Recent apprehensions expressed in some quarters over the absence of Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku from Jalingo, the Taraba state capital, calls to memory incidences of absenteeism by some political office holders in Nigeria. Between 1999 and 2007, late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as Katsina state governor was known to have spent nearly a total of two years abroad attending to his health. In acknowledging his testimonial of development, he was rewarded with the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to contest the 2007 polls. Even when the former Governor Yar’Adua was perpetually absent on seat, his absence was not felt as effective governance continued uninterruptedly.
The eight year-reign of former Governor Abdul Aziz Yari of Zamfara State was not without the trait of absenteeism trailing his administration. He was known to have largely administered the state from Abuja than in Gusau, the state capital. Despite recurring cases of banditry and other criminal activities that rendered the state prostrate, Yari, who then was the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), was known to have abandoned the citizens to their fate as he took a permanent abode in the nation’s capital under the guise of running the NGF. In a country where state governors delight in embarking on local and foreign travels at the slightest opportunity, complaints arising over the matter can best be described as unnecessary. The grouse of their lamentations over the absence of Ishaku is hinged on their worries over resurgence of insurgency that is capable of introducing a slowdown in the activities of government.
The truth is that Governor Ishaku has never been without strong opponents who are desirous of seeing his back politically. Apart from standing up in the defence of his people by working assiduously to stop incessant killings of his people by bandits, the governor has always collaborated and cooperated with relevant security agencies of the federal government to ensure safety of lives and property.
One indisputable fact that can’t be taken away from the governor is his vision and ardent desire to serve the people. His actions in ensuring safety and development of the state as demonstrated is renowned and appreciated by the people. In a state noted for its diverse ethnic settings and a rainbow political background, the recent outcry over the governor’s absence could be hinged on negative partisanship than altruism.
Those who are crying wolf over the absence of the governor in the state capital may be doing so to facilitate the attainment of certain objectives that are strange to the overall interest of the state. To question the lamentation and purpose of their fears over Ishaku’s perceived absence could provide an illumination on the motives of their complainants whose major focus is to re-activate activities of terror gangs and unleash yet another round of violence on innocent citizens. Personally, for those predicting a return to violence in Taraba, there is need to probe their prognosis and seek to study their motives.
Over a year now, the Tiv/Jukun crisis seems to have been resolved and laid to a permanent rest after deployment of effective measures aimed at promoting peace. To envisage that forces behind the incessant crises in the state would simply give up and not try their hands on new tricks is to underestimate their irrevocable determination to undermine the government they so much oppose. Those who hate peace in Taraba state will always not neglect any available attempt at bringing back demons of troubles to inflict injurious consequences on the people.
Those alleging a return to bloody violence in the state due to the absence of the governor may be up to something. Relevant security forces and other organs of government should not rest on their oars to investigate sources of these allegations/complaints. It does not require physical presence of governors, thought it may be necessary, to ensure the security of lives and property, the fact that Taraba state government is in synergy with other security organs makes it imperative for a seamless operation for the overall good.
Since becoming governor in 2015, Ishaku has never left any stone unturned in casting away troubling characters from his path. Even those mischievously concerned with Ishaku’s absence cannot but accept the fact that his administration has been anchored on popular platform for the good and safety of lives and property. No doubt, his absence has not in any way affected the state, having put certain structures in place. Those who have expressed worries over his absence may be, after all, political busybodies that are attempting to build something on nothing.
That explain why despite their fears built on evil motives, good governance has taken firm roots and the state is the better for it. The rate of development in Taraba has never subsided, just as the delivering process of transparency in governance has never suffered, despite the alleged absence of the governor. More than anything, unlike some former governors that once administered their states from foreign shores, Ishaku has been confirmed to be in the country and engaged in daily interaction with aides, Taraba’s critical stakeholders and others to keep abreast of events happening in the state. Unlike in other states where governors are on seat 24/7 and still owing salaries and pensions for months and years, Taraba continues to witness prompt payments of salaries and allowances, including the development of infrastructure for rapid growth in the state.
Nigerians are aware that there are state governors whose presence in their various state capitals, even though round the clock, has not dissuaded crimes and banditry. Unlike other governors whose guarantee for combating crimes is more verbal than action, Ishaku has remained in the forefront of tackling insecurity. There is no doubt that, considering the sterling footprints of the Taraba state governor on the sands of time, what citizens of the state need now is to rally support for the governor in order to develop the state. To allow citizens to be so pre-occupied with baseless rumours aimed at achieving certain political objectives is an ill wind that blows no one any good.
Ishaku may be out of Jalingo for a brief period, but he is still actively engage in serving the overall interest of the people. In the brief period he has been absent from Jalingo, pictures of Ishaku meeting critical stakeholders relevant to the development and peace of the state have been published by both mainstream media and online platforms. He has also met investors in a bid to develop the state’s economic potentials. The engagement of religious clerics and other critical components for the development of the state remains an unprecedented feat. As a state government committed to the greater goal of serving the citizenry, Ishaku is never weary of embarking on measures for engendering peaceful dialogue of all contending issues.
That is why the state is enjoying relative peace among its diverse ethnic groups, including obliterating insurgencies and banditry. There is now no urgent effort than rallying collective energies of citizens towards supporting Governor Ishaku in order to stop partisan characters from further making a mountain out of molehill over this matter.