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Peace, Military Presence As New Chief of Takum Arrives Town

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My Projects has me more popular among the people – Gov. Ishaku

Taraba State Governor, Arch. Darius Dickson Ishaku in a media interactive session recently in Jalingo spoke about his achievements and how his peace efforts are already yielding permanently results among several communities bedeviled with communal crises in the state, Taraba Truth and Facts was present at the briefing, excerpts

Your Excellency, your government has embarked on many projects across the state, what would you want the people of Taraba state to always remember you for? 

I want them to continue believing me as they have been doing before that what I say is what I do, and I have said a lot of things that we hope to accomplish this year and by the grace of God I think we will achieve them. They are many but we would do our best despite the COVID-19 which has moved to 2021 we will do our best to make sure that our people get the best out of us.

All the projects are dear to my heart because right from campaign days 2014 to 2015 I did identify the priorities that I intend to achieve, and by the grace of God, he has helped us to achieve a lot of milestone in health sector. Before my coming, anybody who is sick in the rural communities is thinking of coming to Specialist Hospital in Jalingo and many of them didn't make it.  I have examples of so many and I think the health care should be the number one priority, so we constructed three very good hospitals , the one in Wukari is operational, the one in Gembu is completed and awaiting commissioning , the one in Bambur is finished is also awaiting commissioning and each one of these has a  MRI machines installed inside.

In case you also don't know, MRI machine is the brand new version of what you call X-ray machine but it does more in diagnostic for the doctors and we have made it in a way that it will be powered alongside the hospital by solar so that the question of saying generator pack up and NEPA is not there that would be a story of the past. Like Wukari, I deliberately insisted that all the doctors, consultants must be above 60 years and they must be professor emeritus. And the experiment is working very well because any body after 60 with a good house, driver , a cook there are always in the hospital for the patients to come, their needs and wants are reduced and they have been doing wonderful in Wukari where there have been in operation for over a year, we will move to Gembu very soon and we will move to Bambur and after that I hope God willing we have a repeat.

Also we have done a lot in our primary health care centers all over the state.  In fact, I should be talking more about the primary health care because of those ones affecting the rural people. The United Nations was here and was praising our primary health care that is scattered all over the state. Our primary health delivery across the state is fantastic and having direct impact on the people.

Another project incidentally that is making me more popular among the people,   is infrastructure.  Even the blind and those who don't like our government can see the construction of the  duallization  of roads from the Jalingo Airport to Kpantinapu and the flyover construction. They can see the Mararaba –Baissa- Abong road project among others.

Skill acquisition is another project that I'm proud of.  I'm proud of Aisha in Gashaka  and anywhere in the world  I go, I'll open jotting booklet and show them Aisha. When she came in 2015 she came with a rotten slippers and a leather bag but we trained her as a tailor and she is doing wonderfully well. By 2019, she took over most child  payment of boys in Gashaka because from nothing she became somebody and the beauty of it all is, she brought a woman who has 2 children, a widow and trained her,   empowered her, set her up .she is now having so many people that she is training in tailoring. This is among the over 8000 youth and women that we have empowered. One thing again from this empowerment is that the women are more dependable, because all the women we have trained in different fields are performing and doing very well. 

Another angle of our intervention that also excites me and I know the people will continue to remember me for is the rehabilitation of abandoned industries in the state. I inherited 27 moribund factories and establishments in the state, and happily we have revived 7 that are now doing well and profitable but the question I  always ask myself is what next?

I am telling you that I was in overseas and somebody was praising Highland Tea and he didn't know that I'm the one that revived the factory and brought it back. He was telling a friend of his that there is Highland Tea from Nigeria which is one of the best around the world. He was trying to convince his friend and I was there just laughing. So, Highland Tea is also doing very well  and there a huge demand for it in Germany,  Dubai and other places and even Egypt but then we are yet to get them there on a big scale level and all well, it has been profitable so far but I will do something before I leave, I will never allow it to remain like that because if it's a government property they will ruin it down and I going to reduce the government stake there and bring on board some private partners that are very serious so that some people who are in Kakara and other places that are benefiting  from it will continue to benefit from that project. I'm proud anytime I get to Abuja, I tell them that Kakara is the only village in Nigeria that has 24 hours light better than the one you have in Abuja. Anybody from Sardauna that are from Kakara here will tell you that yes in their village they don't lack light because of what I did there, So let me stop here because I have mentioned like 4 or 5

What is your administration doing  to ensure that some of these communal crisis and clashes in the state are permanently  solved once and for all?

Thank you very much indeed for that question. Give me peace and I will give you development was our slogan when we came to government.  Yes,  I'm happy with what we have achieved so far, when I came on board a lot of people were displaced and ran out of their farms , when I came on board there was charge, communion clashes, religious crisis etc and we went to work, we talked to several groups, traditional rulers, religious rulers all of them, community leaders were all involved. But the greatest challenge came in 2017 in Mambilla Plateau. The problem there was like a recurrent decimal every 8 to 10 years there is always a crisis in the area and it was like a reoccurring decimal and this time it came with all force and fury. I set up a committee , set up a panel, we had problems initially one group refuses to come in and testify before the committee and there was so many dangling here and there. We persevere and I thank God that the committee I set up did a very good job and I commend them and I took my time to read the whole reports and I also took time to start to find what is the constant and the deducted the constant from the other variables to know what is igniting the crisis and I got them out and he told me that I will follow not this architecture to urban and regional planning and so we will do all this after deducting I knew the causes because when you have a repeated thing happening there must be some constant that have not changed and on summation finally I decided that I will create district and later I dropped it and created additional 6 chiefdoms. And I tell you to my shock and surprise last year a group of Fulani's from Mambilla, came down to say a thank you sir, since you did what you did we have had no problems on the plateau and that was a good example and we had to duplicate it in other areas and I want to assure you that by the grace of God before I leave I will keep the state in a peaceful atmosphere and I want to assure you that anywhere I get a solution with will be a permanent solution we had in Mambilla because I take my time to select the committee,  I take my time to read their reports, I take my time to view the deductions of the constants and after you do that the variables are little and then you know.

So there are lots of things that cause unrest. I have said it repeatedly and I will repeat again as long as the security agencies have not been broken down particularly the police, a civilian has nothing to do with military.   Here you see military , you see army going about with gun and yet there is kidnapping unless in all seriousness we are able to have a federal police, state police and a local government  police and even the community police you can't solve the security problems. Because the community police knows the community, the state police knows the state, the federal police can assist the state when the case is bigger than them and in that system you can keep people in check but here we are in the country you are not free to own arms and somebody comes with Ak47 what will you do? You are at his mercy and when he murders you he run away and he is not going to be arrested.

So I want to assure you by the grace of God before we leave we will sort out all these potential problems and you know some of this problems are related to economic frustrations and desperations and the part of some leaders. Once you soften those , the economic benefits are coming, this is an agricultural state and my government places a lot of emphasis on agric, since we resumed office in 2015, we have been  giving people fertilizers, seedlings among other to farmers for free every year.

We started with big tractors, among others and we realized that the big ones we found out that it was not giving them the result we wanted so I went to tiller ones so as I speak to you my file is been lying down in the ministry of finance for the last 3years for them to just give me approval to bring in over 1000 tractors, the small mini tractors and I'm yet to get it. Our people love farming  more and any average Nigeria out of 100, 98% is a capitalist and so when you bring a tractor like I did the first time, I was pairing them as a community and it never worked but the moment they saw a tiller everybody is owning it for themselves.  They are servicing it and taking care of it and that is working wonders and that also reduce the tension because somebody has something to do. Taraba is so rich that we are working like just like people without eyes and anything you take you can make money.  I came across somebody who all he does is live abroad and comes here , he goes to Zing, my SSG village and buys all they yam and containerized and takes it overseas, he said how much he is making, its serious money in foreign currency he will go to the villages with jean and face cap he was busy buying the species of yam and he will tell you the whole difference between the rice in Karim Lamido, Gassol and the one others.  But  everybody here wants to do a white collar job but we are doing our best to expose our people to opportunities in farming and I am very happy when I empower 16000 farmers in Karim Lamido in 2017, 10 of them bought brand new tractors, I also farm there and my farm is doing very well there and I will continue even when I leave the governorship position because they are sources where you can make money here and I do the dry season I don't do the wet season because I get 3 times more in the dry season than the wet season. I didn't know  this until I started doing it myself.

He was the one who educated me when he said, look our cattle normally they just give 2 liters of milk a day but go and get one special breed they call the Sokoto Gudali  and it will give you 10 to about 15 liters  and so I sat there and quickly did an arithmetic, so he asked me how big is your government house I say like what? he said is it big up to a football field I say more than football field and he said okay go and make a quick ranch put 10 cows there you will be making 1.5million to 2million every month from milk alone and I started the experiment here in my DDI office although I suffered casualties they stole out of it but the experiment was working and there was some people telling these ignorant people that ranching was coming to their tribe to deny them their traditional rights of going about with cattle and this well we got a lot of people that helped a lot of help in propagating the advantages of ranching but then since we don't have police in our houses we were been frustrated, they send military here to come and close down our marshals and the marshals were to supervise to make sure that the anti-grazing laws were enforced but they were frustrated.

It is just recently that our license was approved but then the damage is already done. Happily though,  I'm seeing some people in the region , I don't know where they picked it from but maybe it is from our  preaching in 2017 that now suddenly downed on them that they are doing their own ranching privately and quietly. We hope to establish a ranching agric school this would have been done 3 years ago since 2017 but the loan I applied for was frustrated and I didn't get it until recently. So these are areas I send our legislatures to go to the capital and every night a jumbo jets leaves Nairobi to Europe carrying beef by the grace of God before I leave 2023 I will make sure I get a runway that will be carrying beef here to Lagos, Rivers, Ghana and other places and we are working assiduously on it. God permitting it, I want it to work and as I tell you rich people don't quarrel and my hope is to make sure one million people in Taraba here have like one  million naira in their pocket then they won't fight again. We will empower people and make sure they have money, we make sure they have something that when they wake up in the morning they are running to go and see their cattle in the farm or they are running to go and make sure they are harvesting their rice in the farm and by the time people are busy, the crisis will subsidies.  So I'm telling you when we expose our people to ventures,  to things they can do to make money. You see,  the rich people never quarrels because once your pocket is full of money you will be afraid to fight. So I want to enrich as many people as I can and when I enrich them they will run away from quarrel let alone fighting. It is when you quarrel that you fight and when you want to quarrel and you realized you have some millions somewhere you will caution yourself. We will do our best and make sure that we solve all these reoccurring crisis. We have been succeeding but it takes two to tangle and we need the security apparatus to help us in enhancing our efforts.



Sir, are you not bothered with the rising  issues of rape across the state, what is your government doing to tackle it?

Well,  I don't know that that of Taraba is so high. I think the urban centers like Lagos, Ibadan, Kaduna, and Abuja have such records and I don't know that ours has gone that high but wwhen we get these cases we would trial the offenders but I haven't gotten much of these cases like I hear in other state and I hope it will remain as low because I receive report everyday and if there is a problem anywhere in the state in a space of an hour, I always get the report but for rape it's very rare.

But recently,  since last year and some months now, we were thinking of how to do with the 72 children that were sold, you call it child trafficking. One notorious woman we caught her and  I think she is still locked up. So, I was wondering on why would somebody sell their children so  I set up the committees to go round to check if it really happened and actually the parent sold these children some sold at N10,000,  some N5,000 and yet it is a horrific experience and knowledge so we learnt she had to get some people some experience people who are handling this and to my shock and dismay,  I now got to know that Taraba is one of the endemic areas in child trafficking.

They buy these children , some go to do rituals with them , some make them sex slaves and everything and these children, some of them up till today, don't even remember their parent name or where they come from. We wanted to domicile them in Hope Afresh Foundation and now that hope has been crashed  during the EndSARS protest, it's no longer afresh. So these are things that sometimes we as leaders you find that you are doing something noble and you get a shock from the same people you are trying to salvage. That is Hope Afresh, she did a very good job without my wife I couldn't have known where NGADA is or having to develop the area. She was the one that discover NGADA like Mongo Park discovered Nigeria. It was her pressure and exposition that we discovered Reverend Helwick , an American revolutionist who retired and wants to stay in NGADA and today NGADA is a different story. We are proud of Ndola we are proud of the Coordinator there because he did a marvelous job  within the 4 years. These are things that Hope Afresh foundation had done as its legacy projects and the children that are growing there in future will come to say thank you mama.

 Tell us your Excellency,  are you going to contest for Senate come 2023, what is your next political ambition?

Let me tell you, Darius Dickson Ishaku always wait on Lord, I never ever go to others that God for something, I always wait on the Lord. In 2003 when I was looking for senator, I was rigged out, properly rigged out here because then I'm a common consultant coming into the political arena and I was a sharing N2,000 for people when my opponent giving them N50,000. I almost fainted and I swore that I will never go back to politics until God went and look for me under my table or under my bedroom where God search and dragged me out when I was 1000km away from Abuja when I got a phone call at 2 am that am required immediately to come back home and they said they are needing me in SSS Headquarters in Abuja and obviously I had a land tussle problem with one big man that was years ago and I thought he has used his connections so I use the whole day in ransacking the details of my papers and things my C of O and all the permit .

So, I left for Abuja and I was there from 8am till 9pm nobody told me why I was there so I called the head I said look even if have slaughtered somebody they should have told me why I'm here meanwhile my wife was outside waiting , they took all my handset, it was around 10pm somebody entered and said congratulations sir I and I said for what? For keeping me here for this hours? and then he laughed and said sir answer me it is for good and I said I'm not answering you. Why should you keep me here after getting my footprint , my hand print and everything  for what? So he walked away then somebody else came in and whispered sir we are screening you for ministerial appointment? And I said who? Me?  I said this man must be joking. This is how I found myself as a minister and I was unique because God has a hand in it. I was in Power and went to Niger Delta.

I was managing Niger Delta and later to Environment won't you say God is there?  The experiences I got in Power, Niger Delta and Environment ministries are some of the experiences I'm using right here . In Niger Delta I was working with volatile youth and I know what they do. They have asked me several times that if they trouble me in Taraba here, they would come and I said not yet. In Environment there was a lot of laws about cutting down and prevention of cutting down of woods.  In power I did a lot of things in power and up till today we had high power offer with Kashimbilla dam and designed that of Mambilla  and that is God hand.  I was dusting my papers to go back and continue my consultancy and lecturing , I was a lecturer for 8 years and that wasn't the destiny God owned it and I ended up in Jalingo and I'm here as the governor right now.  If God destines that some years his giving me another assignment I will always say that God here I am use me because even when Jonah refuse he ended up at the belly of the fish so I don't want to be as stubborn as Jonah so Lord here I am use me. I know he will maintain me to the end and I know that we will end 2023 peacefully and I know by 2023 a lot more Tarabans will be happy and will be joyful. I will have a booklet that is twice this size, all the things here are not fictions they are project that are on the ground, all the water that we dug, people are still using it today , the hospital's are still there,  I will rather wait for what God will give than what  man will give me. When God gives you assignment he gives you the heart , the mind and the desire to do it. Sometimes if I tell you when I go to bed you won't believe it but ask those who always come to me ask the deputy , ask the speaker , they will all tell you. Sometimes I am still up by 3 am. During those crisis my doctor was  asking me what is your problem, I say my problem is that I don't sleep, that all the problem I have, how will I be sleeping when there are slaughtering some innocent souls in the field I do make sure that I put the security agencies on their toes because I keep calling  them at the middle of the nights up till the morning Because if I don't get result I don't sleep.  27 boys were kidnapped and I have been on their track. Thank God we have about 25 now or 26 well of them are out now that is what I do. I keep this people on toes and they give me result and when they give me result I can now sleep. Now that he has told me 27 of them have been found and I told him today is a good day. You see what you struggle the devil will interject inside he will make you look desperate and he will make you look that as if you don't get it , it's the end of life till you go into so many kataata now and God forbid. If God says I should be there, when I'm there I will invite you, if I'm not there I will invite you to my company you come and see I will be going into architecture designing and I will give you a beautiful design if you want a house.





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