In this interview with journalists in Yola, the Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku spoke on the terrible level of insecurity in the country, stating that the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is responsible, reports CLEMENT EKONG
Former Minister for Women Affairs, Senator Aisha Alhassan was a very strong member of your party in Taraba State. How would you describe her demise?
Really, it was very shocking and sad news, but I give God the glory that she left a good legacy in the sand of Taraba State. Late Aisha was very generous, very tolerant, a very strong pillar in our party, a woman who worked so hard like a man and had respect for people irrespective of their background.
I remember her last word before traveling out that she would go and get healed and ‘when I comes back nobody will insult my brother again’ and we all laughed. I never knew that was her last word.
However we thank God for her life. Late Aisha has left a lot of things for us to learn from especially in the area of forgiveness, where she used to say ‘if you don’t forgive nor forget but keep remembering the past, you can’t move ahead.’
We became very close and our relationship was very cordial during the 2015 general elections when we all worked very close as brothers and sisters not minding that she is a woman.
She was a serious politician. In fact, her quality is hard to find in politicians of today. That’s all I have to say about our beloved sister.
The nation is in a very precarious insecurity situation under President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, what is your take on that?
I blame the prolonged, precarious and unabated insecurity situations bedeviling the country on President Muhammadu Buhariled ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who bluntly refused to adhere to the advice of Nigerians in all walks of life.
We never expected this country will drift into this situation now, looking back at the situation six years ago. Every Nigerian that has made his or her comment four, five and six years ago advising the present administration, but they are treated as enemies. That is why the security situation in the country is more devastating.
Indeed the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is still advising; we are still talking. We came up with an option that we are ready to collaborate with APC to find a lasting solution by giving them advice based on our experience in the past 16 years but they refused.
PDP opted for the advice because this country belongs to all of us and if the country is fallen then we are all fallen. Frankly speaking, PDP is ready to assist but instead of accepting our assistance, we rather read in the pages of newspapers that they have turned down our offer. Anyway, we are still willing to assist.
The ruling APC should not see themselves as selfimportant but drop pride and shame and corporate with people that will give reasonable advice that will turn things around. I believe we have Nigerians that can come on board and with the calibre of people and experience in the PDP; the devastating insecurity bedeviling the nation can be reduced.
On education, your state leaped from 25 to 85 per cent success in WASCE. What is the magic?
I saved a lot of money from ghost workers and employed the famous 3, 000 teachers with requisite qualifications starting from Diploma to Ph.D holders and deployed them to various schools.
Within the span of one to four years, they were changing the history of education which hitherto was the last in the North -East, I assure Tarabians that efforts are still being made to change the narrative of educational standards in the state.
My position is to ensure every Taraba State citizen gets the best in education, hence the need for modalities to commence the restriction of children of school age from street trading. I didn’t want to sack like 20,000 people, because in Taraba State, if you sack 20,000 people, you are talking about sacking 20 x10 x2 families.
That I can’t afford because you will drown so many families. So, instead of sacking the government went into periodical training and retraining, we got the best teachers from various universities for training and retraining.
The ones that are there, thank God, a lot of them improved. I stand to affirm that no teacher was sacked to avoid tripling the problem of the citizens.
Recently, you were given award as the best governor for providing water for the citizens. What is the secret?
Thank you. I will like to recall that during our political campaign tours to some areas in 2014 and 2015, we saw pigs sharing water pond with humans, and sometimes you see people fighting each other.
But today thank God the news is different as every town visited has boreholes and water is flowing daily. However, for effective and efficient network distribution of water to every nook and crannies of the state four departments were created to run independently.
These departments include those providing the boreholes, maintenance, distribution as well as expansion, with these departments, the State Water Board is in good control.
I equally hope that in God that before leaving office in 2023, there will be no town in Taraba State that will not benefit the five million litres water tower that is to be commissioned before the end of the year.