My appetite for greed has been trimmed, Plateau Governor-Elect, Mutfwang
Barrister Caleb Mutfwang, a former local government chairman of Mangu Local Government beat the trend of incumbent political parties winning their states in the March 18 2023 governorship election to emerge governor-elect of Plateau State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Mr Mutfwang who is coming into government with a background of law, politics and business, in this interview speaks on the present security challenges on the plateau and how they have squashed enterprise and community. He affirms his readiness to mobilise the people towards raising their potentials using a Public-Private-Partnership as a model to boost the entrepreneurial spirt on the plateau and rekindle the state’s lost glory as the home of peace and tourism.
Tasked on the tar of corruption that has tarnished his predecessors, he avers that under God that his appetite for greed has been trimmed and hopes to put forward a different narrative of coming and leaving government unsmeared.
He spoke in an interview on Channels Television and monitored by Saturday Vanguard;
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How are you settling down towards forming government after the election?
Like they say uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Since the declaration, we have been thinking, strategizing and putting our plans together. The weight of the assignment is beginning to dawn.
Are you up to the task?
Yes, by God’s grace, we are.
What gives you the impression that you have the capacity to run a state like Plateau?
I come in with empathy. My trajectory has been one that has prepared me for service. I have been a people-oriented person all my life and I have been in a position to bear the burden of people therefore, nothing prepares you in life than to know that people know they can trust you and that you will be there for them.
With the repeated killings on the Plateau, do you have an idea of what the problem is?
Unfortunately, sadly enough it is my local government. The people that have been killed are my people even though everybody on the Plateau are my people. Certainly, we knew all along that this was not going to be a walk in the park, this was not going to be an easy task and by the grace of God we are determined. One of the things we promised our people when we were campaigning was that we are going to demonstrate leadership and by that we are going to take some very tough decisions. We are going to look into the issues very dispassionately and we are going to confront the issues and come up with solutions.
Of course, I do not have the magic wand and by the grace of God, together with the people we are going to think through our issues and come up with home grown solutions that confront us. We are going to give leadership, we are going to show the people that we have the political will to take the decisions that are necessary to take the state forward.
What is the problem, who are these people doing the killing?
What has happened yesterday into today, and it would be an injustice to the people who were killed to call it a clash or a reprisal. I want to address it from the criminal angle of it. One of the things we promised our people is that we are going to be strong on the rule of law. It doesn’t matter on who commits crime irrespective of where you belong, we will have to deal with it headlong.
So, when you say genocide this is a clear attempt at clearing a group of people.
So, who are these people?
I can tell you that there has been a lot of banditry around the plateau, it didn’t start today. It’s been going on for years and a lot of communities today have been wiped out. I can tell you that at the last count that we had about 64 communities that had been displaced, now in IDP camps.
Who are the people behind these genocidal acts?
At this point in time, I need to be careful because I am not the chief executive. There is a sitting government and I would want to respect the government in power to be able to disseminate the right information. I do not have the authority to disclose a lot of security issues at the moment because the rightful person to receive and disclose them is the governor on seat. Let me respect that.
But I can assure you that these people were people who were brought in from outside those communities.
Are these Nigerians?
I do not have exact details to give you at the moment. But all the years down the line, a lot of their identities have revealed that these are not Nigerians and that they have been brought in as foreign mercenaries and they overrun these territories and sometimes of course, it is difficult to disabuse the minds of people that they are not in collusion with some of the people who are resident or around those communities.
Why do they do these things?
The purpose of those who perpetrate the attack may just be because they are merceanires and hirelings. But I want to ask who is the person who is sponsoring them? Who is instigating them and what is his aim? Sometimes it is difficult to disabuse your mind that this is not about land grabbing. In the communities from where people have been displaced now, it is not as if they have been left vacant, some people are occupying them. It is difficult not to ask those questions, what is the motive of those invaders or the sponsors of the invaders.
We think that it has a lot to do with land grabbing and with demarketing of the state.
Again, I can tell you that the security situation on the plateau has not been the worst in the North, but there has been a lot of demarketing of the Plateau and sometimes I find it deliberate and a lot skewed narratives that tries to make people to be scared of coming into Plateau. The truth is that, yes, there have been attacks but not as you have in Kaduna State but you see that businesses are thriving in Kaduna while some people have the perception that Jos is a no go area which is not true.
Is this ethnic or religious?
You have to look at it from a multifaceted dimension. There are a lot of economic benefits people stand to gain because even criminality has an economic dividend and you have to look at it from the political point of view to try to subjugate. I do not want to celebrate religion because I do not think that those who maim and kill … only use religion as a pretence but not that they want to advance their religion. A lot of times when people are looking for political oxygen you find that they now fan these embers of hatred around religion and ethnicity to be able to find space within the polity.
What we see is that there is a deliberate plan to dislocate the people to be able to take over the land for other purposes.
Against the background of past prosecution of governors including a governor of Plateau State can you give the people of Plateau that Caleb Mutfwang won’t be the type of governor who would steal their money?
I can tell Plateau people with all confidence under God, my conscience is clear. I am determined to come into government clean and leave clean. I am going to ensure that we get value for money and I am going to ensure that we keep watch over the commonwealth that our people have entrusted into our care.
By the grace of God, my appetite for greed has been trimmed and I can assure you that I am not going there for stealing, I am only going there to ensure that Plateau works.
Will you look into the books of the government that is outgoing?
We will do the normal thing in the normal course of business. If anybody is found wanting? We certainly will call him to order, we will call him to account.