By; DEKERA NICHOLAS, Kaduna
Gov Darius Ishaku of Taraba State has been under fire in recent times as some disgruntled people of the state have continued their call on the state House of Assembly to urgently commence impeachment process on him, while others described such calls as baseless.
Those that bore their minds on the issue have levelled several disturbing allegations which have become burning topics of discussion on the lips of people of the state.
Ishaku, who won his reelection at 2019 governorship election and also got victory at the governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja had always maintained that he had come to rescue the state from poverty and underdevelopment.
One of such calls came from Alhaji Hassan Ardo, Nigerian Envoy to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, who cited practical incidents of gross violation of the constitution, abuse of power, fraudulent misappropriation of funds and incompetence.
The envoy who disclosed this on Wednesday while interacting with journalists in Jalingo, said that it would amount to great misrepresentation if the House continued to look the other way when the obvious impeachable offences on the part of the governor continued to happen in the state.
Ardo said that the decision of the governor to continue to use Caretaker Chairmen for the administration of local governments in the state in fragrant non compliance with the NFIU directive and other glaring abuses of office were enough reasons for the assembly members to act.
“Gentlemen of the Press, it has become expedient that I address you on some of the issues affecting our dear state because wherever we find ourselves today, we are products of this state and the good of the state should be our overriding concern.
“You are aware that, the tenure of the current local government chairmen expired about two years ago, yet rather than conduct local government elections, Ishaku has continued to retain them against our constitution and recently, even without the permission of the state House of Assembly.
“You are also aware that the state government has since inception, allocated billions under the guise of awarding contracts. Unfortunately, we can not see any of these contracts going anywhere. Look at the Jalingo/Pantisawa road, Sukundi/ Wukari road, Yerima/Gassol road.
“These are projects that the contracts have been awarded and funds released and yet there’s nothing to show for it.
“Look at the elephant green house project that gulped over N2 billion. What have we gotten from that investment years after?
“Today, the southern Taraba has been engulfed in ethnic crisis since April 1 and the governor has failed in bringing it under control.
“In fact, it is not out of place to argue that he is behind the crisis considering the scathing remarks he has been making concerning the issue.
“This man is not capable of governing a state as Taraba. He is grossly incompetent and takes delight in violating the constitution without remorse. I call on the state house of assembly to wake up to its responsibility and commence the process of impeaching him before he sinks the state completely.
“Today, several months after his reelection and swearing in, the state does not have commissioners in place and mind you that this is a returning governor.
“His inability to constitute a cabinet shows how highly incompetent he is. Besides, there is a limit to which the governor can spend without approval of the state executive council. How is he spending without the approval of the council? These are all illegalities and impeachable offences that should not be allowed to continue.” He said.
Ardo alleged that most local government workers and traditional rulers in the state have not been paid for several months while retirees are suffering excruciating pains while waiting for their pensions and gratuity, despite the huge bailout funds and Paris Club refunds and other refunds that the state government got.
Mr Bala Dan- Abu, the Senior Special Assistant to Gov Darius Ishaku, who rose in defence of the governor, rather took a swipe at the Envoy, saying he was speaking out of frustration.
According to Dan Abu, Ardo was only expressing the grief of members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) who have suffered great loses in the state.
He said Taraba government was getting one of the worse allocations from federation account and have had to contend with security challenges that had stalled the rate of development in the state.
“Let me first of all say you are aware that the APC have suffered great loss from the hands of this administration so it is only natural for them to try to destroy the person at the centre of their defeat.
“This administration has done a lot, and the people know it, Mind you that Taraba state receives one of the least allocations from the federation account, and we have one crisis or another to contend with, so most of the monies that would have been channelled into development is spent on security.
“Despite all of these the state government has done very well in areas of education, revamping of moribund companies, provision of employment and empowerment schemes among others”. He said.
The state publicity Secretary of the peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Inuwa Bakari also at a press conference in Jalingo dismissed Ardo’s allegations against Ishaku as wicked and malicious lies of the opposition.
Bakari, who enumerated Ishaku’s achievements including sinking of 300 boreholes, employment of 3,000 rescue teachers among others said Ardo’s call for his impeachment was a “joke taken too far”.
Bakari said the governor cannot be intimidated with what, he described as ‘spurious allegations’.
Ardo’s call for Ishaku’s impeachment came on the hills of a statement by Mr Emma Bello, a concerned Taraba citizen, who also levelled several allegations bordering on abuse of office, financial recklessness and incompetence.
Bello’s major allegation was that the governor cannot account for the sum of N18 billion which is part of the N22 billion refunds to the state for federal roads constructed by the past administrations in the state.
He listed other allegations including private running of contracts by members of the family and friends, inappropriate execution of baseless projects without due process and Over bloated project estimates.
Others were weak leadership in handling of security challenges of the state such as ethnic crisis, kidnappings and robberies bedevilling the state capital and its environs, inappropriate acquisition of state properties and investments among others.
The surprise here is that no government official has come up to deny Bello’s allegations despite the huge weight they carried.
The governor’s team should understand that silence they say, means admittance, so observers may be tempted to think that the disturbing allegations may be true about the running of the state.