The month of March will continue to remind all Tarabans of one of history’s greatest acts of political treachery and betrayal. In 44 BC, on the Ides of March, an act of betrayal and political assassination was carried out in Rome, the capital city of the Roman Empire. On that day, Brutus, a Senator of the Empire, joined hands with some co-conspirators to murder his closest friend and the Emperor, Julius Caesar, by viciously stabbing him 23 times leading to his (brutal) death.
Fortunately for Taraba State, the month of March, this year, saw the safe return of Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku to the Seat of Power in Jalingo after spending some time in Abuja recuperating from a domestic accident. Mischief-makers and rumour-peddlers had deployed their tongues to wish he did not return at the time he did.
In the brief absence of the Number One Citizen of the state, traitors of all shades had sought to also use the opportunity for mudsling and rabble-rousing, all geared towards garnering personal political gains or advancing political advantages to the detriment of the people of Taraba State. The sheer hypocrisy of this stinks to high heavens. To give it a veneer of constitutionality, these ignorant elements acting like kindergartens misinterpreted sections 189 and 190 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN). They sought to erroneously use these constitutional provisions for power to be transferred to Governor Ishaku’s deputy. The mischievous characters did not know that these sections of the Constitution deal only with when the Governor is on a vacation or is incapacitated. But this could not have been applicable to Gov. Ishaku’s situation. It should be noted that while he was away from the state, he continued to carry out his constitutional functions as Governor and was piloting the affairs of the state seamlessly. However, we know their intentions, which were to mischievously throwing up those two sections of the Constitution to cause a division within the government by trying to make the Deputy Governor step in as Acting Governor. Their ultimate aim was to set the Deputy Governor against his principal. Unfortunately for them, their plot failed woefully as they did not reckon that the Deputy Governor, Engr. Haruna Manu, is a man of proven integrity. He did not fall for their bait. The Deputy Governor unwaveringly stood firmly with Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku to the utter disappointment of these mischief-makers.
Governor Darius Ishaku’s triumphant return on March 19, 2020 put to shame their antics and ploy. Since his return, he has hit the ground running attending to state matters in his usual diligent manner. For instance, he has taken steps to stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state. In a broadcast to the people of the state after his return, he outlined some measures to check the spread of this deadly virus. These measures include the setting up of a 15-man Technical Committee to prevent and/or stop the spread of the virus in the state. He also enjoined religious and traditional leaders to sensitize their members and subjects, and the general public to adhere strictly to the guidelines of personal hygiene.
Our admonition, therefore, to these political gladiators and idle minds is to sheathe their swords and allow Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku to continue the good work he has been doing for the people of Taraba State since his first term in 2015. In particular, I urge Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, the Senator representing Taraba South, who is also the Senate Deputy Minority Leader, to retrace his steps and rein in his tongue from spewing misguided utterances. His recent statement published in the Taraba Truth and Facts newspaper (January 20, 2020) to the effect that he was betrayed by Governor Ishaku during the 2019 election is not only a blatant falsehood, but also in bad taste.
We all know for a fact that Governor Ishaku actively campaigned for Bwacha’s re-election in the 2019 polls. As a Senator who had been in the Senate for two terms then, there were several agitations that Bwacha should allow for a shift from the Takum-Ussa-Donga Federal Constituency to the Wukari-Ibi Federal Constituency, in the interest of equity, fair play and justice. However, Governor Darius Ishaku intervened on his behalf, pleading with those from Wukari-Ibi Federal Constituency to give him another chance, which saw to it that Bwacha was re-elected as a Senator representing Southern Taraba Senatorial District for the third term.
In fact, Governor Ishaku personally and vigorously campaigned for him wherever he went in the Southern Taraba Senatorial Zone. Therefore, it came to me as a great shock when I read from the newspaper that the Senator was accusing the Governor of betraying him. If there was any betrayal at all, it should be laid at the doorstep of the Senator!
We all witnessed the lack of interest Senator Bwacha demonstrated immediately after his election. He never showed concern whether Governor Ishaku was re-elected or not. This lukewarm attitude toward the Governor’s re-election disappointed many PDP supporters in the Senatorial Zone, who felt all the need for a united front so as to be victorious in all the elections.
Sadly also, the Senator joined the ranks of the Governor’s traducers during his absence. He attempted to reap where he did not sow. It would be recalled that Governor Ishaku had been consistent in his pursuit of social equity by correcting historical injustices he inherited and upgrading a number of traditional chiefdoms and chieftaincy stools. But in his absence, the Senator gave some Tokunbo cars as gifts to the upgraded chiefs in the Southern Taraba Senatorial District. The purpose, we believe, was to curry favours from these newly appointed chiefs for his concealed gubernatorial ambition in 2023.
This is not a crime, nonetheless, it smacks of political opportunism. I wish the traditional rulers all the material comfort they can get, and I am sure the Governor would have welcomed the Senator’s gesture too. But for Senator Bwacha to do so with his eyes fixed on a certain political target appears opportunistic.
Finally, I am pleading with Senator Emmanuel Bwacha to shun all bad counsel as well as resist people pushing him into a mindless and unfruitful fight with Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku. Rather, he should join hands with the Governor to build a more virile Taraba State for the present and future generations, if he wants to be seen as a patriotic citizen of the state and a stakeholder in the Taraba project.
Governor Ishaku has about three more years to finish his second term. What the Governor and people of the State cannot afford are unnecessary distractions and political gamesmanship from a few people fixative on 2023 and other considerations, rather than the challenges of today, which Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku is tackling hammer and tongs… and he is achieving howling successes.
Barr. Danjuma A. Adamu is the Taraba state Commissioner for Information and Re-Orientation