In this interview with journalists in Jalingo, Taraba state governor, Arc Darius Dickson Ishaku, spoke on his 6 years in office, and the national security challenges, pointing that the nation is gradually sliding into a state of anarchy. NAHUM SULE was there for The AUHORITY.
Sir, you have been in office for six years, can you give us an overview of what you have achieved?
Thank you very much for this occasion, marking my six years anniversary. Taraba state has been through a lot and I will not exclude to mention our good, bad and worst days as government. It has been a tough journey, which is expected from any leadership. When I assume office, there were lots of crisis, in different ramifications, ranging from ethnic violence to religion and banditry, also cattle rustling. But for now we’re grateful to God, that we’ve substantially fished out some evils beings. We’re still facing security issues but it is actually not like before. Now I can’t say insecurity is something we should only mention in Taraban, because it affects every part of the country now. On the development side, we have done a lot, I will score myself 80% because anything less than that is a failure. But you see in politics there are development that are finite and infinite, the visible and the none visible. They complement each other, starting from the development which is the one people see and appreciate, in the aspects of water we done a lot, in times of infrastructure, roads, hospital, education, agriculture, down the line that we have done a lot and this are infinite development. Now if you take a look back in this six years is has been a success, even though sometimes I feel I need to do more assuming I’ve enough resources. As said within this six years, I score myself 80%, and I’m sure the remaining two years, we will accomplish a lot and finish all the project that are already on the pipeline, so that by the time I’m handling over, I will be handing over successful project.
Your Excellency, you have done a lot in tackling insecurity since you assume office, and just at the verge of peace, last few weeks, there were several killings by herdsmen in central Taraba, what is the government doing to stop the spread of the crisis before it escalates?
That’s is a bad news, but the the killings originated from Benue, the Tiv that were in Benue killed some Fulani people at Dogo Gawa, axis, they burnt some Fulani tankers, they went ahead and killed some. That was done in Benue, but unfortunately the Fulani in Taraba decided to take a revenge on the Tiv settlement in Taraba, killing about 18 people, but the government moved in immediately, I asked the military and police to as a matter of urgency calm the situation. And I received report that many were arrested. Before the news got the security agents, a lot of damage has already occurred. Let me tell you, a lot has been done, but the government cannot be taking all its action to the media, we do this things sometimes quietly to get the maximum effect. All the IDPs are being fed, they’re being taking care of by the government, but we can’t be saying this out, the effect is already on ground. It’s unfortunate that I’m hearing from others who don’t have knowledge of what’s happening on ground, we’ve contained it. But for now there’s relative calm.
Sir, still on security, not just in Taraba, the entire North East, in South West they came up with Amotekun, in South East they have Ebube Agu, is the North East region contemplating on forming a regional security outfit?
About the regional security outfit, the North East is not contemplating it, I particularly don’t support it. But I’ve abinitio being emphasing on state police. We copy this Constitution from the USA, but they operate local police, states police and federal police. And they complement each other. They never bring their military to any situation in town. Their military goes for war outside. But here, the vital component of the state police is being removed. I’m called Executive Governor, Executive Governor for what, if I cannot implement the decision I’ve taken with troops under my command? So the state police is imperative, more than any regional security outfit. Without state police we are still surcharging the democracy and it can’t work like that. The military needs to only come in on last resort. And it’s a disgrace if the military cannot flush out insurgency. Its a slapped on our face, if our military excel in Sudan, Liberia, Congo, etc and be able to excel there, why are they not excelling in Nigeria? That question most be answered. If we can get the answer to the why, Nigeria will be peaceful. Yes!!! We’re sliding into a failed state, into a state of anarchy. Take a ride to Rwanda you will know what I’m talking about. We’re sliding into a failed state and yet we are feeling bigger. This is a very beautiful country, but we must manage it well to enjoy the beauty.
Your Excellency, your slogan is give me peace and I will give you development. Development means different things according to people’s perception. But for the civil servants development means 30 thousands minimum wage, for pensioners development means paying gratuity and pensions, sir you are aware that the state labour congress, had a strike, and there was an agreement to implement the minimum wage by June, what is your position on that sir?
Thank you, I’ve from the beginning being a labour friendly governor. As a matter of fact, I’ve been paying salaries to civil servants to date. I had no problems. But what the labour most understand is that you do not go into strike for the sake of it. If you want to demonstrate that you want a minimum wage, you first have to wait and see things. There’s no much resources in this country. Some states have not being paying for months. So labour is not being realistic, that is why sometimes you will not be able to achieve what you want. Sometimes they first have to sit with me and see things before demonstrating. Take for example what is happening in Kaduna. Labour should not be about fighting, but sit to reason with the government.
Sir there has been cross carpeting from PDP to APC in the national level, are you worried about it?
I’m totally not worried, because of the decision, they are personal decision, those who left have taken a wrong decision. APC is not the owner of Nigeria, we are all here together, if they fail, we all fail. APC needs to seek help from PDP and not to think that they’re mister right. We should be patriotic rather than supporting political parties. If we’re stable in this country, I’m telling you people will rush to travel here.