By Fred Hikon
I don't know how many mistakes Gen. T.Y. Danjuma, the former Chief of Army Staff and Minister of Defence has made in his lifetime. Himself may not even be able to say, because, as human beings, we make too many to remember all of the mistakes. But I can confidently say, that his decision to bring Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku as the Governor of Taraba State in 2015 and to reinforce the failure in 2019 is already on record as his biggest error and disservice to the people of Taraba State.
After a distinguished career in the military/public service and a flourishing reputation in business, the philanthropic octogenarian, Gen. TY Danjuma will be remembered for giving his people a gift of severe thorn in the flesh. Instead of using his powerful connections and part of his enormous wealth to support them in their fight for survival, he has foisted on them a petty thief and a garrulous incompetent who is a case study in unbelievable thievery, cluelessness and indifference in leadership. We are wondering, does God make people great to help others or to increase their pain and sorrows? We pray this is not Gen. Danjuma's parting gift to us and what we should remember him for, long after he is gone.
Taraba State has never had it this bad.
While the occurrence of crisis predates the coming of Darius Ishaku as Governor, at no time has its management been mishandled as in the last four and half years under him. Southern Taraba, from where he comes, is still reeling in the shadows of a virulent war of attrition between the Tivs and Jukuns, for which he failed to act, until the Federal Government decided to intervene. Before then, a similar thing was witnessed in the conflict between the Fulani and Jukuns in Wukari. The latest fights which lasted for about seven months have recorded the deaths of hundreds of innocent lives and burning down of several villages and communities . From Donga to Takum and Wukari, the axis became a Somalia, with ethnic militias and their warlords wielding authority in their enclaves. There was complete breakdown of law and order in the areas, while Darius Ishaku was hardly in the State or remained mute while the madness lasted.
His hometown of Takum has been reduced to a ghost of its former self, as criminals and bandits have turned it into a den of kidnapping and assassinations. Economic and social activities have collapsed with many residents fleeing the area when the killings, kidnappings and abductions became the order of the day. To add salt to injury, he has not stepped a foot to the Southern zone since his reelection and the onset of the crises.
In the Northern Zone, thousands of Nyandang, Mumuye and Kona people are currently in IDP Camps with no hope of returning to their homes because of the Governor's inability to ensure security of the State. He is often heard singing the puerile slogan of 'give me peace, I will you development' to mask his gross incompetence. Where have the poor, helpless farmers in the villages seen the peace to give, when they are daily being crushed by the superior fire power of marauding bandits? Who is supposed to stand for them? Where is the two hundred million Naira security vote he has been collecting monthly going to? I ask because in the last four and half years,no single patrol vehicle, equipment or monthly allocations have been provided to security agencies in the state. How will the security agencies go to trouble spots without logistics? will they trek to reach those spots? Who pays allowances for the men? The fraud-star of a Governor has been pocketing security votes and watching helpless villagers die without a dent on his conscience.
Lau and Jalingo are currently embroiled in a tidal wave of kidnappings and other vicious crimes. When it is midnight, sleep takes a leave of residents. Many unconsciously wake up to the expectations of the sound of the gunshots of the kidnappers and only go back to sleep when it is 4.00 am when the likelihood of an incident might have receded. It is that bad. Yet we have a governor in Taraba State.
I don't even need to talk of the inability of the Governor to provide basic necessities of life and how he has starved ministries, departments and agencies of funds to discharge their functions to the citizenry. Government agencies have operated for four and half years without operational costs given to them. The General Sani Abcha Secretariat,the seat of the State Government's bureaucracy is dirty and overgrown with weeds. Broken funiture, torn curtains and carpets, empty desks as staff find the offices not conducive for work, are the sorry sights that confront you at the secretariat and this is reflective of all government institutions that you will visit all over the state.
We have endured four years of empty promises, white elephant projects, outright neglect and massive looting of the public treasury. We do not expect the second tenure to be any different. We shall survive, braving all odds, so that Gen. Danjuma can earn his BADGE OF HONOUR for giving us a rotten fish, that is making us purge ceaselessly, when we were hungry for development.