By Emmanuel Bello.
Architects, like sculptors, are imbued with the gift of bringing out beauty from what has no form and in a somewhat chaotic state. As they painstakingly and silently draw and put diagrams in place, an untrained mind may wonder what’s going on.
But a chip here, a pull there, some addition and a hitherto amorphous structure turns into a thing of beauty and wonder. While building this, many sculptors and architects, may keep their audience spellbound and left asking “what now?”.
But the architect’s mind is always fixed on the end goal and the final product, not distracted by the noise. So it is with Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku, whose expertise as a First Class professional is coming to bear on our state.
A deft worker and achiever, Governor Ishaku has left the doubting Thomases wondering what’s going on. But many things are happening and Taraba is gradually taking shape by the seconds. It is daily transforming into an emerging beauty with many states now envying us.
Modernisation, for instance, is fast accelerating. And the masterstroke of opening up the air was the first magic towards this by the architect. Part of the state’s historical challenge was access. In the past, and before this governor, coming or getting out of the state was an ordeal. Remote and almost cut off, Taraba for many Nigerians was a no go zone which they are sometime forced to reluctantly go.
Neighbouring states were busy taking the shine off the beauty of our dear state. In fact, some people even thought Taraba state was an appendage of Adamawa state, sometimes insisting the famed Mambilla with all its international splendour is in that state. Not anymore. Governor Ishaku has opened up the state to both tourists and investors. We are right in the middle of both the national and international media.
Visibility and presence is key. With three flights each week via Overland, the Danbaba Danfulani Suntai Airport, Jalingo, has redefined the way business is done. No more the torture of long distant voyages by road.
The second class status feeling our citizens used to have coupled with the humiliation of going to Yola airport before driving home, has stopped. The joy of hearing Jalingo’s name mentioned at the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport, Abuja has instilled a better self image for many patriots. All courtesy of Governor Darius.
Yet, that’s not to mean road transportation is no longer happening in the state. Because of this, the architect has since embarked on dualization of roads and linking up more rural communities with the rest of the world. Taraba has been engrafted with the rest of civilization via air transport and more road networks.
One area the architect is spending nights working on is enhancing the quality of life of the Taraba people. Today, Jalingo residents, and indeed the entire state, enjoy steady supply of electricity. While many states and even the FCT wallow in darkness, Taraba has since become a “power state” with all the implications of this! Businesses have improved.
Also, standard of living has been upgraded, less funds is going into buying fuel to run generators and prosperity is generally seeping into the state in spite of a national recession. This is not totally unexpected because the architect was also a one time minister of state at the power ministry.
To his credit, he had worked hard to ensure the Kashimbilla Dam project becomes a reality. Incidentally, the dam is in his home town, Takum.
Today, the dam with 40megawatts potentials would soon be commissioned to revolutionise life for Taraba, Benue and Plateau states. Also, the Mambilla Hydroelectric dam with its famed 4000megawatts is gradually becoming a reality as the federal government working hard with the state government is trying to pull it off.
For our architect, making people smile is his main goal. He said, “my hope is to see that our people are lifted and rescued from poverty, ignorance and disease. We can do this by ensuring better learning, effective health care delivery and good governance.” There is no doubt Governor Ishaku is walking the talk with his giant stride in the education and health sectors.
Bello is the Senior Special Assistant, Public Affairs to Governor Ishaku