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Untold Story About Agitation, Creation Of Taraba State




The idea of creation of an entity called 'Taraba State' was seen or noticed for the first time on the back page lead story of the Jos-based NIGERIA STANDARD Newspaper of Wednesday January 9, 1980 under the headline: WANTED: 'Give Us Taraba State'. It was later revealed the phrase was  coined by Mr Danjuma Adamu, the Chief Sub-Editor of the paper at that time.

 

This news story spurred the state creation agitators leading to the adoption of the phrase (Taraba State) as a mantra or household name. 

 

The purpose for the demand for the creation of Taraba State was that Gongola State was too large such that the area that constitute Taraba State today (Muri, Sardauna and Wukari Division) was grossly neglected in terms of Development and the people suffered injustice by the power that be in Gongola State.  

 

The movers or agitators came mostly from the former Wukari Division tried to win supports from their counterparts in Muri and Sardauna. The arrangement was made to meet in Jalingo by the agitators for the creation of Taraba State . On the D-day the agitators gathered at Yelwa Guest Inn a hotel very close to Afolahan Square in Jalingo. But the agitators that came from the former Wukari Division were chased away with the slogan "Bamu So" meaning we are not in support. And there was pandemonium at the venue. That was how the movement was aborted at that time. Those chased include; Bishop Ibrahim Sangari Usman, Mallam Jibrin Amfani, Agya Agbujoro, Chief David Danlami Dodo, Idrisu Yusuf Usman, Stephen Danjuma Bayonga, Tanko Jolly Yusuf, Maigari Ahmadu, Yunusa Yerima, Sabo Kuni, Bawa Tati and many others all from the former Wukari Division now Southern Taraba Senatorial District. Only Fedelis Kaigama and Alhaji Umaru  Baba as prominent people that joined from then Muri for the  movement of the creation of Taraba State. This sad episode did not however, dumpen the spirit of the agitators to continue the demand for the creation of Taraba State.

 

Yet, during the Second Republic the move to create more states in Nigeria continued and the creation of Taraba State featured prominently by the agitators from the former Wukari Division. The idea was still kept alive and pursued vigorously. 

 

However, the Military overthrew the Government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari and General Muhammadu Buhari took over as the Military Head of State. 

 

Then the issue of creation of more states in Nigeria died and was buried. 

 

Another counter coup brought General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida to power, one of his programmes was the creation of 6 more states in Nigeria. 

 

In this case, the agitation for the creation of Taraba State was renewed with vigour. This time it received the support of all and sundry, especially the Civil Servants with Obadiah Ando then SSG in Gongola State and Idiris Danjuma Waziri as arrowheads, Local Government Council Chairmen, led by Danbaba Danfulani Suntai, Traditional rulers  and opinion leaders from the former Wukari Division, Sardauna and Muri all participated for the realisation of the dream of birthing Taraba State in 1991.

 

It is proper to point out that during agitation for the creation of Taraba State in 1980 and 1991there were NO demands for creation of MURI, SARDAUNA and KWARARRAFA STATES as claimed by Sa'ad Abubakar Zongre. Rather the agitation for the creation of the aforementioned three States were made in1996 in Taraba State and all memos in their respect were submitted in Jalingo on 3rd April,1996.

 

This is to put the records in its correct perspective for posterity.

 

Tijani Sale Angyu, wrote from Wukari Taraba State.


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