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Column: 2022: Taraba’s year of positive possibilities



Iliyasu Gadu



First of all I would like to thank the almighty God for making it possible for us to cross over to the year 2022. Some could not make it. Yet others who made it are in a condition that can only draw our prayers for their recovery and for God to continue to give them good health.

If I sound spiritual in this article it should not come as a surprise. God is always the common denominator in all our life's undertakings. Without him in our lives we labour in vain. This is captured in the scriptures of the faiths we belong to and applied in our lives. Besides we are both spiritual and physical beings and while we may sometimes be carried away by the trappings of our physical realm, the spiritual realm is the more important in our undertakings. To forsake our spiritual connections in favour of our earthly, physical undertakings is to lose our essence and the consequences is to incur the wrath of God who is the Supreme Being and director of all things. 

We have spent the past couple of weeks seeking God's presence in our lives and beseeching him to forgive us our trespasses. As sinners we have prayed to him to guide us and direct our path to do good works in the way that Jesus Christ did thousands of years ago for which we are today praising him for his martyrdom in order that for us to have salvation.

And having done that we now turned to God to renew us in the hope and intervene in our lives positively in the coming year which in his infinite mercy he has granted us.

I spent the yuletide in Taraba and I can attest to the fact that from my interactions with a cross section of Tarabans we certainly need divine intervention in the affairs of our dear state. There was all round lamentation about the abysmal state of things in our state. My first physical impression of our beloved capital Jalingo left me with a feeling of melancholy. The much talked about flyover was to say the least out of spec and out of sync with what a modern flyover should be. There was only one connecting pillar to the Kona side of Jalingo town. The two massive blocks of supporting concrete which flanked both sides of the only one connecting set of pillar belonged to a time that has since been consigned to history. I talked to a civil engineer who told me that in modern construction this sort of design has since been phased out. From the top too which is shaped like the back of camel the flyover is not user friendly. The engineer said to me that the Jalingo flyover compares poorly with that of neighbouring Adamawa or Borno which are examples of what a modern flyover should be.

And the scandal is not just about the design bad as it is. The cost of the construction of the flyover which is in the neighbourhood of 30 plus billions is a veritable study in mindless waste and misplacement of priorities. And every time Tarabans pass through the flyover which is under construction presently they are reminded about how this monument of waste is one of reasons why they cannot have their salaries and emoluments paid as at when due. They see in this white elephant why the state finances cannot add up and why Taraba is denied of much needed development spur that will utilize its human and material resources to be at par with other states in the region.

Although the lamentation about the poor state of things in Taraba is obvious among Tarabans, there was also a palpable sign among Tarabans that in 2022 things will be different. The sense of compressed anger and disappointment at how things have turned out in the state is unmistakeable. This sense is shared across the political, social, religious and ethnic divides of Taraba. A growing number of Tarabans across the board are thinking on the side of taking back our Taraba from the hands of the pretenders that have seized it for their own selfish ends. Many Tarabans are coming to the realization that the politics of religion and ethnicity has been the bane of the state and its failure to achieve the vast potential it possesses.

All this makes 2022 the year in which out of despair and disappointment Tarabans of all shades will begin to turn the path of using their latent power to right the wrongs in the state.

This means that for those who have come to regard Taraba as their personal property to do as they liked without caring for the people of the state, the time is gradually catching up. Those who take delight in playing God with the fortunes of the state will be put in their places by God whose power they wrongly ascribed to themselves. 2022 will be the year in which God will manifest his power and consign the pretenders to where they rightly belong. He will sow the seeds of discord in their camp and cast and bind their selfish machinations and free Tarabans from their evil stranglehold. He will answer the cry and anguish of Tarabans of all shades and reduce them to the mere mortals they are who were temporarily elevated to the present position they occupy to bring succour to the people of the state. For falling short of the covenant they had undertaken with him to deliver the goodies to the people of the statem he will expose their feet of clay and invite the long suffering people of Taraba to see them for the pretenders that they truly are.

2022 is the year of positive possibilities for Taraba. This will come in the form of Tarabans saying enough is enough. We have had enough of pretenders, impostors and misfits steering the affairs of this beautiful state. They will begin to fall like ninepins and all their calculations to consolidate their strangle hold on the power stakes in the state will come to nought. They will not add up. And this behoves on elites and leaders to form a coalition of the brave and willing to close ranks to genuinely rescue the state. The elites in the state who feel genuinely concerned about the situation in the state should lead with courage and shun personal aggrandisement to save the state. If we think outsiders will save our state for us we are grossly mistaken. We need to show commitment to by ourselves before anybody from outside the state can help us if at all. It is our call and if we fold our arms because we are comfortable where and what we are we may find out that that comfort is not sustainable. If we think we have escaped the abysmal circumstances of our state what about our relations, siblings and Tarabans generally? Are we not ashamed and tired of being the butt of jokes and derision from other Nigerians who refer to our state as a metaphor for the paradox poverty in the midst of riches? Or as a state perpetually at odds with itself?

We cannot be called appropriately as nature's gift to the nation and continue to exist in a state of nature; nasty, brutish and short. We cannot continue to wallow in abject want and lamentation when we have the most endowed state in the country in all parameters of judgement.

In the year 2022 this column will continue to speak truth to power in Taraba state. We will continue to interrogate the uses and abuses of power in the state and demand the Justice and equity that is due to Tarabans as of right. We will continue to resist attempts to divide and rule Tarabans through the use of religion and ethnicity. We will insist and pursue a paradigm shift in the way things are run in Taraba and exhort Tarabans to be vigilant and insist on their constitutional right to be governed by people who should serve them not those who will seek to lord it over them.

And fortuitously as the political season begins to warm up we will be right there championing the course of all Tarabans regardless of ethnicity, religion and political affiliation. We will use the tools, strategies and tactics of modern communication to achieve this within the ambit of the law. Tarabans will no longer be used as cannon fodder for toxic politics of divide and rule leaving them in despair and disenchantment.

To my fellow Tarabans I say welcome to 2022, the year of positive possibilities and with God's guidance we will turn a new chapter in our quest to shake off the yoke of misrule. The power lies in our hands and working hand in hand we will surely make it.      

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