By Okechukwu E. Asia
Located in the easternmost juicy part of Nigeria and bordering Cameroun is Taraba State of Nigeria. This beautiful and tourism attraction state has everything nature has to offer. While in Taraba, take a short trip to places like Mambilla Tourist Center, Gumpti Park and game reserve in Gashaka; and the Nwunyu Fishing festival in Ibi, which is usually held in April of each year. This festival attracts such activities as canoe racing, swimming competition and cultural dances. There are many other cultural attractions in Donga, Takum and Bali, Takum and Ussa, and others. Taraba has many ethnic nationalities including Jenjo, Kuteb, Chamba, Mumuye, Mambila, Wurkum, Fulani, Ichen, Tiv, Kaka, Hausa and Ndoro. No wonder is nicknamed –Nature’s gift to the nation. Taraba State has a huge land mass, more than 21,000 square miles and the third largest state (land mass) in Nigeria. Taraba state derived its name from River Taraba, which shares banks with River Benue and River Donga.
One of the luckiest states in Nigeria is Taraba. A state carved out of the old Gongola State with rich in many natural resources, some of which if harnessed and mined will be as huge in revenue as crude oil. Taraba has great statesmen as Retired General T.Y. Danjuma and Multi-billionaire business mogul Chief David Sabo Kente. These two great Nigerians have changed the fortunes of Taraba State for better, forever. General Danjuma, arguably is the founder of modern day Taraba State and whose political and philanthropic influence is felt across the state.
The only person matching General Danjuma in this regard is none other than Chief David Kente, Chairman of DSK Group of Companies and DSK Foundation, who has brought quality education and political empowerment to the people of Taraba State especially the youth age grade. In a chanced meeting with Chief David Kente, I asked him about his vision and mission to the people of Taraba, he said “All I want to do is to empower every Tarabian irrespective of his/her religious and political affiliation and provide secure and predictive middle class life style to most families. It may be a tall order but God has blessed me with wealth and knowledge and I will work harder to help and serve the people of Taraba State in any capacity I found myself”.
The politics of Taraba State is not as rude and brutal as other parts of the country, but has different flavor. Tarabians are good voters who reward people of good character, who have labored to provide opportunities for youths, women and elders. I suspect that the people of Taraba are recruiting Chief David Kente for Governor with the strong support of Retired General T.Y Danjuma – an eagle on the Iroko of Taraba politics. Chief Kente is a strong supporter of People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He has spent millions of Naira helping PDP build strong voters base and financed many politicians in the state from ward councilors to governorship. He has provided needed financial cushion to PDP in the state such that the party in Taraba is immune from the troubles and disarray PDP is suffering in other states.
But today, Taraba State is at a cross road to either salvation or destruction. The state has been in the news lately with reports of citizen killings and massacres in Wukari – one of the major local government areas. The nature’s gift state may be on the verge of communal warfare under the nose of the Acting Governor who is responsible for the security of lives and properties of the people of Taraba. As the next election nears, politicians may go at any length to cause disunity and even encourage armed massacre in his/her potential opponent’s political base, to keep him/her busy resolving communal conflicts. This strategy is not new in Nigerian politics. But the danger is that it always comes back to bit hard on the people who planned it. The Acting Governor as the chief security officer of the state has the responsibility to stop this destruction going on in Wukari and the other parts of the state.
I would have called on General Danjuma and Chief David Sabo Kente to intervene and help to stop this dangerous scourge on Taraba State, but these men are not in government and do not have executive powers to command the police, the military and other state security agencies. It is not their responsibility to intervene. It’s the responsibility of the acting Governor, whom Tarabians twice voted en masse to lead them and trusted him to protect their lives and properties. If he allows this massacre of innocent people, women and children to continue, he should have no business going to Tarabians – the people he failed to protect – to ask for their vote in 2015.
Okechukwu E. Asia is on firstname.lastname@example.org