Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku is exactly five years today on the saddle of leadership in Taraba State. What then are his achievements so far? They are indeed numerous and can only be digested separately for the purpose of clarity.
Some of these numerous achievements include the resuscitation of the state’s moribund companies, roads construction, especially the ongoing dualization of the road linking the two city gates in Jalingo with a fly-over at the ever busy road-block area of the state capital, the Marraba-Baissa-Abong-Kan Iyaka road; the commissioned Magami road network in Jalingo, Takum township roads, Takum-Katsina Ala road as well as the ongoing Yorro-Kpantisawa road, Wukari-Tsokundi road, among many others; provision of pipe born water to over 300 communities, construction of the Taraba Vegetable Company (Green House) which has considerably increased the internally generated revenue of the state as well as host of other projects.
The administration also renovated and upgraded three general hospitals in the state, employed over 3000 teachers which impacted positively on the the state’s WAEC performance giving the state 85.74% success in 2019, renovated existing classroom blocks and constructed new ones across the state with new sets of furniture and other instructional materials. These five years also witnessed the digitization of the state television, provided job opportunities for teeming youths through empowerment programmes where they were trained and provided starter packs. Others were trained at the prestigious Peter Akinola Foundation and the pet project of the governor’s wife, Hope Afresh Foundation. Many rural communities in the state today enjoy electricity courtesy of injection substations contructed by Ishaku with quite a number connected to the national grid.
This piece, however, dwells only on one of the resuscitated state owned companies, the Mambila Beverages Nigeria Limited, makers of Highland tea.
Located at Kakara in Sardauna Local Government Area of Taraba state atop a plateau, the tea estate just as the area bears unique features. It stands at 1,850 meters above sea level, having amazing climate of tropical weather interspersed hugely with temperate all year round. It also experiences heavy and prolonged rains more than any part of Taraba State each year. It is presumably the hub of tourism in Nigeria.
The tea factory there is one of its kind in Nigeria. But after operating for decades, it ran into operational problems. The Taraba state government decided to take over and save it.The workers were being owed many months’ salary arrears, and everybody involved in the chain of tea production from growers to factory hands had lost hope in the organization and considered it dead, not to be resuscitated. This scenario called for investing millions of naira, which the government proceeded to do.
In his policy of carrying a surgical operation on the industrial needs and potentials of the State, Governor Darius Ishaku included the Mambila Beverages Limited, makers of Highland tea, for revamping. He considered the even spread of industries across the state to cushion the effect of acute unemployment, a situation that had torn the state apart by youth restiveness and communal clashes. Today, the revamping of that project has made life and the economy of the Mambila people and by extension, Taraba State and Nigeria at large, worthwhile. The people are truly happy, many thanks to the Ishaku administration. The new initiative is remarkable and has given the people a sense of belonging.
It therefore took the bold initiative of Governor Ishaku when he assumed office to get the situation on a sound pedestal by replacing all the antiquated equipment. The process required pumping in huge sums of money. It was an extraordinary show of genuine interest to develop Taraba State. He considered the company as a top priority project.
An omnibus structure in place to oversee industries in the state is the Taraba Investment and Properties Company Limited (TRIP). Unfortunately, TRIP lacked both the financial muscle and the right staff with the right spirit to function effectively. However, these seeming difficulties did not deter Governor Ishaku. Things must not remain the same, as he was keen on getting the organization on stream. TRIP, as the aegis had not only the Mambila Beverages to revive, but also other companies including the Viva Feed mill Limited, Taraba Microfinance Bank, TRIP Poly Products Limited, Taraba Savings and Loans Limited and Taraba Oil Mills Limited among others.
To ensure that it was not a pipedream, Governor Ishaku took the pains to recruit serious, intelligent and committed young men to turn around the fortunes of the companies. This necessitated the hiring of the present Managing Director, Mr. Iliya Ezekiel to steer the affairs of the investment House. Today, many of the companies under TRIP have been revived and are posting impressive results.
So the level of genuine commitment on the part of the Ishaku administration can be seen in the procurement of modern tea processing machines such as the cut, tear and curl (CTC), the fluid bed dryer, Tea wrapping machines as well as Tea bagging machines, which are critical modern tea production equipment anywhere in the world.
This dramatic turnaround was necessitated by the rumour that government could not manage the tea estate and plans were afoot to sell it to foreign investors, including a company from neighbouring Cameroun, which had also been in the bidding process. Nevertheless, the governor stood his grounds and he prevailed.
Moreover, having brought the Tunga Dam project with its attendant’s benefits to the tea factory and the neighbouring communities, Governor Ishaku is working towards constructing the Tunga II Dam project to generate more electricity and water for the tea estate and adjoining villages.
It is to the credit of Governor Ishaku that he increased the amount paid to out-growers from N24 per kg to N30 per kg. It was compelled by good conscience to do this. In addition, he extended the same gesture to the labourers plucking tea for the Mambila Beverages Nigeria Limited. For instance, they were being paid N12 per kg, but he increased it to N16 per kg.
Recently, there were talks by union bodies negotiating with management on wide ranging issues bordering on the need for price increases among other things which the government believes must be based on mutual understanding and valid agreements.
Also, the administration has given employment to the teeming unemployed youths in the area and even beyond, which efforts have also increased revenue generation for the state and have improved the living conditions of those employed in the industry as well as dwellers in the vicinity. Presently, the company has employed 3,000 direct and indirect staff.
These benefits made the communities to extend their appreciations to Governor Darius Ishaku in more varied ways. During his recent visit to the area, the people of Nguroje came out in their numbers to receive Ishaku. The governor was presented with a well-fed horse as a token of appreciation for what he has been doing to the communities.
Interestingly, the Mambila Beverages Nigeria Limited faces huge demands for its products within the country and across the borders. The quality of the tea and the green tea, a recent addition, testifies to its global demand, appeal and competitiveness to consumers in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. This is so because like the green tea, its multiple health benefits are legendary. Therefore, there is a surfeit of market for it. Daily, trucks of Highland tea head towards Chad, Niger, Libya and other African countries. This therefore attests to the fact that the plucking system being adopted by the company management is of satisfactory standard. The company is however, working assiduously towards enhancing a few logistics.
Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku’s administration is people oriented as its Rescue mission chant is not a ruse. It is based on holistic, well-articulated development agenda for the state with the people being great beneficiaries. No state becomes great when the people are impoverished. The dividends of democracy, which the Ishaku administration has provided in terms of infrastructure, institutions and the establishment of industries have direct impact on the people. The government will not waver, but carry this policy to the end of the second term. The people of Taraba are very much aware of the performance indicators of Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku.
Mijinyawa is the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Taraba State.
The Executive Governor of Taraba state, Arch. Darius Dickson Ishaku has inaugurated his cabinet for the rescue mission two journey comprising of 23 Commissioners drawn from the 16 local government areas of the state and development area after a thorough screening at the State’s House of Assembly.
The Governor while addressing the newly sworn in members of the State Executive Council, urged them to put in their very best stressing that they were carefully selected from various local governments as well as tribes and ethnic groups.
He said the state is qualified with numerous people to be appointed into the State Executive Council but he is limited by the constitution and funds and urged those who are not appointed yet to keep calm as there are many more appointments ahead where they will be captured.
The Governor openly informed the commissioners that they are the middle men between him and the people and pleaded with people not to over weigh them with so much pressure on demands as this may keep them off their official duty.
To the new Head of Service, the Governor informed her that the success of the rescue mission lays solely on her shoulders as her advice and decisions will determine how well the people and workers will fair.
Governor Ishaku announced that there will be training and retraining and said there’s nothing expected from her except the best.
He called on civil servants to cooperate with the new appointees so as to enable them succeed in their fields of endeavor and directed that they all be giving the agenda for the Rescue 2 so as to be more familiarized with the agenda and blue print of the administration.
The Governor assured the people that all projects started by his administration will be completed and more attended. He pleaded with Tarabans to embrace peace and said that conflicts and crisis has never brought development to any nation or community. He congratulated them and wished them well in their various offices.
Barr. Nya Akirinkwe who spoke on behalf of the newly sworn in commissioners thanked the Governor for finding them worthy to be appointed into his cabinet and assured the Governor of their total loyalty and commitment in helping him achieve the desired developments for the state.
On the same event the Governor also swore in the head of service Mrs. Suzy and 12 Permanent Secretaries also drawn from different local governments areas of the state.
The Head of Service, Mrs. Suzy appreciated the Governor on behalf of the newly sworn in Permanent Secretaries.
She assured the Governor of their unflinching support and efforts in making sure that the civil service is well coordinated and sanitize and thanked the Governor for giving them the chance to serve.
The swearing in ceremony was attended by His Excellency Engr. Haruna Manu Deputy Governor Taraba state, Rt. Hon. Albasu Alkinjo Joseph Speaker Taraba state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Istiphanus Haruna Gbana Chief of staff government house, Hon. Victor Bala Kona PDP Chairman, Alh. Abubakar Bawa SA political etc.
The Taraba state government in collaboration with Catholic services, donated and disbursed over 2 million mosquito nets across the state in an effort to eliminate the spread of malaria in the state and the nation at large.
The wife of the executive governor was also during the occasion, decorated as Net Ambassador. Accepting the honour, Barr. Anna Ishaku appreciated the Federal Ministry of Health and the organization for choosing her as the Net Ambassador.
She said malaria being the most common challenge in the nation affects almost everyone and must be taking seriously.
Her Excellency promised to implore all possible channels and resources in making sure that this is done effectively, adding that she will mobilize others in the LGs for the crusade to spread to the nooks and crannies of the state.
Barr. Anna Ishaku stressed that she will make sure that the needful is done so that there will be no record of death associated with malaria in Taraba state and urged everyone to make themselves available and get the net so that they can be protected from this disease called malaria.
She said it is now the people’s turn to play their own part by collecting the nets since the government has just played its own part.
In his address, Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku said for the last four years, everyone will bear him witness that health has been in the forefront of his administration and this project is no doubt timely as it is complementing his efforts in bringing better health services to the state.
He called on traditional rulers to take this campaign seriously, so that it will be of benefit to Tarabans and appealed to the people to please visit the distribution centers to get one for themselves so that together, we can eradicate Malaria.
The Governor applauded the CRS for partnering the state on this very important project in eradicating malaria and promised to always support any course that will bring better health and well-being to Tarabans.
At the end of his remarks, Governor Ishaku flagged off the disbursement of the nets in the state and urged those responsible for it to be fair and just in the distribution.
The CRS leadership appreciated the Governor for his awesome support in making sure that this project is a success and promised to take the distribution to the remotest areas of the state.
His Excellency, Arch. Darius Dickson Ishaku ably represented by his deputy, Engr. Haruna Manu today gave out cheques worth millions of naira to Local Governments in the state as well as brand new mobile clinic vans.
The program which is themed: Maiden Fund Disbursement and Official Launching of NSHIP, took place at the office of the Primary Health Care Development Agency Jalingo.
The program which is in line with the rescue agenda of Gov. Ishaku for healthier results and improved health outcomes captured over 6 LG areas for Phase One.
Governor Ishaku speaking, urged the people to make use of this opportunity and avail themselves to this program so that they will benefit from it, especially in the area of child delivery.
The governor, however, warned that he will not take it lightly with anyone found misappropriating the funds released for the program.
He charged the LG chairmen to watch the implementation for the disbursement of the funds closely.
The funds disbursed ranged from 48 million naira and above for each LG attached with a brand new Mobile clinic van to the six local governments captured in phase one.
Some of the local governments captured includes Ardo Kola, Sardauna, Gassol, Takum, and two others.
The program is focused on strengthening health governance institutions, strengthening social and financial accountability, health facility autonomy, incentivizing health work effect, management of financial resources, strategic purchase of healthcare services, community engagement and ownership and protection of vulnerable groups.
The Executive Secretary, Primary health Care Alh. Aminu Hassan said Governor Ishaku has been so concerned about the well being of Tarabans especially the common man.
He said this is the first phase of the program which will so much affect lives positively.
Alh. Hassan that the governor’s prompt release and payment of counterpart funds have put them way ahead of many states in the federation and admonished the people to take advantage of this program so as to always have a safe delivery and enjoy good health.
Governor Ishaku together with his deputy, Engr. Haruna Manu during an inspection tour of the 7.5 power injection sub station at Mutumbiyu.
Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku has warned those vandalising electric poles and wires to desist from such acts and directed the Chief of Mutum Biyu, Sani Kachalla to station vigilante groups to safeguard the equipments mostly at Zangokombi where vandal activities where high.
The governor made the disclosure during an inspection tour of the 7.5 power injection sub station at Mutumbiyu.
He said electricity is vital to development of a modern society hence the trust of his administration to provide electricity to more communities.
The governor promised to commissioned the rural electrification projects at Jauro Yinu, Sibre, Kopi, Namnai, Turakeke, Kan Kwana, Mutum biyu and others.
Commenting, the contractor handling the project, Ishaku Tikon of Dizzat Engineering Company said work on the power injection sub station at mutumbiyu has reached seventy percent.
The Contractor promised to meet the deadline earmarked for the completion of the project and thanked Governor Darius Ishaku and the Chief of Mutum Biyu for their support to the project.
Also commenting, the Chief of Mutum biyu, Sani Kachala assured Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku of optimum security by vigilante groups to track vandals of electricity equipment in the area.
During a stop over by the Governor at Zongokombi, residents of the area thanked Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku for his efforts in the ongoing electricity projects and promised to fish out the vandals among them.
It should be recalled that various communities in Lau, Zing, Ardo Kola, Donga,Takum, Bali, Ussa, Jalingo and others have benefited from the rescue mission’s rural electrification projects during the first term of Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku administration.