GOV DARIUS, DO SOMETHING BEFORE YOU GO
By Williams Ayooso
By May 29, next year, the Executive Governor of Taraba State, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku will hand over to another governor that the ongoing electoral process will produce.
For Governor Ishaku, it will be a day of stock taking, at best, an event to herald his transition from one leadership stage to another. But for Tarabans, it will be a judgment day for Governor Darius. It will be a speech making event. And Tarabans will activate their curiosity on each breath in the Governor Ishaku’s speech. At the end of the ceremony, which would likely take place at the Jolly Nyame Stadium, people would go home either with a mindset of gratitude or blame. They would either be glad for what Governor Ishaku did as governor or they would go home, feeling that the Governor Ishaku’s led administration shortchanged their aspirations and their dream for a better Taraba. That is why it is a judgement day for Governor Ishaku.
It is expected that in his speech, the governor will obviously unravel some things in the catalogue of his achievements. The fly over and the six pedestrian Bridges will be one of them. Road projects, such as the Wukari-Tsokundi, Magami road network in Jalingo, the Pamanga to Dakka road, the Lacheke -Pantisawa road, the 6.5km Jalingo -Kona Road etc, will feature prominently in the list. In the health sector, the governor will promote the renovation and equipping of some hospitals across the state. The rescue mission agenda, an ideological base on whose wings the projects were anchored, will take the centre stage in the speech. This would be followed by the recruitment of rescue teachers.
The governor will also talk about the peace for development mantra which he has dissipated lots of energy trying to ram into the mental state of the people. This is where the governor’s speech cannot be predicted. Most Tarabans will be watching his lips to hear his perception, whether from the confines of his conscience and the space of his vision, Tarabans have given him the envisioned peace that he craved for, in order to attract the needed development for the state. It is not certain, whether at this juncture, he would blame Taraban for refusing to give him peace, a condition that he has given for the development of the state. But if the Governor says he has lived by his promise in rescuing the state in all facets of economy, many Tarabans will be surprised. Another paragraph or two will be dedicated to his laurels by corporate bodies for his meritorious awards for leadership excellence in some sectors of economy, including water, electricity, health and security.
Now, who said that, governor Ishaku did not perform? For close to eight years, there is hardly a governor that will not have achievements to promote. But the test of good leadership and governance, is embedded in the judgement of the governed, whether in their impression, the leadership purpose is served. Therefore, the onus of rating the performance profile of the Governor Ishaku led administration is now placed on the conscience scale of Tarabans. If in their impression, Governor Ishaku has done well, there is nothing that another person can say to the contrary.
However, there are some issues that curious Tarabans will be looking for in between the gaps of his speech’s flow. One of which is the multi-billion naira cucumber project, which was variously criticized as a wasteful venture. It’s possible that the site will still wear its gloomy and tearing face on the handover day. If this happens, those who agitated that the governor should be held responsible for plunging the state’s resources into the pit of unproductive investment will be vindicated.
What about the nosediving fortunes of the hitherto thriving Taraba State Civil Service. While states like Benue and Adamawa states had celebrated salary crisis during leadership transition, Taraba State was handed over to Ishaku on a platter of gold. If for anything, salaries were regular and they were never mortgaged on the infamous process of bank overdrafts as it is currently the case. He will also be expected to say something about the worsening security situation in the state, especially on those communities in Takum and Wukari LGAs that are displaced by communal crisis during his administration. Most forests in the Taraba North and Central are now havens for bandits who kidnap, kill and maim while the governor helplessly look on.
What about the heat and the hostility in the state’s political space? What about the collapse of inter religious and tribal harmony? At no time that Taraba was visibly and dangerously divided along religious, political and tribal lines. Already, some Tarabans have formed their opinions. They are saying that it has never being this bad since the creation of the state. People like the APCs Aaron Artimas, who predicted that poverty will kill Tarabans, if Gov Ishaku gets a second term are already demanding credit for their accurate prophecy.
In the achievement profile of Governor Darius Ishaku, there are many things to talk about. Unfortunately, they did not translate to a better life for Tarabans. The welfare of the people, which is unarguably the supreme law of governance is not served in this case. Deaths, arising from needless tribal crises, hunger and poverty related illnesses are fast depleting the state’s population, thereby, making the administration’s trumpeted achievements an irrelevant factor of development.
By his antecedents, knowledge and experience, Architect Darius Dickson Ishaku is supposed to be a global political icon, with an exemplary leadership dexterity to go with it. Unfortunately, this iconic image coupled with those achievements that he is likely comfortable with did not manifest in the quality of lives of ordinary Tarabans. The quality of his services delivery to Taraba, which he has provided for close to eight years now is far below average.
It is not out of place to predict that only few Tarabans will respond with enthusiasm like they use to do, if Gov Ishaku pumps his Daram! Dam! Dam! signature fist at the crowd of his handover day event, some will even run away.
This might be a belated counsel, as far the administration’s lifetime is concern. But there are few infractions that can be recovered, e.g., restoring the dignity of civil service and reuniting those Tarabans that are dangerously divided across, political, religious and tribal lines, etc.
By virtue of his office, Governor Ishaku possessed the needed capacity to reverse these insidious phenomenon that are pushing Taraba to the threshold of a failed state. Should this happened, Ishaku will be listed as the worst, among the governors that Taraba State has produced so far.
Please Governor Ishaku, do something before you go.
Williams Ayooso is a Jalingo based media practitioner