It is a fact, that, in today’s society, with news stories surrounding us from every direction, it is nearly impossible to avoid influence by the media. Television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet affect the way we think, and consequently our behaviour. I believe that one of the main differences between propaganda now and propaganda of the 1930’s is that today we are more aware of the fact that the media aims to influence us. This means that we can make educated decisions about political discussions instead of basing our opinions solely on what journalists tell us.

The first time propaganda was really made big in the US was during World War I. President Woodrow Wilson kept America out of the war during his first term, and his campaign slogan for re-election was “vote for Wilson, he kept us out of the war.” However, after he was re-elected he knew that America’s involvement in the war was inevitable. In order to get Americans excited about entering the war, journalists and marketing teams used the psychological tactics of propaganda. By creating an anti-German sentiment, Americans mobilized support for their troops and generated hatred towards their enemy.

According to Wikipedia, Propaganda is information that is used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda, which may not be objective and may be presenting facts selectively to encourage a particular synthesis or perception, or using loaded language to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information that is presented.

I took out time today to focus on reading some political articles, in order to see the many achievements that could be stated of the Nigerian Governors especially those that just assumed office for the first tenure. While I read through those platforms on social media, I most commend the efforts of many Press Secretaries and Journalist who have made efforts to focus on showcasing the few-on-the-line achievements of these governors. As I read through I could underline many of the infant “achievements” which are yet to manifest to full potential that could be said to be a reflection of true dividend of democracy to the general populace.

Some of the key lines that got my attention, that made me put pen on paper was, I kept seeing these new leaders through their aids and some fixed-paid journalist making efforts, though struggling, trying to put up shoulders with some governors that are celebrating four years in office, plus the 100 days everyone seems to be celebrating.

Having traversed the length and breadth of Taraba State, it was indeed laughable to have seen some people comparing the performances of the Governors that were sworn in 100 days ago to the outstanding leadership and impacts of Governor Darius who have not only initiated projects but delivered the dividend of democracy to his people in its fullness. 

To says the obvious is that, 100 days in office should not be the ideal yardstick to establish the success of a leader or government, although it can be a functional device for measuring effectiveness and the will power to what they can do, but still that shouldn’t be a yardstick. 

For some that made empty noises on social media platforms on why some second terms governors have not made such unnecessary noise in showcasing their achievements all over media house, and making references to Governor Darius amongst others, are just but some political mannequins that have hitherto been looking for cheap spots in an effort to find relevance, not knowing true relevance is not achieved in deceptive propagandas to misleading the public. They forgot in governance is not much of a noise, because it is believed every politician can talk. What the masses want is result, as it is said seeing is believing.

Gov Darius on site

Thus one can say without any fear of contradiction that the impacts made by Governor Darius, it is such that it speaks for itself and it is of little importance to be stated in a pointless effort to celebrating a second 100 years in office of a second term. The success recorded within the space of four years is such that, they have the capacity to speak for themselves to those that have the eyes to see, not those blinded by political revulsion.

Moreover, the needs of each state are different, hence the difference in outcome of their 100 days in office is different. If the Governor of a state is tackling educational reform issues today, for Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku, he is dealing with insecurity on the other, and can definitely switch tomorrow. 

It has been consistently true, that going by the waves of revolutionary policy initiatives and project implementation under the leadership of Governor Darius as the Governor of Taraba State, the focus on the minds of people should be on Darius’s brilliance, ingenuity and versatility in the way he conducts government dealings.

But, for the sake of those that are completely reckless and blind to the hallmark achievements of Governor Darius in Taraba State, I will, in good faith help their Thomas-kind of a spirit, that will want to see and hear over and over again to believe. I will by stating few achievements made under the Darius’ led administration.

REPOSITIONING AGRICULTURE

For a very long time, agriculture has been the backbone of the Nigerian economy. As a matter of fact, a lot of countries depend solely on agriculture for their economic growth and to having a better and healthier society.

Agriculture is the basic source of food supply of all the countries of the world—whether underdeveloped, developing or even developed. Raising supply of food by agricultural sector has, therefore, great importance for economic growth of our country

At his inauguration in 2015, he made an observation that have guided his vision towards the complete overhaul and Rescue of the agricultural sector in Taraba state.

Firstly, he noted:

… My fellow citizens of Taraba State, as I stand here on this podium looking at the horizon of Taraba State, I see a promise of possibilities; I see a promise of a greater tomorrow; and I see a promise of a united indivisible Taraba State. Based on these promises, I have a vision. I have a vision that in 10 years, Taraba State will be the leading economy in the North East Sub-region.

This administration will strive to create and maintain an enabling environment conducive for the optimal participation and sustainable engagement of key stakeholders and partners, by developing a sensitive and responsible political class, a vibrant and purpose-driven bureaucracy, a veritable resource base, and a robust broad-based economy. People-based, government-enhanced, and private sector-led approaches will be employed to guarantee this pursuit.

This administration will harness the potentials and endowments in AGRICULTURE, tourism, and commerce and industry, as well as pay attention to education, health, water and sanitation, and strategic infrastructure, using leverage from development partners and engaging public-private-partnership (PPP) options, to enhance this pursuit.

Agriculture has been the mainstay of the economy of the State since inception and considerable measures were taken to deepen and reposition it to play even more significant role. Taraba State has always considered by many as food producers of Nigeria, owing to the conducive and fertile land that supports tropical and subtropical crops. The Governor Darius led administration was able to sustain and modernize the agricultural sector with the timely provision of inputs such as fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, and improved seedlings like early maturing cocoa, oil palm, mangoes and citrus, cassava cuttings and seeds like sesame, groundnuts and soya-beans among others, to farmers at subsidized rates.

Taraba State is indeed one of the leading producers of rice in the country, and policies have been put in place by the Darius’ administration to continue the partnership with Federal Government and other international organizations to enhance more production.

His Administration has also taken pragmatic measures to boost agricultural mechanization with the purchase of tractors, which were sold on hire purchase to cooperative groups based on equity. And he has promised during in second swearing in ceremony that more will be acquired as soon as the loans are repaid as a revolving fund. His administration has also bought hand held tillers, which have been distributed to local farmers for 2019 cropping season.

In addition, the State Government has actively encouraged Dangote, Dominion Farms, among others, to come and establish large scale farms. This will provide employment and put money in the pockets of the people.  Also, as part of the modernization of the agricultural sector, his Administration established the novel Green House Project to produce premium quality vegetables like cucumber, tomato and pepper all year round for local consumption and for major cities in the country.

The project, which was commissioned by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has become a major source of direct and indirect employment for youths and particularly women in the state capital. The out-growers scheme promises to further build on the huge success already achieved. This project also has the potential of training students of Colleges of Agriculture and other agriculture related institutions in the country.

In words of Arc Darius:

“Our true treasure as a nation is hidden in our soil. We have lost focus trying to dig them out using pipes ONLY (oil). In a real sense we need more hoes than ever to dig them out (Agriculture). Agriculture is pivotal to Nigerian economy”. – Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku.

Gov Darius launching free farming equipment for farmers in Taraba 2019

HEALTH CARE DELIVERY

Another sector that the Governor Darius’ administration has recorded remarkable progress is in the health sector.  Enormous resources have been committed to revitalize, upgrade and made functional existing facilities, in addition to building new ones. It is in this respect, that he re-modelled, reconstructed and reequipped Wukari General Hospital, while work on Gembu and Bambur General Hospitals are at advanced levels of completion. The Takum General Hospital has also been upgraded to a
Specialist status. These have become Centres of Excellence for the provision of health services as they have specialists in various fields of medicine.

The Taraba State Government under the watch of Arc Darius has continued to meet its counterpart funding obligations and also sustained beneficial collaborations with Development Partners like the World Bank, WHO, UNICEF, the TY Danjuma Foundation and Foreign Governments such as Japan and Israel, to provide world class maternal and child care facilities, immunization and capacity building for health personnel.

The brand-new Maternity Referral Hospital in Takum, donated by General T.Y. Danjuma is doing well and has delivered over 549 babies. 

The State Primary Health Care Development Agency has been empowered to make health care facilities in rural areas more functional. The Governor has also rejuvenated the Taraba State Drug Revolving Scheme, so that the hospitals in Taraba do not remain mere consulting clinics.

In his wisdom, in order to mitigate the shortfall in the number of qualified
medical personnel, the Government recruited more doctors and nurses, in
addition to re-engaging some retired nurses on contract basis. Doctors in
Taraba State now enjoy the adjusted Consolidated Medical Salary Scale
(CONMESS). As a permanent solution to the shortage of qualified Nurses and Midwives, the Administration of Governor Darius has resuscitated the College of Nursing and Midwifery, which graduated 65 students last year – 2018.

REVITALIZING EDUCATION

Education is an essential part of intellectual freedom, and one of its main values is improving how students view, exist in and participate in the world. Education is a social event for most people, it encourages sharing of ideas and experiences among students, which helps students become better members of the community by teaching morals, ethics and community responsibility. Education has both intellectual and economic value.

Its pivotal to note, before the advent of Arc Darius Dickson Ishaku, Taraba was a state where tertiary institutions were glorified secondary schools, class rooms converted to hostels after the day’s lectures, a state where in the hospitals patients and doctors took cover from the rain during its season, civil servants afraid to retire because they had no hope for the future, just to mention but a few.

When Governor Darius took over the mantle of leadership in Taraba State, the state was very backward in all things! But, the fact is, since his resumption to office, the Rescue Captain, Arc Darius, has transformed Taraba State within his first few years into that level of social awareness that is too improbable, astonishing and extraordinary to be believed, specifically in the education sector.

When Governor Darius came board, there was “The reality of the decline and deterioration in the quality of education and the depletion of qualified
teachers”. These were his exact words four years ago depicting the state of our educational institutions, especially in secondary schools where the students scored below 30 percent in 2014, in external examinations (SSCE), a performance that spurred the Governor and his team into action immediately, in order to reverse the situation. The measures the team took included:

1.The recruitment of the 3000 Rescue Teachers.

2.The provision of over 10,000 pieces of furniture for pupils and teachers, as
well as the rehabilitation of hundreds of classrooms. A combination of the team’s numerous interventions in manpower requirement, training and retraining of old teachers, employment of new ones, provision of teaching aids and conducive environment for teaching and learning have led to remarkable improvement in the performance of Taraba State students in WAEC examinations, in which they scored 67 percent in 2017 and did better by scoring 75.3 percent in 2018, to emerge first in the north and eight in the whole country.

The Administration of Arc Darius have continued to support the Taraba State University, Jalingo; College of Education, Zing; College of Agriculture,
Jalingo; and, the Taraba State Polytechnic in Suntai, which led to increased
enrolment and the creation of more faculties, departments, employment of
professors and lecturers, as well as the accreditation of most courses on
offer.

The Taraba State University, Jalingo, which used to have only 5 professors, now boasts of over 50 professors, and the institution is gradually transforming to become one of the top universities in the country.

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT

The expansion of good intra city and intercity road networks have been used as some of the indices of development in any given society. In a state like Taraba, where the bulk of the population of the people reside in rural areas, the provision of roads and bridges then become a top priority and, in the past four years, Governor Darius have been able to complete many roads, while others are still on-going. The following township roads have already been completed or nearing completion. They include Palace Way, Abuja Phase 2 road network, FMC quarters road, Jolly Nyame road, Magami road and the TSBS-NNPC-Deeper Life Camp access road still under construction.

Other on-going road projects include Pantisawa-Yorro, Wukari-Tsokundi, Takum-Wukari and Bali-Serti-Gembu road projects, while Takum-Katsina-Ala Benue boundary and the first phase of Jalingo-Kona-Lau roads have also been completed. Some of these are Federal Government roads, but are being undertaken by the Taraba State Government, using the states limited resources, due to their economic and social importance to the State. 

His administration has also given the provision of electricity attention in view of its strategic role in driving entrepreneurship and industrialization. The 400KW Tunga Dam, which Arc Darius initiated as the then Minister of power, became the first project he commissioned as the Executive Governor of Taraba State. Not only that, the Governor is working on the second aspect of the hydro-electric project to increase electricity generation. He has also constructed 33/11 KVA injection substation in Takum to evacuate power from the Kashimbilla dam. He is towards completing the Mutum-Biyu substation. Similarly, substations have been built in Wukari and Donga and several transformers were bought and installed in many towns. Also, an increased power supply from the national grid which has enabled the state government to connect towns like Monkin, Kakulu, Yakoko, Kunini and Lau, while the extension of national grid to Mutum-Biyu, Garba-Chede and Bali are on-going.

In the area of air transportation, the state in December 2015, witnessed the
commencement of commercial flights, through an arrangement with Overland Airways. It has grown from a tri-weekly flight to daily flights from Abuja to Jalingo, with the exception of Saturdays, thereby easing the cumbersome road trip for businessmen and other citizens.

This administration recognizes that in order to keep the citizenry abreast with its programmes and policies, it is imperative to upgrade facilities of the Taraba Television Corporation (TTV) and the Taraba State Broadcasting Service (TSBS), against the backdrop of the digitization deadline.

The TTV has been fully digitized with modern equipment, making it possible for it to commence satellite transmission.

WATER AND SANITATION

Before the inception Arc Darius’ Administration, Jalingo, the state capital had grappled with acute shortage of clean water for the residents of the
metropolis. On taking over, the Rescue Captain Arc Darius, declared a state of emergency in the water sector and within 30 days, he increased water supply to appreciable level. His Administration also commenced work on the 75 million liters per day, Greater Jalingo Water Project, which will cater for the anticipated population expansion for the next 20 years. This project is funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and construction work has already attained 60 percent completion.

The State Government also sent 50 newly employed youths and 17 staff of the Water Supply Agency to train on water production and distribution in Kenya. They have since returned and are putting in their best by modernizing water distribution and billing system. At the same time over 300 boreholes were sunk across the length and breadth of the state.

In order to enhance revenue generation by the Agency, government installed the first solar-powered Automated Teller Machine (ATM) for water in the country. Additional eight have been installed in high density areas to afford the poor access to clean water delivery.

YOUTH AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT

This administration has placed on the front burner; youths and women employment and empowerment, in view of their crucial role in the society. The army of unemployed youths continue to swell on a daily basis, and to tackle this menace, the State Government established the Rescue Watch Skill Acquisition Programme, which has successfully trained, in batches, over three thousand (3000) youths and women, from all the 168 wards of the State, in 16 different trades such as carpentry, welding, tailoring, hairdressing and computer operation among others.

Itis worthy of note that, these trained artisans are not only gainfully employed but have also in turn trained others. The multiplier effect of this cycle will go a long way in checking youth restiveness.

COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY

On assumption of office, the Darius led administration inherited 25 moribund state companies. This administration acknowledges their strategic positions, especially in terms of revenue generation and employment, and already has revived some of them. They include; Mambilla Highland Tea, Taraba Poly Products, Taraba Gas Limited, Viva Feeds, and Taraba Oil Mill. The highland tea is now being exported, while the demand for the premium quality tea continues to soar nationwide.

The Darius’ Administration have finally signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Dangote Group to establish a Sugar Company in Lau Local Government area; an initiative that started 13 years ago but could not be concluded. This is one project with a potential to absorb thousands of youths and at the same time boost revenue and economy of the state.

Award for Best Governor of the Year

THE CIVIL SERVICE

When Arc Darius Dickson Ishaku came to office in 2015, he realized that a
well-motivated civil service is the engine room of any successful
administration. It is against this understanding that in his first inaugural
speech, he said that “I saw the reality of an oversized public service. In this regard, we resolved that we shall overhaul the civil service to reposition it for functionality; we shall examine the staffing, the anomalies, and the capacity gaps…we shall proactively engage the labour unions”. And his administration has not reneged on these pledges in the past four years.

The administration has successfully plugged leakages in the salary system and exterminated the ‘ghost workers’ syndrome’ for good. The reduced civil service has enabled the State Government to pay regular salaries and entitlements without backlog, as well as ensure their welfare and trainings. The State Government is up-to-date with salary and pension payments and have also commenced the reduction of Gratuities.

The State Government has a cordial working relations with the organized labour and its affiliates. A number of Labour Unions and Organizations have recognized Arc Darius’ numerous efforts with several notable awards which include:

Vanguard personality of the year, Governor of the Year by Daily Assets Newspaper 2017, Leadership Governor of the Year 2018, Award of Excellence by the Abuja Chambers of Commerce and Industry for outstanding performance in Trade and Investment (at 2017 Abuja international Trade Fair), and the Most Youth Friendly Governor by the National Youth Council of Nigeria. Others awards include: Distinguished service Award by the Nigeria Medical Association, Water Man of the Year 2018, Electricity Man of the Year 2018 and joint Award by ALGON and NULGE to mention only a few.

SECURITY ISSUES

Since the inception of this administration, the Government had to deal with one security challenge or another, almost on a daily basis. But the Government have never wavered in its resolve to tackle these clashes which range from minor communal clashes, to the massive attacks by marauding bandits using sophisticated weapons, and kidnapping for ransom. The State Government as a matter of deliberate policy collaborated, cooperated, and supported the various security outfits operating in the state with vehicles and other logistics to make the work easier.

One of the ingenious strategies adopted to curb the ceaseless clashes between farmers and herdsmen is the enactment of the Taraba State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law: 2017.

One can then be confident that Governor Darius is towards bringing a complete overhaul in Taraba State because of the seriousness and total commitment with which he approached the governance of Taraba State.

It is also a fact, that, Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku has been on a mission from inception to change the socio-economic environment of Taraba State into one of the fastest, mostly developed states in the federation and he has achieved that to a large extend. The seriousness and total commitment with which he approached the governance of Taraba State has reached its high point. He has transformed Taraba State within his first tenure into that level of social awareness that is too improbable, astonishing and extraordinary to be believed.

Hundred (100) days in office does not really translate into an enduring success. Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku has been consistent in his Rescue Mission in Taraba, and it is a known fact that, the power of consistency is profound and underrated. Momentum is based on the idea that an object in motion stays in motion. Thus, Tarabans should be rest assured that in the next four years, Taraba State will be rescued completely under the leadership of Architect Darius Dickson Ishaku, the father of modern Taraba.

Written by A. A. Mshelia

From Abuja.