Ishaku and the road to 2019 in Taraba

Darius Dickson Ishaku

Darius Dickson Ishaku

Multiple battle fronts from within and outside the political family may be conspiring to thwart the peace and developmental efforts of Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku of Taraba State.

Apart from the growing discontent and grumblings within the state chapter of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the governor is contending with professional bodies as well as pressure from opposition parties including All Progressives Congress (APC).

In particular, the alleged dabbling in the affairs of the traditional institutions, irregular payment of local government councils staff salaries, purported imposition of unpopular candidates ahead of the forthcoming councils election, are part of the issues antagonists are holding onto.

The dissatisfaction is fuelling an increasing army of adversaries in the PDP, some of whom have defected to APC with those staying back insisting that if the situation continued, they would work against the re-nomination of Ishaku in 2019.

Their grouse is that there is “lack of internal democracy” in the party and that PDP in the state has not learnt from its past mistakes that resulted in its defeat at last year’s presidential elections.

They are particularly bitter at the way and manner the governor is piloting the affairs of the state describing it as “a one man show.”

“But if the condition persists and he goes ahead and use the state resources and security apparatus to get the ticket, nothing will prevent us from joining forces with another political party in order to floor him and the PDP at the poll,” one of the aggrieved PDP members volunteered.

To compound the Governor’s headache, his leadership style has been called to question by the Mumuye Lawyers Association (MLA), a group of lawyers from the northern part of the state.

MLA, which is led by Aiden A. Anthony, has admonished the governor to concentrate on developing the state rather than continue meddling into the affairs of the traditional institution.
The lawyers claimed that, “Despite the huge resources accruing to Taraba State from the Federation Account and the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), Ishaku has failed to utilize same in improving the lives and conditions of the citizens of the state.”

They urged him to “borrow a leaf from his Adamawa State counterpart who is paying salaries and at the same time carrying out massive road constructions and other infrastructural development visible in every nooks and crannies of Adamawa state.”

Besides, they said: “It is disheartening and worrisome that a sitting governor who had sworn on oath to uphold and preserve the law of the land will act with such impunity and treat our laws with disdain.”

It would be recalled that the past leadership of the state branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) under the chairmanship of Idris Jallo, expressed dismay at the ‘arbitrary’ reduction in the salaries of Law Officers and Magistrates.

Similarly, the incumbent chairman of NBA, Mr. Joel D. Ubandoma decried the “illegal deduction” while speaking with The Guardian and wondered why the Bill which have been forwarded to the State House of Assembly on the newly agreed wages for Law Officers and Magistrates, has not been passed into law by the legislators.

“The only difficulty we are having now is that the Bill is long over due,” he stated expressing the hope that if the new agreed wages is urgently passed into law, it would go a long way to regulate the salaries of magistrates and law officers in the state. 

Another headache that Governor Ishaku is contending with is the audacity shown so far exhibited by Godwin Nyame, the brother of a former governor of the state, Jolly Nyame. Presently, he is the only one that has publicly declared his intention to run for the governorship slot in 2019.

Nyame who was previously a commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, recently left the PDP for APC over what he described as “lack of internal democracy in the PDP.” He said no amount of intimidation by the governor, would deter him from his ambition.

His quest to seek for the topmost position of the state in the next poll, according to him, is hinged on the snail speed development Taraba is witnessing under the administration of the incumbent governor.

He claimed that the governor was harassing and witch-hunting his opponents and perceived enemies, citing his denial of the Tafida Zing by the monarch of Zing, Alhaji Suleiman Ibrahim Sambo, recently.

According to him, “It was at the instance of the Governor, who sees me as his personal enemy because of my ambition to contest for the governorship position in the next election.”

To the leadership of the APC, there is a lukewarm approach towards the growth of the state by the present administration and they are determined to capitalise on it to wrest power from PDP in the next election.

The APC state chairman, Alhaji Hassan Jika Ardo who argued that PDP did not win the last governorship election, believed that the sin of PDP has caught up with it.

According to Alhaji Danjuma Isa Munga, a chieftain of APC, the divisions within the PDP is a great blessing to APC.Said he: “So you are not far from the truth. The level of poverty in this state is high because the governor lacks blueprint for the state. He was not prepared for the post he is occupying because he was imposed on the state. So we are not surprise that he has been wobbling and fumbling since he came to power.”

However, the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Media and Publicity, Sylvanus Y. Giwa, denied the allegations insisting that the governor has not and would not intimidate anyone aspiring to be governor.

Furthermore, he maintained that Ishaku has not at anytime interfered with the affairs of the traditional institutions in the state, stressing that the governor had better things to do with his time.

“Governor Ishaku is focused on issues of governance in the state and has been working round the clock to ensure peace, growth and development as well as improved living conditions for the generality of the people,” he stated.

Giwa claimed that numerous developmental strides across the state in the past 18 months which includes roads, water, stable power, etc. attests to it, adding that the governor unsettled by any person intending to contest in the next election.

On the alleged imposition of candidates ahead of the council’s election, he said that the governor has no special candidate; even in his local government he did not come out to endorse any person. All that the governor is interested in is for the people to elect any candidate of their choice. So I can confidently tell you that he is a man that has the interest of the people and the state at heart.”

Also, the Public Relation Officer (PRO) of PDP in the state, Alhaji Inuwa Bakari, denied any form of imposition by the governor stressing: “As far as I am concerned, the governor has not at any giving time imposed any candidate on us.”

Bakari who is equally a member of the screening committee for aspirants to the offices of council chairmen and ward counselors, said “since we commenced this screening the governor did not at any time tell us that he has a particular interest on any of the candidates.

“So I think those alleging that he is imposing candidates on the people are lying and should as a matter of urgency desist and join hands with the governor and the party to move the state forward.” 

He also denounced claims of disunity in the party saying: “PDP is one in Taraba state, there is no factions or divisions. And I don’t see any party triumphing over us in the next elections.”

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Darius Dickson
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