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Column: TARABA 2023: ROOM FOR A THIRD FORCE?



 



By all permutations, the 2023 elections in Taraba state promises to be a Hobson's choice; between a dismal ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) and an opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) that due its lack of cohesion seems not ready to cash in and replace the former in Government House Jalingo.

The loss will definitely be for Taraba as a whole because the state which is in crying need of development (a recent report ranked the state as second to the last in poverty and development nationwide) will be left to continue to wallow in this regard.

If the political elite of the state in both political parties are aware of this unfortunate situation, they do not seem to bother because having had their nest egg taken care of, the welfare and developmental needs of people of the state is hardly their concern.

The appreciable tempo of development that the state recorded under the Jolly Nyame and Danbaba Suntai administrations has petered out leaving Tarabans disillusioned and uncertain about the future. This is as they watch frustratingly as states that were created long after Taraba have continued to chalk up massive progress and developmental strides in all facets of human endeavour.

Compounding the frustrations of Tarabans is the fact the APC which is expected to be the alternative to the years of locust lost to the PDP administration does not seem to inspire such hope. Indeed the most of the party's stalwarts are former members of the PDP which they ditched for one reason or the other to seek refuge in the APC. This makes the difference between the two parties as one of six and half a dozen. What difference really can one expect from a party whose top echelons are made of the former PDP members? For all practical purposes they are both two sides of the same dud coin.

The APC also suffers distinctly from the outsized ego of its top members. As most of them have occupied or are currently occupying one top government position or another, they all feel not beholden to the party and are inclined to go it alone. It will be a herculean task to get the party to come together to achieve its objectives.

But for all it is worth Tarabans must keep hope alive. From the trajectory of political developments it is very likely that both parties will implode in the run up to the 2023 elections. This will be in tandem with developments at the national level.

At the moment, the PDP is facing a serious attrition of its top members like Governors, Senators etc who are decamping to the APC. It is projected that many more top members will desert the party and join the APC in the coming months.

But there are also indications that the APC may likely also have serious problems of its own in the not distant future. Political observers believe that the APC's national convention if it comes to hold will be so acrimonious that many members will leave the party.

So the projection is that aggrieved persons from both the PDP and APC will come together to form a new political party that will challenge for power at all levels in the country.

Taraba will definitely not be left out of these developments. But even before the expected implosion of both parties at the national level, there are clear signs that in the Taraba political firmament the implosion is imminent.

Many aggrieved politicians of the PDP are right now sitting on the fence weighing their options on joining the APC either in the short or long term. But this again may not be happy harvest for the APC because of the lack of cohesion in the party and the expected fallouts resulting from the conduct of its state congress.

Reading the tea leaves it is quite clear that the combustible convulsions likely to arise from all these political developments will make it imperative for a third political force in Taraba. Developments in the state as well as the national level will make this inevitable.

The dismal performance of the PDP, the lack of purpose of the APC and the crying need for the people of Taraba to be liberated from the shackles of underdevelopment and the uncaring attitude of egotistic politicians makes the need for a third political force to emerge.

But under what auspices can this happen and what type of people should lead this paradigm shift in Taraba politics?

Taraba does not lack for persons of outstanding qualities and achievements in all fields of endeavour. Indeed such persons who have excelled in their chosen career fields in the country abound. But most have been discouraged by the politics of religion and ethnicity which have become the standard of politics in the state. Having achieved much in their career progression elsewhere they are moved to want to replicate same in the state. This is especially as the state in its state of underdevelopment needs all the talents and ideas to move it forward.

It must however be stated such persons if they are moved to effect the paradigm shift in Taraba must be prepared to make the necessary sacrifice in time and personal endeavour. They must not come with expectations to have it on a platter of gold or be begged to serve. They must be ready to be bold, courageous, committed, dedicated and tenacious in the face the many challenges they will come to face not least from people who will definitely resist the change being contemplated.

The new force that Taraba will need must be composed of persons who will be forward looking and whose mantra will be on human development to defeat the culture of lethargy, docility and resigned fatalism that have become entrenched in our psyche by political elites who seek to exacerbate the fault lines of the people in order continue to divide and rule them for their own ends.

POWER MINISTER ENGR. MAMMAN KICKING TO ACTION

It pleased me no end to see the Special Adviser to the Minister of Power on Communication,  Aaron Artimas in a hard hat inspecting some power projects around the country. Apparently Aaron does not care about his fitness because he appeared pot-bellied and overweight in the pictures taken of him at the sites he visited.

I would like to believe this is in response to the article we wrote tasking Aarons principal and our fellow Taraban Minister of Power, Engr. Saleh Mamman on the need to ensure delivery of the Mambilla and Kashimbilla power projects before he leaves office. We did say this is imperative if he is to make any meaningful headway in his rumoured ambition to contest the governorship elections in 2023.  But from the projection the power situation in the country is likely to be vastly improved when these projects now in advanced stages are commissioned sometime this year or next year.

Nigerians can be excused if they appear indifferent to these optics because the issue of power in the country has become a vast bazaar where humongous monies are ostensibly spent to provide and improve power in the country, but which invariably disappears through the Bermuda triangle of shenanigans.

But at least we are encouraged that in this instance we can see and assess what is going on.

But while we are on the subject I am sure that Tarabans will be interested to know what is going on with the Mambilla and Kashimbilla projects which are situated right here.  Infact Tarabans would like to see the Minister of Power at Baru, the site for the Mambilla Power Project. It will be a hope boosting sight. 

I did ask Aaron about this and his cryptic reply was ''very soon''.

So we are waiting to hear from the Honourable Minister Engr. Sale Mamman on that.                               

 


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