• Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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APC government not living according to tenets of Nigerian Constitution – Ishaku

Darius Dickson Ishaku

Darius Dickson Ishaku, governor of Taraba State, in this interview with journalists in Government House, Jalingo, shortly after he received Aisha Jumai Alhasan, a former minister of women affairs, on a courtesy visit, spoke on ranching as the best form of cattle rearing. NATHANIEL GBAORON brings the excerpts:

Your Excellency, your main Challenger in the March 2019 election was recently disqualified on ground of age falsification by the Supreme Court, meaning that the APC had no candidate in the March gubernatorial election; how do you react to that?

Well, I thank you for that question and I thank God for the winning at the Supreme Court. But let me correct one impression. I wasn’t the one that went to court with the APC contender. It was an internal court case which happens to end up against him that he was not qualified to be a candidate. Therefore, the votes for the APC were all wasted votes. I also thank God that the verdict of Supreme Court is coming at the end of it all, otherwise you will be hearing stories like if I was left to contest this election I would have removed Governor Ishaku. I am happy that he contested the election and I gave him a landslide victory not in hundreds, but in hundreds of thousands. To cap it all, if Supreme Court is removing him on another offence entirely, it entails that God is not only a Nigerian but he resides in Taraba State, because it is in Taraba State that whatever you do God will punish you appropriately. I was not the one that went to court; it was the case of their party and themselves. Thank God, I am the beneficiary, all I will say is, I give gratitude to God Almighty and thank God that we will make these four years coming better than the other years we had.

Now that the distractions are over, what should the people of Taraba expect from you in terms of development and when should they expect your cabinet?

Well, I will say Tarabans should expect much better things than we have done in the past. The fortunate thing is that we have built the foundation for most of the things, we just need to build on the foundations that are already established. Tarabans should expect the best from us; they should expect the best cabinet made up of people who are more professionally inclined, people who can be left on their own to deliver on state matters and I think we will be seeing a much better job than we handled before. There are so many areas I will lay emphasis on like Education, Agriculture; Tourism the civil service also needs restructuring and so many others. Like I have said, we have started, is just to consolidate.

Talking about peace, the state is passing through some crisis situation, especially the Jukun-Tiv crisis. What are you doing to address this crisis?

It is not just the Jukun-Tiv crisis. We have herdsmen/farmers crisis and tribal issues. There is another crisis which is not herder/farmer conflict but is being confused as such. One is sitting in his house and others will come in and kill, destroy and displace people. This is not herder crisis, it’s something else. I am praying to God to help me. Few days ago, we went for a meeting with the Tiv people in Katsina-Ala and we pleaded with them to join hands with us to find peace. We are trusting God that we will have peace. Back home too, I am pleading for peace, because there is little I can do as governor. I don’t have control over the police and the army. If you give them order they will not obey, but do what they want to do. For instance, you tell the police and army that people are attacking a community, instead of going after the attackers they will turn and be killing innocent people and arresting others in the town. Is that the work of soldiers? Police and the army are not taking orders from governors. They are taking orders from Abuja, but God will help us.

Your Excellency, today one of your major political rivals, Sen. Aisha Jumai Alhasan visited you, what does this visit portend for the peace and unity of Taraba State?

Thank you very much indeed. Jumai Alhasan was the gubernatorial candidate in the last election and also the APC candidate in the 2015 general election if you can recollect. We had election in 2015, I defeated her and she went up to the Supreme Court where I got the verdict and the mandate to be the governor of Taraba State. In 2019, she was the gubernatorial candidate of the United Democratic Party (UDP), we had the election and she came third. I am very glad for her coming today to congratulate me. I see it as a good omen for the state because I have been yearning and crying that give me peace and I will give you development and today marked the peak of it. Because with her coming, I think we will see peace in Taraba State because we are going to work together in most of the things and I think it will be for the benefit of the state as a whole. I am glad and I thank God for the happening of today and I will make sure we translate it to the progress of our people.

Your Excellency recently, your private residence in Abuja was invaded by the police; what is your reaction to that development?

I feel very bad that the democratic government of the APC is not living according to the tenets of the constitution. It is disgraceful, embarrassing and insulting. I am shocked that only PDP could talk about it, APC didn’t talk about it. Don’t they have governors? Could somebody walk into APC governor’s house and search it? They broke all the doors of my gate and doors; threw away my children whom I used two years to beg them to come back to Nigeria and one of them has gone back after the incident and I am still begging him to return. The whole act is nonsense.

Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari suspended the RUGA scheme, for some people the suspension is not enough what is your take on the whole RUGA issue?

The whole RUGA scheme should be cancelled, you can’t do RUGA in the whole country, we do not accept it, is not workable and it will not work in Taraba State. Already, I have in place the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment law. It is a law in Taraba state that you are not allowed to graze openly and we are making a lot of progress on ranching. I have submitted a request for us to be given loan to establish ranches, but the Central Bank has refused to approve it for whatever reason, otherwise, I would have showcase what it means to be doing ranching in Taraba State. Ranching is the best form of practice in these modern days if indeed you are talking about cattle, grazing and grass. I don’t think they are taking about cattle, grass or grazing they are talking about something else which is colonisation.