizens within and outside Nigeria, making a difference and positively impacting the society, our dear supporters and most importantly you my fellow citizens. Plateau is ours to be proud of. Together, let us journey to greatness.
Once again, welcome to a new dispensation and welcome to a new Plateau. We are and shall remain committed to the Peace and Prosperity of our land.
The Time to Rebuild the Plateau of our dreams is Now! Let us not be provoked to give it away. The Time is Now!
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Long live Plateau State!
Thank You and God Bless.