The month of March reminds us of one of history’s greatest acts of political treachery and betrayal. In 44 BC, on the Ides of March, an act of betrayal and political assassination was carried out in Rome, the capital city of the Roman Empire. On that day Brutus, a Senator of the Empire joined hands with co-conspirators to murder his closest friend and the Emperor, Julius Caesar, by viciously stabbing him 23 times leading to his death.
Fortunately for Taraba State, the month of March this year saw the safe return of Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku to the capital of the State after spending some time in Abuja recuperating from a domestic accident. Mischief-makers and rumour-peddlers had used their tongues to wish he did not return at the time he did.
In the brief absence of the Governor, traitors of all shades had sought to also use the opportunity for muck-raking and rabble-rousing, all geared towards garnering personal political gains or advancing political advantages to the detriment of the people of Taraba State. The sheer hypocrisy of this stinks to high heavens. To give it a veneer of constitutionality these ignorant elements acting like kindergartens misinterpreted sections 189 and 190 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN). They sought to erroneously use these constitutional provisions for power to be transferred to Governor Ishaku’s Deputy. The mischievous characters did not know that these sections of the Constitution deal only with when the Governor is on a vacation or is incapacitated. However, this could not have been applicable to the Governor’s situation. It should be noted that while away from the State he continued to carry the functions of his office as Governor and the affairs of the State were running smoothly.
However, we know their intention, which was to mischievously use those two sections of the Constitution to cause a division within the government by trying to make the Deputy Governor as Acting Governor. Thus, setting the Deputy Governor against his principal. Unfortunately for them, they failed woefully as they didn’t reckon the Deputy Governor, Engr. Haruna Manu is a man of proven integrity. He did not fall for their bait. The Deputy Governor unwaveringly stood firmly with Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku to the utter disappointment of these mischief-makers.
Governor Darius Ishaku’s triumphant return on 19th March, 2020 put to shame their antics and ploy. Since his return he has hit the ground running attending to state matters in his usual diligent manner. For example, he has taken steps to stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). In a broadcast to the people of the State after his return, he set out some measures to check the spread of this deadly virus. These measures include the setting up of a 15-man Technical Committee to prevent and stop the spread of the virus in the State. He also enjoined religious and traditional leaders to sensitize their members and subjects, and the general public to adhere strictly to the guidelines of personal hygiene.
Our calls therefore, to these political gladiators and pugilists to please allow Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku to continue the good work he has been doing for the people of Taraba State since 2015. In particular, I urge Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, the Senator representing Taraba South and the Senate Deputy Minority Leader, to retrace his steps from his misguided utterances. His recent statement published in the Taraba Truth and Facts newspaper (January 20, 2020) to the effect that he was betrayed by Governor Ishaku during the 2019 election is not only a blatant falsehood, but in bad taste.
We all know for a fact that Governor Ishaku actively campaigned for Bwacha’s re-election in the 2019 polls. As a Senator who had been in the Senate for two terms then, there were several agitations that Bwacha should allow for a shift from the Takum-Ussa-Donga Federal Constituency to the Wukari- Ibi Federal Constituency, in the interest of equity, fair play and justice. However, Governor Darius Ishaku intervened on his behalf, pleading with those from Wukari-Ibi Federal Constituency to give him another chance, which saw Bwacha being re-elected as a Senator representing Southern Taraba Senatorial District for the third term.
In fact, Governor Ishaku personally and vigorously campaigned for him wherever he went in Southern Taraba Senatorial Zone. Therefore, it came to me as a great shock when I read from the newspaper the Senator accusing the Governor of betraying him. If there was any betrayal it was the other way round!
We all witnessed the lack of interest Senator Bwacha demonstrated immediately after his elections. He never showed concern whether Governor Ishaku was re-elected or not. This lukewarm attitude toward the Governor’s re-election disappointed many PDP supporters in the Senatorial Zone, who felt all the need for a united front so as to be victorious in all the elections.
Sadly also, the Senator joined the ranks of the Governor’s traducers during his absence. He attempted to reap where he did not sow. It will be recalled that Governor Ishaku had, consistent with the pursuit of social equity and to correct historical injustices, created and upgraded a number of traditional chiefdoms and chieftaincy stools. But in his absence, the Senator gave some Tokumbo cars as gifts to the upgraded chiefs in Southern Taraba Senatorial District. The purpose we believe was to curry favor with these newly appointed chiefs for his concealed gubernatorial ambition in 2023.
Although this is not a crime, nonetheless it smacks of political opportunism. I wish the traditional rulers all the material comfort they can get, and I am sure the Governor would have welcomed the Senator’s gesture too. But for Senator Bwacha to do so with his eyes fixed on certain political advantage appears opportunistic.
Finally, I am pleading with Senator Emmanuel Bwacha to shun all bad counsel as well as resist people pushing him into a mindless and unfruitful fight with Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku. Rather, he should join hands with the Governor to build a more virile Taraba State for the present and future generation, if he wants to be seen as a patriotic citizen of the State.
Governor Ishaku has about three more years to finish his second tenure, what the Governor and people of the State cannot afford are unnecessary distractions and political gamesmanship from people fixative on 2023 and other considerations, rather than the challenges of today, which Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku is successfully tackling.
Barrister Danjuma A. Adamu
Honourable Commissioner for Information and Re-Orientation