The marathon court case between the executive governor of Taraba state, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku and current Minister of women affairs, Sen. Aisha Alhassan has long been resolved and a victor and vanquished have emerged. The long struggle for the soul of Taraba has brought retrogression for a state that is in dire need of attention in comparison to its peers.
Taraba was created about 23 years ago, but compared to states that were created along with it, it has remained backward economically, socially and politically. The irony about the fact is that, it happens to be more endowed than its peers.
The reason for its backwardness is not far fetched; Ethnicity, religious sentiments, cut throat political contestations, greed, managerial ineptitude and social conflicts were indeed factors that put it where it is today.
Unfortunately, successive governments became enmeshed in all those distractive factors. Some were crippled by the negative factors while some were almost conjured by it.
The debacle that happened to the past government of Danbaba Danfulani Suntai on October 25, 2012, when the governor was involved in a fatal air mishap leading to a topsy turvy affair and things never became the same.
As a matter of fact, the state of affairs found its way into the new administration of Gov. Darius Dickson Ishaku, which greatly unsettled the determined two-term Federal Minister.
However, with the determination of the suit by the Supreme Court, the state has breathed a sigh of relief, which was demonstrated by the heroic welcome he received from Tarabans recently in Jalingo. The greatly exhilarated governor in his speech at the stadium on that day disclosed philosophically that his administration had just began.
It is a proven fact that no governor in the entire span of existence of Taraba state had a more carefully planned agenda as Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku.
The policy direction and philosophy of his administration has been meticulously drafted into a document known as “the Rescue Agenda”. This is his mantra and the reference point upon which his administration is to be rated, examined and judged.
The document has vision, mission, purpose, goal and objectives.
The ‘Rescue Agenda’s vision transform Taraba state into one of the top two leading vibrant economies in the north east sub region by 2025. The goal is “To unearth all economic natural resources and unlock every requisite human potential in Taraba state for an inclusive and accelerated socio-economic growth and development.
The objective according to the document is “to transform Taraba in all ramifications, viz economically, socially, culturally and politically, in order to accomplish the vision of being on the top two leading vibrant economies in the north-east sub-region by 2025.
The bane of leadership in Nigeria is the lack of focus and direction by political office holders. A policy objective or goal is supposed to be like a compass that gives direction and prepares one for the business of governance. It is also supposed to be a reference point of covenant and social contract entered between the government and the governed, therefore there is no justification for Tarabans to harbour fear or to be pessimistic about the governor’s ability to deliver in the next four years.
One item that stands out in his ‘Rescue Agenda’ is his economic plan of action. DDI plans to convene an economic summit on annual basis to showcase the abundant natural resources and various items of commerce to local and international investors and business.
In the agricultural sector, there is provision for commodity value chain development, using the ‘centralised or concentric Enterprise (IE) model or the Nucleus Estate initiation (NEI), model, which dwells on a private processor or sponsor organizing an out-grower scheme that will engage the community and boost new generation farmers (NGF) as well as enrol organised subsistence farmer clusters that will supply produce for value addition and marketing’.
The ‘Rescue team also hopes to operate a desired cluster such as that of Dangalore, india ‘by establishing industrial hubs around selected communities’….based on specialization and comparative advantage of each local government area.”
The ‘Rescue team’ also has a special plan for the Tourism as it plans to exploit the tourism potentials of mambilla plateau which indeed remains by my reckoning and many others too, the most under utilized tourism potential in Nigeria, and indeed the possible reason why Taraba is called the ‘Nature’s gift to the nation’.
The solid minerals subsector is also to be tapped considering the large deposits of diverse solid minerals in the state.
Taraba state is among the most disadvantaged state in terms of infrastructure. Therefore, according to the ‘Rescue agenda’, the governor hopes to use his experience as a former minister of power to complete power projects in Taraba. It is important to point here that DDI brought the moribund Rural Electricity Agency (REA) back to life when he was a minister.
More crucial to his ‘Rescue Agenda’ is the quest to boost the internally generated Revenue (IGR) in the state. This issue is not by accident since oil which is the mainstay of the country’s economy is experiencing dwindling fortunes.
Fortunately enough, the Taraba state legislature is playing it’s on part as a crucial stakeholder to form a synergy with the executive and MDA’s aimed at boosting revenue for the state. Therefore, the rescue agenda would find a soft landing as far as revenue generation is concerned.
The ‘Rescue agenda’ is a full package that gives credence to the adage that “you don’t judge a book by its cover”. By implication, it is premature and preemptive to judge the administration of Darius Dickson Ishaku, without having to go through his ‘Rescue Agenda’. Infact the ‘Rescue Agenda’ carries more than this analysis showcases.
Ultimately, according to the ‘Implementation strategy’, the ‘Rescue Agenda shall be guided by the acronym DDI, ie. Develop, Deliver, inspire.
“We shall incrementally develop Taraba state; we shall deliver in our promises; and we shall inspire the people to successfully effect positive change through purposeful transformative leadership”. the documents reads.
Added to that is a ‘Masterplan’ which is to be developed by a team of experts‘ in collaboration with local stakeholders to conduct an indepth sectoral analysis and develop a master plan, which will serve as a road map for an inclusive and sustainable development of Taraba state’.
Analytically, the ‘Rescue Agenda’ of Darius Dickson Ishaku is a model that is largely inward-looking in line with prevailing realities of the economy and the country at large.
It is hoped that when fully implemented, it would unleash the potentials of a largely gifted state and make Taraba live up to its sellings as ‘nature’s gift to the nation’.