Bala Dan Abu is the Special Assistant to Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State, on Media & Publicity. In this interview with Worldview’s Williams Ayooso, he spoke on some of the allegations against the Governor and what the Governor has in store for the people in his Second Rescue Mission Agenda, among other things.
There are concerns in Taraba State that the Governor has been absent in the state for too long. Do you have anything to say as to why the Governor is absent all this while?
The most important thing here is that the Governor is doing his job as the governor of Taraba state and he can work from anywhere in the country where ever he is. That is his office and teams are alongside him and I believe he is there in the interest of the state. That is why he is in Abuja attending to the paramount issues that will be of help to the state, and that has not stopped anything from moving. Activities are still going on in various projects. People are also paid their salaries. So I see no need for people to complain. Maybe the complaints seem to be coming from the media and I consider it unnecessary.
People are also of the opinion that the governor has been absent for more than 21 days which is the violation of the constitution. They are of the opinion that powers should be delegated to the Deputy Governor, what do you have to say about this?
There is nothing as such in the constitution. Ask those people to show you where it is written in the constitution that if the Governor is absent for 21 days in the state it becomes a constitutional violation. There is no such thing in the constitution.
Recently, the Nigerian envoy to Trinidad and Tobago, Hassan Ardo, accused the Governor for several wrong doings, ranging from operating a local Government care taker committee against the NIFU rules. He also mentioned some road projects that were initiated and abandoned and the money diverted. So we will like to hear from you too?
I will like you to be rather careful while listening to the people from APC in Taraba. This is because they distort a lot of facts and miss information. There is no iota of truth in whatever they say. Whether regarding the abandoning of projects or whatever. The government is focused and they have a mission to achieve and those things are clearly stated for people to see and they are also being pursued. I don’t know which wrong doings they are actually talking about. The interest of the people of Taraba state remains paramount to the governor and he is doing all things to ensure he increases the welfare of Tarabans. And nobody is complaining of government failure in any aspect, the government is very alive to its responsibilities.
What word of advice do you have for those that you feel are accusing Governor Darius wrongly?
We do not expect everybody in Taraba state to be a supporter of Governor Ishaku or the PDP. We are in a multiparty democracy. What we demand is that people should be very sincere with themselves and also be fair in their criticism of the government. They may not like the government in place because they would have preferred that their own candidates or persons are in such places. But unfortunately for them it’s not so. They should just be fair to the governor because he was elected by the masses to serve them and that is what he is doing exactly, just that people can never be satisfied. You put food inside their mouth but they will still find reasons for their criticisms. They are all around even here in Taraba. Whatever Governor Ishaku does for them they would not like him. We are not grudging them but they should stop cooking lies and also stop instigating people against him. If they still prefer being opponents despite the governor’s request of them to join him, it is their choice but they should not poison the minds of others.
The Federal Government was not comfortable with the Marshals that were set up by the Taraba State Government to implement the Anti-open Grazing Law in the state, but it appears the government is comfortable with this Amotekun and even working to give it a legal backing, will that boost the morale of the state now to go on with the Marshals’ project?
We have always said that the decision of the Federal Government against the Taraba state decision to establish the Marshal has been very unfair and irrational because they did not actually spend time to study the mechanics and the strategy that were been planned to be adopted by Taraba Marshals. The Taraba Marshals is a product of our needs to stop crisis, most especially the conflicts between Farmers and Herders and for them to also help in implementing the Law on Anti-Open Grazing. It’s just like Amotekum. Amotekum is also growing out of the need to provide security to save property and lives in the South West.
At first, they took that irrational decision by condemning Amotekum and labeling it as illegal but they have now reviewed their position. We are also asking them to review their attitude and position on Taraba Marshals because their decision was irrational and they did not bother to find out what Taraba Marshals was about. And if I may add, Taraba Marshals did not just emanate from the sky. It was a well-planned organization and the planning process involved all the various Federal Security Agencies present in Taraba state. So they were all part of the planning and it is very unfair for the Federal Government to send somebody to come and stop everything. It is unfair. So, we are urging the Federal Government to take another look at that decision so that Taraba Marshals can continue.
Let’s look at the insecurity that is perverting in the country and you know it’s also in Taraba and its everywhere. As is the case in Taraba, what is the governor’s plan of tackling the insecurity in the state?
You know that we don’t have security agencies of our own. We can only rely on the Federal Government security agencies that are present in the state. So what the government does is to provide the logistics and all other form of support that the security agencies in Taraba state need to be able to ensure, guarantee peace and security of life and property. That is the only thing that we can do and that is what the governor has been doing over a long period of time now. And the government we also continue to do that until peace is fully achieved.
We also want to call on the Federal Government to support each contingent of the security agencies that are here to be able to discharge their duties very well and credibly so that they can achieve the purpose of their assignment in the state.
Governor Ishaku’s second term is already tagged “Governor Ishaku’s Second Rescue Mission’, now, what areas will his focus be in this Second Recuse Mission Agenda?
Well, they were so many projects that the governor started which he was unable to complete during his first phase of the Rescue Mission. These projects are going on now as am talking to you. But you can also see, if you’re in Jalingo, you will discover that there is work already going on the dualization of the Airport road that will have an overhead bridge. There are several other things lined up. The other day he also talked about boosting the poverty alleviation efforts of the government during the first tenure, about Three Hundred and Sixty-Five Million Naira worth of equipment’s have been purchased for that purpose. If you look at the budget that was passed, that budget is very rich in terms of proposers to deliver dividends of democracy. So a lot is happening and a lot will continue to happen and at the end of the day the average Taraban will be happier because he will have more money, more access to good health facilities, good water and also enjoy stable electricity.
The civil servants are also being motivated with regular payment of salaries, promotion and other things. You also know that we don’t owe salaries in Taraba State and it is not a new thing, I know that salary is the right of every civil servant. But you will discover that states that are paying salaries regularly in this country are not up to 30 %, a lot of them owe salaries and Taraba State does not owe a kobo of any Civil servant and it doesn’t happen very easy, it is a product of discipline on the part of the Governor to be able to put money in proper channels with projects still ongoing . So a lot will be achieved by the end of the day.