Fanen Ihyongo in Jalingo reports that governor’s return has helped to revive the supporters’ hopes
Taraba State is back to life once again, following the return of Governor Darius Ishaku. The governor, who left the state for 87 days, bowed to pressures and returned on Thursday last week, the 88th day of his absence.
A mammoth crowd welcomed him at the Danbaba Suntai Airport, Jalingo. Residents, who could not go to the airport, came out in mass and lined up along major arteries of the state capital to catch glimpses of the homecoming governor. They wanted to see if he returned hale and hearty. They seemed to have missed him.
The governor spoke to newsmen at the airport, clarifying some of the unanswered questions that sprung up during his long absence from the state.
So, what kept Ishaku away for so long? Was he sick?
“I had an accident in the house. I fell off from a staircase and broke my legs. But I did not know, so I had to go for surgery. Then, I came back to recover from the injuries,” Ishaku said.
He disclosed he has not fully recovered but was healing tremendously.
Ishaku, without transferring power to his deputy, Haruna Manu, had been absent until his return in the State on the 88th day on Thursday.
His last official outing in Taraba was on December 19, 2019, when he presented the 2020 Appropriation Bill to the Taraba State House of Assembly. He reportedly left Jalingo, the state capital, on December 22, 2019.
He reportedly moved the machinery of government to Abuja FCT where he steered Taraba. His long absence affected social and economic activities in the state, created anxiety and divided the people along party lines.
The governor however refuted claims that governance in the state had suffered setback during the period of his absence. “Whether I am around or not, I have people on ground who do the job,” he boasted.
He told reporters he had been complying with medical advice, which prolonged his stay in Abuja.
He expressed gratitude to those who displayed “genuine love and affection, faith and support” towards him during his trying time. “I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of emotions, love and sincere goodwill displayed by Taraba people. These, plus the reception rolled out for me, will galvanise my efforts to continue to do more for the state,” he said.
He however, expressed disappointment for those he said had mocked his ill-condition. “It is very easy for people to talk all kinds of things when somebody is sick. But the Holy Book tells us to show sympathy when someone is ill,” he said.
The Nation learnt that it had not been easy with the governor during his period of recuperation. He revealed that his phones were usually switched off and taken away from him. “Because, with the phones, I was not even resting, of which my greatest cure was to rest and sleep.”
“And there were speculations: some said I am dead; some said I am crippled; some said I am vegetable.
“You are seeing me talking today, not that I have recovered fully, but my doctor said I can travel today. That is why I have returned,” he said.
Responding on allegations that his absence had paralysed governance in Taraba, Ishaku said: “It is not true that nothing was working during my absence. I was getting reports everyday about what was going on in the State, and everything was working correctly, in spite of my absence.
“I want all Nigerians to note that we are all humans -that I am a governor does not make me super-human.
“I made a mistake of running upstairs in my house around 8:00 p.m. Then they took the light. I fell and rolled down and that created crisis for me, which I never anticipated.
“Now, all of us are like that. An accident can happen to anybody at anytime, anywhere. So, when you glorify it and start singing music about it, it doesn’t help you.
“I want to assure the people of Taraba State that I am healing very well and nothing will stop moving in the state. The Rescue Agenda is ongoing,” Ishaku said.
He expressed gratitude to his deputy, Haruna Manu, for “holding the forte well” for him during his absence.
He thanked the State Assembly, under the leadership of Speaker Joseph Albasu Kunini, for passing “a vote of confidence” in him when the opposition asked the lawmakers to impeach him for allegedly paralysing governance in the state.
Since, the governor’s return three days ago, the semi-rural State appears to be back on the track of progress and development. On Friday, the governor sent an executive bill to the State House of Assembly intimating the lawmakers of the money the state government collected from the federal government for the settlement of surveyors who carried out assessments on the Mambilla Dam project.