Governor Darius Dickson's Dilemma As Barr G T Kataps Tops Contention For The Post of Chief of Staff

Governor Ishaku
The smooth running of governance in Taraba State may wait further as Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku is enmeshed in some dirty political tangle and intrigues surrounding the appointments of commissioners and other Executive officers of his administration. The tangling administration is further barbed with an election petition, challenging its legitimacy, at the Taraba State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.
In serious controversy and contention in the pending executive appointments of the Taraba State Government is the Post of Chief of Staff, Government House, Jalingo, a post politically defined as the "Head Boy" of all Government House Staff, including political appointees.
Originally, Governor Dickson's Transition Committee had pencilled down the name of Hon. Istifanus Gbana, a former Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly, for this powerful post. Another powerful political pressure group sympathetic to the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Haruna Manu, threw spanners in this arrangement by convincing Governor Dickson that Muslims are alienated in the formation of this government. The pro-Manu group saw the pencilling down of Mr Gbana's name for this post as a deliberate and direct political affront against the Muslims of Taraba State, since both the seats of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly have already been occupied by people of the Christian faith (Anthony Jelasson and Abel Peter Diya, respectively). This is, more so, coming on the heels of a circulating document called "The Covenant", purportedly written by the think-tank of Governor Dickson's government as its own road map, in which these political infringements presently playing out are nicely laid. In order to make some calm to the then already rising tension from the Muslim community in the State, Governor Dickson created an office, "Legislative Liaison Officer", and then appointed Hon Gbana to it. Then, the tangles, intrigues and political bickering returned to take a much deeper root in separate moves to appoint a new Chief of Staff. In one politically callous move, Gov Dickson was said to have told Aminu Jika, a Muslim and Fulani from Jalingo, to "resume office while a subsequent announcement to that effect will be made in another day or two". It is noteworthy that Mr Jika had, at least, once occupied this office in the past. He did as instructed by his governor but the announcement never came. This irked Mr Jika and sent him making political protests, after which he found himself ineffective and irrelevant in the scheme of Gov Dickson's government. In an earlier politically callous move that preceded Aminu Jika's traumatic experience, the "Office of the Chief of Staff was zoned to Sardauna and Gashaka Local Government Areas, which effectively put two in-laws, Prince Mustapha Hamman Gabdo (Gashaka) and Abubakar Bawa (Sardauna), at loggerheads. The former Acting Governor, now Senator (PDP, Taraba North), Sani Abubakar Danladi, favoured Prince Hamman Gabdo, and then pressured Gov. Dickson to drop Mr.  Bawa's name. Gov Dickson knew how dicey the situation had become, knowing that Mr Bawa had worked as the Director-General of his gubernatorial campaign; so Gov Dickson immediate "settled" Mr Bawa with a lack-lustre office of the Special Adviser (Political). Mr Bawa, too, made a political protest, but to the numbness of Gov Dickson who knew that he could not wave away Sani Danladi's request since Mr Danladi "played a pivotal role in rigging him into power", a high-ranking politician told Page Taraba. But, one political pressure group steered by Barr Gibbon Timothy Kataps (former commissioner, former SSG) and Abel Peter Diya (presently, Speaker TSHA) ruined the candidature of Prince Hamman Gabdo, arguing that a Christian from Gashaka should come to occupy the Office of the Chief of Staff "since previous political appointments from Gashaka had been dominated by Muslims", a top-ranking politician told Page Taraba. Then, came the political back-stabbing that seems "the unkindest cut of all".
Marafa Bashir Abba, Senator (PDP, Taraba Central), struggling to defend his Senatorial seat at the Taraba State Elections Tribunal against a "well-made" petition by his opponent, Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf of the APC, reportedly visited Gov Dickson and asked that the position of the Chief of Staff be reserved for him because "his case at the Tribunal is messy, and is turning messier by the day", according to our insider source. Hon Bashir Abba, according to a Page Taraba Source, did not only stop at seeking for the post of the Chief of Staff, but sought further "that Gov Dickson erase the name of Prince Hamman Gabdo" from contention of this powerful office. The Prince of Gashaka got wind of Hon Bashir Abba's "unkindest" action and then decided to confront Hon Bashir "one-on- one", says a Page Taraba source.
The two childhood friends and political associates altercated in the world of their private meeting and, whatever was the outcome of their meeting, only history and unfolding events will reveal. It is quite instructive to note that Prince Hamman Gabdo actually supported Hon Bashir's Senatorial bid in the last election against his (Prince Hamman Gabdo's) elder brother, Yusuf A. Yusuf of the APC because the Prince of Gashaka cherished to play a strict loyalty card to his party, the PDP, which fielded Hon. Marafa Bashir Abba. But, Prince Hamman Gabdo had challenged Hon Bashir Abba in the PDP Primary Election, in 2010, for the same Senatorial seat which both of them, then, lost to Abubakar Umar Tutare.

Prince Mustapha Hamman Gabdo's seething ambition for the office of the Chief of Staff seems stronger than normal as he was said to have used a family stepping stone in Abuja to reach a prominent olitician, of Taraba State extract, who is thought to have a very strong influence on Gov Dickson. The meeting with the influential politician only yielded promises which the prince reluctantly pinned to his already sick ambition.
Earlier, this month, Prince Hamman Gabdo, who holds the traditional title of Chiroman Gashaka, was (together with Abubakar Bawa) fingered as a mastermind of the infamous journey of an official Taraba State delegation (of some government officials and Royal Fathers) to the Sultanate in Sokoto as well as the Emir of Zazzau in Zaria, to solicit that they bear their influence on both Sen A'isha Jummai Alhassan (who contested against Gov Dickson, and is now challenging Gov Dickson's declaration by INEC at the Elections Petition Tribunal) and the Tribunal judges to allow Gov Dickson's government to stand. The infamous journey crumbled and melted into a season-to-season controversy as both the Sultanate and the Zaria Palace "refused to meddle with normal and formal national affairs undergoing a legal and constitutional process", a Page Taraba source explained. But, to the Chiroman Gashaka, the failure of the infamous journey to achieve its intended purpose was not the only salvo hitting his ambition, but also the public outcry "against his recklessness in journeying his ailing and aged father [the Lamdo Gashaka, HRH Alhaji Hamman Gabdo Muhammad Sambo] over a distance of over 2400 km, to and from, in order to impress Gov Dickson and secure the office of the Chief of Staff. The Lamdo Gashaka was deceived about the purpose of the journey, until they were at the destination", laments our source. Sources say that Abubakar Bawa collected N5 million for himself, from Gov Dickson, in order to arrange this infamous journey, and then collected additional N2 million for each of the Royal fathers on the delegation. It is not clear how much money Chiroman Gashaka benefitted from this failed project, but sources close to the on-going political squabbling in Taraba State say that the Chiroman Gashaka "only wanted to benefit from being appointed as the Chief of Staff". But, the Chiroman Gashaka has denied been part of the arrangement that put his father through the questionable and strenuous journey. Although it is now not very clear about who holds all the aces leading to the appointment of a new Chief of Staff for Taraba State Government House, yet it is very evident that Barr Gibbon Timothy Kataps holds the only available joker of this politically callous game plan. The current plan, Page Taraba reliably learnt, is that Brr G. T. Kataps is actually "Chief-of-Staff- in-waiting", Page Taraba source said, adding that "It is part of their original plan, as enshrined in that their document [The Covenant], but that was because they never envisaged a Buhari Presidency". In the wake of the reality of the present Buhari Presidency, they had to soft- pedal, "in order to work out plans of how to saddle their opponents with certain controversies and then allow them fizzle out of the system. This is a makeover plan hatched immediately after Buhari won election", our source explained. But, can Barr Kataps make a good Chief of Staff for Gov Darius Dickson Ishaku? "Don't ask me this question. Ask me whether the government of Gov Dickson will last longer than six months. If he appoints Barr Kataps as Chief of Staff, the government would be highly biased, unfairly selective, grossly lopsided and vindictive with a paranoid infesting its character. Such an arrangement, such a government will not last.
Former President Jonathan ran a similar hate- infested and paranoid government, but with even our ource a lesser scale, and it crumbled", concluded. Barr Kataps is a lawyer by training, a politician by hoice and a bureaucrat by making. His political career started with a Local Government the Commissioner with different respective portfolios

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