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COMMENTS BY SYLVANUS Y. GIWASenior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity 

I have been an aide for quite some time and have garnered considerable experience in this art, yet I must confess that it is a different ball game here altogether. From the whistle blow signifying the start of the political campaigns, I
knew it was not business as usual.

All the indicators showed that it was going to be a rigorous and vast exercise, combing the nooks and crannies of the entire state, seeking the people’s mandate in the election that was approaching. That was to be the take-off point of the Rescue Initiative, meeting Tarabans at close range, feeling their pulse and bringing to them the gospel of hope for their home state which many had hitherto lost any hope of recovery.

The mastermind of the Rescue Initiative, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku, DDI, was at the head of this train and all roads led to the peak of Nigeria’s highlands – the Mambilla Plateau from where the first call was echoed down the hills. The light up switch was thus activated on the top of the Mambilla Plateau the headquarters of Sardauna Local Government area.

From the tumultuous crowd that welcomed the DDI campaign team, both at the entrance of the city of Gembu and the venue of the rally, I had the premonition that by His Grace Darius Dickson Ishaku was already on his way to the seat of power, despite the unfortunate accidents on our way down the Mambilla hill.
The tour of the sixteen Local Governments was a sweet experience and yours sincerely was opportuned to be the event anchor throughout the campaign.

One remarkable experience during the campaign was the avoidance of vulgar language by the main man of that moment, talking about DDI. As a matter of fact one of our strong opponents confessed that he was impressed by the conduct of this gentleman DDI throughout the campaign.

With the campaigns over and elections conducted, we knew DDI was already coasting home to victory, despite the complaint by the opposition. Even with the re-run of the election, some of us felt the pulse of most Tarabans and knew that May 29th, 2015, marked a significant point in the sands of time when Tarabans started a new journey under a new leadership of the Master Mind of the rescue initiative. Few days after swearing in, DDI laid bare the objective of his Rescue Journey of Taraba state . The first instinct DDI felt in his system was what he noticed in the metropolis staring at his face – the hawking of water in trucks by water vendors.

He confessed that he cannot be chauffeur driven in a convoy with siren blowing all over town and yet “my people don’t have good clean water to drink“. Thus he swung into action by ordering the General Manager of the State Water Agency to do all he could and get the taps in the metropolis to start flowing with water. This he did with a life line support of over eight million naira. Now the taps are flowing with water in Jalingo metropolis.

Within ten days of assumption of office, he approached the African Development Bank (AfDB) on ways of intervening in the water situation in Taraba State. The fruits of that visit are visible already.

Electricity supply has improved significantly since the first week he assumed office; a direct result of proactive measures he took, contacting stakeholders in a familiar territory to him. In addition to the eighteen megawatts (18mw) over the initial two megawatts the state was using, forty five (45) transformers were received as part of the initiative to boost power supply in the state. It has become such a new experience to have steady power supply in the state and people have often expressed their satisfaction with the changes.

Over and above these, rays of hope are daily piercing the cloud of despair that had been the bane of Tarabans, indicating that better days are here. Here is where the different ball game I spoke about suffices. Working with such a go getter like DDI requires more than the ability and wit of an aide. Often times, one needs the speed of gazelle, the strength of a lion and the sight of an eagle. Here, loafing time is practically non-existent as work is the ultimate.

To the Governor, there’s so much to do with the time we have in our hands so it cannot afford to be wasted. Closing time is not in typical work schedule as the day’s events determine if the Governor will go to bed before 11 pm, which of course happens very rarely. It turns out that between cockcrow and bedtime is a few hours, the number of which is determined by the tide of the boss’s commitments.

In this art, there has never been a time when my ears needed to be on the ground like now. I have to know literally everything going in and around us and be on hand to brief the boss whenever he pops the usual question on his lips “so, what’s going on?

I often recall the campaign slogan “Daram dam-dam” started and ended the campaign tour and the words seem to remind me that it’s DDI all the way and I have to be in this rescue task together with him come rain or shine.

Though challenging, it’s been interesting and I will relish this moments for a lifetime.