The Taraba State Governor, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku has a Special Programme called Rescue Watch; an arm of his Rescue Agenda. The Rescue Watch is headed by the Governor, with the Chief of Staff, Hon. Rebo Usman, at the helm of affairs, assisted by the Special Adviser on Manifesto Implementation, Hon. Sadiq Nuhu and Special Adviser on Revenue Matters, Hon. Taninga Binga.
Every local government has a Rescue team, made up of a Special Adviser on grass root matters, Senior Special Assistants, Special Assistants and Ward contact persons. These people are mandated to visit a ward each time they go out. For each outing, they hold town hall meetings, visit various infrastructure and ongoing projects, and generally interface with the people on behalf of the Governor.
Apart from the numerous achievements of the Rescue Watch, the Taraba people at the grassroots also enjoy the following benefits and look forward to the Rescue Watch every month.
1. Talking directly to the Governor: Taraba people at the grassroots normally talk directly to the Governor through video recordings done during every outing. As soon as the videos are brought back, the clips are watched by the Rescue Team secretariat where important issues that keep recurring are repackaged and presented to the Governor as they are. The Governor watches these videos after every Rescue Watch outing. For example, most people while talking will express how they feel about his Rescue Mission, how it has helped them, give suggestions and make requests.
2. Sell Important Ideas: They have the opportunity to sell important ideas to the Governor through videos. 5 people are selected from each polling unit, making up between 50 to 100 people per town hall meeting. These people cut across age group, political affiliation, tribes, religion, and occupation. Because of the variety of backgrounds people are coming from, ideas that the Governor’s Advisers could have missed will be known.
3. Being Captured in Official Decision Making: Taraba people at the grassroots have the opportunity to be considered and captured in decisions that the Governor finally makes since most decisions will be made with the plight of the grassroots in mind. For example, in the last outing in July, the Rescue Team from Lau identified the high prevalence of Hepatitis infection.
After the Commissioner of health gave the Governor and the Rescue Team a breakdown of the negative effects of the disease, the Governor decided there and then that there should be massive awareness campaign on the dangers of the disease, since a thorough treatment requires a huge amount per person.
4. Feel closer to the Government: Most Tarabans at the grassroots reveal that the fact the Governor sends his top appointees to visit them regularly and capture the visits on videos that he watches proves that he has their interest at heart. This alone makes them feel closer to the government and gives them a sense of belonging.
5. Personalized care: Thousands of people who do not have any connections to top people in government have personally benefited from the Governor directly in very odd ways, ranging from condolence visits, medical and surgical bills payment, one and one advice, repairs, provision of farm inputs and skills acquisition training among others. This is because the Rescue Team is mandated to give out resources to ordinary people they meet as they go about performing their duty.
6. Honest Confessions: The Rescue Watch has made Taraba people at the grassroots to make revealing honest confessions that has helped the Governor to know how he is being perceived and how his policies and programs are being received. For example, a man confessed that they were asked not to vote the Governor during the election, yet, it was this same Governor God used to save his life by sending his team to pay for an anti-snake venom when he was bitten by a snake. Now he is sold and would vote for him in 2019.
7. Experience of true love: Since the Governor wants a ward each to be visited in each local government during each outing, the Rescue Team has no choice but to visit wards located in remote areas that are not motorable. Some teams travel by motor cycles for as much as five hours, in the name and authority of the Governor to visit people who have never been visited by top government officials, irrespective of religion or tribe. The beneficiaries themselves confessed to this and understands it as being nothing but true love.
What can you say about the Rescue Watch and the Grassroots? Feel free to share your thoughts, suggestions and encourage the governor.