77th day: Anxiety as Taraba Gov Extends Stay Outside the State

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77th day: Anxiety as Taraba Gov Extends Stay Outside the State

77th day: Anxiety as Taraba  Gov Extends Stay Outside the State
March 08
06:17 2020

Governor Darius Ishaku has extended his stay outside Taraba State up to 77 days today. The governor’s media aide, Bala Dan Abu, said his absence from the state is because of a “domestic accident” the governor had, which has compelled him to seek medical attention in Abuja FCT. Abu, however, did not disclose details of the governor’s domestic accident. The health challenge also prevented Ishaku from attending the wedding of his niece – a daughter to one of his younger sisters in Jos yesterday, it was learnt.

Anxiety is building up in Taraba State because of the governor’s prolonged absence. The situation has split the state along party lines. The opposition, led by the State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ibrahim El-Sudi, said the absence of Ishaku from the state for 77 days without transferring power to his deputy, Haruna Manu, is an impeachable offence. El-Sudi said the prolonged absence of the governor has paralysed governance and other social and economic activities in the northeastern state, while the waves of insecurity, kidnapping and armed banditry are on the rise.

A curfew imposed by Ishaku on Jalingo and its environs on June 17 last year, in the wake of a violent invasion of communities in the state by suspected herdsmen and a subsequent clash with security operatives around Nukkai, has not been relaxed. The APC said Ishaku has failed in his statutory responsibilities as governor. It called on the State House of Assembly to remove him. But the Taraba State House of Assembly, instead, passed a vote of confidence in the governor, saying he has not committed any offence and is still providing good governance to the people of the state.

The Speaker, Joseph Albasu Kunini, said: “the House of Assembly will resist to be used by any unpatriotic person or group of persons who, for selfish reasons, are making unwarranted remarks and insinuation about the health status of the governor and his administration.” He described as “deliberate distractions,” calls for the legislature to impeach the governor. Ishaku’s last official outing in Taraba State was on December 19, 2019, when he presented the 2020 appropriation bill to the State House of Assembly. He reportedly left Jalingo – the state capital on December 22, 2019 and has since not returned.

It was gathered that the governor has moved the machinery of government to Abuja, where he steers Taraba. “The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), the Permanent Secretary in Government House and some other key government functionaries, have now relocated to Abuja. The governor signed the 2020 budget, among other things, in Abuja,” our grapevine source said. A statement by the governor’s media aide, Bala Dan Abu, reads: “They (APC) know and even acknowledge that the machinery of governance in Taraba State has not suffered any setback with Ishaku in Abuja but will not admit the truth in public.

“His meeting with World Bank officials, the inaugural meeting of the sensitisation committee on the all-important Mambilla Hydropower project which he hosted and the consultative meeting of governors of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) among many others activities were carried out by the governor while in Abuja. The overall outcome of these events will tell positively on the social and economic wellbeing of Taraba State. At home in Taraba State, all programmes and projects of the administration are going on smoothly. Nothing has suffered any form of setback just because Ishaku is out of town.”

A photograph of Ishaku undergoing medical check up has gone viral on the social space, with the posters seeking prayers for the governor. In the photo, Ishaku and his medical handlers are seen wearing masks. It is not clear, however, what he is being diagnosed of. Ishaku was highly expected home on January 8, when the Supreme Court upheld his re-election as legitimate. He did not show up. There were speculations he would return to Taraba last week, but he still did not come back. The anxiety continues.

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