By Babangida Umar
Immediately after the 2015 Tarba State Governorship election result was announced in favour of Architect Darius Dickson Ishaku, and soon after he was sworn in, the people of Taraba heaved a sigh of relief and looked forward to a new dawn in which the underdevelopment in the State would be permanently addressed. It is on record that from the day the former governor, Pharmacist Danbaba Danfulani Suntai was involved in air mishap, and became incapacitated, darkness enveloped Taraba and the development strides he had embarked upon came to an abrupt halt. Successive leaders muddled through without much impact.
When Gov. Ishaku took over the reins of power through the collective will and acceptance of the Taraba people, hope was restored and he made it clear from the outset that he was on a rescue mission. He has been telling the people “give me peace and I will give you development”, which has become a popular refrain on the lips of every average Taraban. No doubt, no development can take place without sustained peace. And he has started admirably, getting the people together to have a common purpose and focus so that development will happen.
Blessed with huge resources, Taraba awaits a purposeful leader like Arch. Darius Ishaku, whose previous experience at the corridors of power put him in good stead, to govern the State, and bring about the needed development the people yearn for. In agricultural resources, mineral deposit and tourism potentials, Taraba ranks first ahead of every State in the country. Yet, there is nothing to show for it now. But the tribunal judgment of 7th November, 2015, cast a shadow of despair on the average Taraban. The judgment was to smuggle the victory given to the PDP by the people through the legal process to ingratiate the APC.
Instead of focusing on pure figures, which put the PDP far ahead, the Petition Tribunal went into technicalities to subvert the will of the people. Of course, the law exists to serve the people not for the people to be enslaved by the law. The issue of Gov. Ishaku not being a candidate in the election because of the notice deemed to have been given to INEC late does not dilute the popularity of the PDP candidate. It is strange that although the other three contestants in the governorship primary, namely Alhaji Garba Umar (UTC), Chief David Sabo Kente and Ambassador Musa John did not complain because it was purely an internal affair, an outsider took it over herself to cry foul and the Tribunal judges sided with her.
Under the time constraints, what did INEC and the judges expect the PDP to do? Was it not for security reasons that the governorship primary was moved to Abuja under the watchful eye of the party leadership? How can this be faulted? Where is Gov. Dickson’s fault in this matter? It is a secret way of fighting the people. Also, that the result turned out to favour the PDP is an indication that right from 1999, Taraba has always given her support wholesale to the PDP, and the party has never failed in providing the dividends of democracy to the people, consolidating faith, which has resulted in a pact. For instance, today, through the instrumentality of the PDP successive governments, Taraba has a Specialist Hospital, State and Federal universities.
The Electricity project at Gembu is progressing steadily and satisfactorily, Jalingo has an airport and other projects too numerous to mention have been provided. It is on this foundation Arch. Darius Ishaku planned to continue to build, and now distractions have cropped up.
When he took over there was no water and electricity in Jalingo. Human beings were competing with animals for water in shallow wells. With executive fiat, Gov. Ishaku has provided Jalingo residents with enough water and light today so much so that residents now wonder if there was at any time black out in the capital city of Jalingo. Plans are on top gear to take these luxuries to every local government area and expedite rural electrification. Roads are equally receiving attention.
These are the development efforts enemies of Taraba want to truncate and turn everything into a pipedream. Taraba state like any other in Nigeria has three senatorial districts, comprising Taraba North, Taraba Central and Taraba South. Of these three, only Taraba South Senatorial District has not produced governor. Now that Tarabans have produced governor from the district for the first time in the person of Arch. Darius Ishaku, enemies of the people are trying hard to shatter this reality. Our legal system should not allow this to happen because it will amount to perverting the popular will of the people. The law is not to support injustice but to redress it.
As a man of peace who loves his people, Gov. Ishaku has remained stoic in spite of provocations arising from the judgment, believing that anything contrary to the will of the people will again bring untold hardship to the State. He has remained on the path of peace and has urged every well-meaning Tarabans to remain calm as the Appeal Court will do justice. We are saddened and alarmed by the fact that those the PDP made by helping to cut their political teeth to national limelight through sending them to the National Assembly when they could not do it on their own are the same people plotting to remove a popular PDP government in Taraba State. It is a classic case of biting the finger that fed them.
The mayhem that happened at Wukari and the general unease that settles on Taraba, time will come when these instigators of injustice will be called to account. Even those groups in Taraba and at Abuja and elsewhere that jubilated over the Tribunal judgment later confessed privately that they were paid to do so. So many people have been misled into believing that PDP was wrong. That is not correct.
For moneybags who will not stop at nothing but relentlessly use their ill-gotten wealth to destabilize Taraba, nemesis will ultimately and soon catch up with them, because we have graciously left them to the divine authority, the rewarder of the good and the evil. Although the people of Taraba know their enemies, they have forgiven them because it is better to forgive than to avenge. God in His infinite mercy will stop them in their track and bring to desolation their evil machination.
In spite of the Election Tribunal judgment, the people of Taraba are hopeful that the Appeal Court will quash that judgment and restore the people’s victory which was expressed unequivocally and overwhelmingly for Gov. Darius Ishaku, so that Taraba’s future will be firmly secured.
Babangida Umar Musa writes from Sabon Layi, Jalingo