After waiting under the hot sun for several hours happily dancing away, the people’s governor finally arrived from Abuja. The air sparkled with joy as people lined up from the Airport to the Stadium screaming on top of their voices and waving at their governor as he passed through the major route with his entourage. As soon as the initial preliminaries at the stadium concluded, the governor finally gave his well-articulated victory speech. It sounded more like a father talking to his children. Read the speech below in the governor’s own words.
“My dear fellow citizens of Taraba State, February 11th, 2016 is such a historic day in my life and in the life of this administration because it marks an elevated level of victory for the Judiciary, the great victory for the rule of law, the profound victory for the electoral process, a resounding victory for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and an unprecedented victory for democracy in Taraba State in particular and Nigeria at large. You will recall that we went to the polls for the Gubernatorial election on April 11th, 2015.
When the results of the people’s decision started trickling in, my opponent of the All Progressives Congress (APC) protested the unfolding results in selected areas. The Electoral Commission Officials canceled some votes and declared my election inconclusive, what had already been concluded by the people and by God.
On April 25th, 2015 we went back to the polls for the run-off election in 165 polling units of Donga Local Government Area, and selected polling units in Bali, Karim Lamido, Takum, Ussa, Wukari, Yorro and Zing Local Government Areas that were protested by my opponent.
Again the people’s decision was further affirmed with even higher votes and on April 27th, 2015 I was declared the Governor-elect by INEC and I was duly sworn in here on the 29th May, 2015.
Inspite of this convincing victory, my opponent of the APC filed a petition at the special election tribunal protesting the outcome of the double mandate given to me by Tarabans. That the predominant citizens of Taraba State conferred on me through the ballot box was not sufficient for her.
The tribunal having gone through the petition and the entire evidence incidental to the petition after drilling hundreds of witnesses and gaining inferences and insight to the validity or otherwise of the petition filed by my opponent came to the disagreeable conclusion on November 7th, 2015 that my election was null and void. This disgraceful declaration released was a travesty of the justice of this country.
Incidentally, the Judiciary has put in place an internal system of check and balances. Therefore I appealed the judgment of the special election tribunal and delightfully, on the 31st of December 2015, the last day of last year, the Appeal Court set aside this judgment of the tribunal and upheld my election based on provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and electoral laws of the country.
This credible judgment was further appealed by my opponent of the APC at the Supreme Court and on the 11th of February, 2016 the Supreme Court, the Apex Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria dismissed the Appeal for lack of merit and undeniably affirmed my election as the Executive Governor of Taraba State.
On that day justice won; on that day democracy won, on that day the people of Taraba State won. Therefore 11th of February, 2016 is seemingly the true beginning of this administration. It is the true beginning because from May 29th 2015, when this petition was filed all energies and attention have been channeled towards reaffirming the legitimacy that the people of Taraba State conferred on me.
During this period, I have been amazed by the misinformation, half-truths, and negative propaganda by those who are desperate for power, and I have been consciously restrained by the strenuous but convincing judicial process that must be followed to give positive attestation to this mandate. This misinformation, half-truths, and negative propaganda have been demystified and I Darius Dickson Ishaku and the Electorates of Taraba State have been vindicated by the Supreme Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
On this note, I commend the Judiciary for being true to its creed as the beacon of Hope and the sanctuary of justice and equity for humanity. I also commend:
- All the electorates,
- All the stakeholders and all workers and personnel of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC),
- The National Youth Service Corp (NYSC),
- Civil Society Organizations,
- Independent Election Observers,
- Security Operatives and
- Volunteers that sacrificed their time resources and welfare to bring this struggle to its desirable conclusion.
Most importantly, I wish to thank all citizens of Taraba State who had been praying fervently for me in the quiet corners of their room. The Lord God almighty has answered your prayers. All Glory adoration we return to God who is the creator of heaven and earth, who out of his own will and timing has brought me today to be your Governor.
Now that the election matters at the courts have been put behind us, the time has come for us to get down to the business of good governance. The time has come to deliver appropriate public goods and services to the citizens; the time has come to roll up the implementation strategy of the Rescue Agenda so that we can actualize the desired growth and development in Taraba State.
At this juncture, I call on all citizens to eschew violence and any form of public disorderliness. I encourage all citizens to embrace tolerance, peace, and love for your neighbor and fellow man. And I challenge all citizens to demonstrate steadfast patriotism, uncommon sacrifice, and resolute commitment in the days ahead because the works that we have to do are enormous.
Particularly I wish to graciously invite my former opponent and all the other people in the opposition party to turn a new leaf and join me and the rescue team to make Taraba great, to make Taraba an enviable place and not a theater for war.
As a Minister representing Taraba State on the Federal Executive Council, there are several inputs, privileges, and opportunities that she can harness and deploy for the growth and development of her state.
We can develop this synergy along with our members in the national assembly notwithstanding what political party platform that they got there. What is important is Taraba and what should be uppermost in our minds is to explore, harness and direct policies, programs and resources towards enhancing the welfare and the wellbeing of the people of Taraba State. This must be uppermost in our minds because if the people do not benefit, we have wasted our time, and wasted the votes they have given us, that should be uppermost in our minds.
Join me and the RESCUE TEAM to transform the livelihood of citizens and the landscape of Taraba State.
This is a clarion call to:
- All patriotic indigenes of Taraba State
- All faithful friends and all well wishers,
- All willing development partners and
- All willing and genuine investors.
Come and join us to make Taraba great. Thank you, thank you very much and thank you very much indeed!!!