Today, the entire machinery of government in Plateau State has literally ground to a halt. This has been the situation since May 10 when civil servants finally commenced an industrial action, having given the administration several opportunities to redeem itself and meet their demands but to no avail.
Three months of unpaid salaries, years of piled-up promotions for deserving staff, lack of overheads for ministries, departments and agencies and nepotism in the appointment and promotion of officers, among other problems, combined to bring the state bureaucracy to its knees.
It is therefore no surprise that the state has continued to wobble through an absence of discernible, perceptible and effective policy frameworks for the overall progress of the state.
And because the earnings of civil servants contribute substantially to the revenue base of a large number of citizens, the multiplier effects of this strike on the general economy and well-being of the state can only be imagined.
Giving the civil service a new lease of life should be on the front burner of the aspirations of the government to be sworn in on May 29.
And, oh, there was also the recent massacre of innocent people in some communities of Mangu Local Government Area. This heightened the listlessness and apprehension already haunting large segments of the populace.
Those gory and apocalyptic scenes of sheer destruction, plunder and devastation of May 15 that shocked the world will torment mankind’s collective conscience for a long time to come.
Unfortunately, it is in these circumstances of jeopardy and lawlessness that Governor Simon Lalong will be handing over to Mr. Caleb Mutfwang in matter of hours from now.
We reiterate the suggestion we made in our last intervention that Mutfwang should declare a state of emergency on insecurity immediately he assumes office.
Plateau is at a standstill and in deep mourning. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. The underlying rot is even more horrid and putrid. But, essentially, this captures in very lurid strokes the very image and character of the state in the eight years that Lalong was governor.
Not that things have been markedly different in most other parts of the country. Ordinary citizens are suffocating under the sweltering and debilitating heat of crippling poverty, insecurity, lack of opportunities for personal advancement, illiteracy, etc., which have continued to mount even at the nasty twilight of an equally brutal administration.
Buhari, just like Lalong, is leaving behind a string of unfulfilled promises and monumental woes. Certainly, the judgement of history shall equally be harsh on them.
Analysts contend that Mutfwang is coming into office at this very critical moment when the state is facing existential threats on different fronts and of various hues. Therefore, the state is in dire need of rehabilitation just as its people crave for succour and healing.
Political pundits say that Mutfwang’s job has, to some extent, been cut out for him and immensely simplified: he must avoid the pitfalls and foibles of the last administration in order to make any meaningful headway.
He should also run away from all forces of mediocrity like The Plague and make self-abnegation and deference to the common and collective will and aspirations of the people an abiding and unbendable creed of his leadership.
Barely 72 hours hence, the good and long-suffering people of Plateau State will be bidding goodbye to eight long years of maladministration and squandered opportunities. They watched in utter horror and disbelief as almost all of those in and around the corridors of power carried on as if they would govern without end.
But, alas, the bells of the end are tolling in a most pernicious and forceful way. Such is the transience of power which man appears to be eternally cursed to overlook. Can we ever learn from our past mistakes? Anyway, this should be an entirely different topic for another day.
Today’s world is chiefly driven by original ideas and fast evolving body of knowledge. These factors leverage on the technological breakthroughs of this generation to move societies to greater heights.
Governments that make sustainable and tangible advances place these critical dynamics at the core of the key drivers of state policy.
The swearing-in ceremonies and celebrations may be somewhat muted (in obvious deference to the memories of the victims and survivors of the Mangu massacre). Nevertheless, there are strong indications that Plateau people are bubbling with renewed hope. Their morale is at an all-time high because they see a bright light at the end of this dark and frightening tunnel that was Plateau State in the last eight years.
This state, which well-earned and inspirational moniker is ‘Home of Peace and Tourism’, must rise from the ashes of the last eight years and reclaim its lost glory, beginning May 29. The strong aroma of the spirit and hope of a new and prosperous dawn are thick in the air.
Plateau citizens earnestly look forward to that leader, Mutfwang, who will inspire them into reaching out for that hope of renewal and the fresh, sweet, dawn it promises to bring.
Chris Gyang, Chairman, Journalists Coalition for Citizens’ Rights Initiative