Darius Ishaku Of Taraba State
Darius Dickson Ishaku inherited Taraba State when it was weighed down by inadequate infrastructure, poor finances, a moribund bureaucracy, ethno-religious crises, and deep-seated rancour within the political class and the civil service. But in less than four years of the Ishaku administration, the state has, through prudent resource management, implementation of people-oriented economic and social policies and programmes, become a model for all to emulate. For this feat, Architect Darius Dickson Ishaku is LEADERSHIP Governor of the Year 2018.
Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku, an astute administrator and public finance management expert, after winning a keenly contested governorship election on April 11, 2015, and he was sworn in as the third executive governor of Taraba State on May 29, 2015, settled down to face the numerous challenges that confronted the state. From economy to politics, security to education, health to infrastructure, among others, Governor Ishaku has written his name in gold, breaking new frontiers and enhancing the welfare of the people.
This soft-speaking and calculated administrator has cut his teeth in the provision of portable water for most residents of the state. Of note is the construction of over 100 boreholes in rural communities in the state, the empowerment of women and youths, and provision of agricultural inputs for farmers.
Outside the N3.6 billion African Development Bank (AfDB) project, Governor Ishaku initiated a N6.8 billion water project to boost water supply in Taraba. Ishaku also contributed N11 million counterpart funds from 2013 till date and the total cost of counterpart fund contributed for the ongoing AfDB water project in the state is N500 million.
The Jalingo waterworks has been upgraded to provide potable water for the city’s inhabitants who once shared shallow water wells and other unhygienic sources of water with animals.
To ease movement of people and goods between rural areas and urban areas, Governor Ishaku re-awarded contracts for the construction of Kona—Lau—Baissa—Karim–Lamido road, initiated the construction of Mararraba—Baissa–Abong federal road, awarded contracts for the construction of Takum–Chanchanji federal road and the abandoned Magami road. Other completed road projects are the Jalingo—Kona—Lau road, Jolly Nyame Way, GRA Jalingo, Mayo Dasa bridge, Magami road, Takum township roads, and Takum–Kastina Ala road. He extended the same measures to the housing sector, bringing reprieve to public servants and the people at large.
The provision of quality health services also received commendable attention from the governor, the highpoint being the signing of N1.3 billion memorandum of understanding (MoU) with leading drug producer Roche Pharmaceutical Limited. The MoU, which has a five-year span, is designed to provide high-quality drugs and provide free treatment for hepatitis patients in the state: over 50, 000 Tarabans are targeted to benefit from free screening for hepatitis B and C.
The project also covers the upgrading of dilapidated health service centres and commissioning of the hitherto abandoned Wukari General Hospital, which was reconstructed by his administration.
As part of the partnership, Roche Diagnostics has provided advanced testing equipment to improve the quality of diagnosis. Healthcare workers have undergone extensive training to facilitate proper testing, diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis. The administration also embarked on the renovation of the Bambur General Hospital.
Coming into office at a time the state, like others in the north-east geopolitical zone, was confronted with serious security challenges, this rescue captain has had to scratch water from the rock to fight the menace through assisting security agencies to check the activities of criminals. Governor Ishaku also purchased security patrol vehicles for the police and other security agencies.
With the gesture, the governor has turned Taraba State to a peaceful and secured state. The people aver that the pockets of communal and farmers-herders clashes would have been worse if the governor were not upbeat in the area of security.
Governor Ishaku has also intervened in the electricity sector where he installed and commissioned electricity transformers in over 85 communities and stepped down electricity from the national grid to Kunini town in Lau local government area.
After two previous governments failed to complete it, the Jalingo Airport project got off on a sound footing when Governor Ishaku took over the reins of leadership. In a matter of months, he set the target for commissioning the project and made the airport a reality by not only completing it but also arranging for immediate air traffic operations, thus making all categories of users heave a sigh of relief.
On social security, Ishaku in his bid to curb unemployment rate visited the management of the Bank of Industry (BoI) to sign a memorandum of understanding for the disbursement of N700million facilities of which the incumbent administration contributed a half.
Tarabans are proud of lshaku’s achievements. Many describe him as a man of proven integrity who has made Taraba State, Nigeria and indeed entire Africa proud.
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