From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Governor of Taraba State, Darius Ishaku, has described the defection of Cross Rivers State Governor, Ben Ayade to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), as both shocking and embarrassing.
The Governor was fielding questions from State House Correspondents after meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, to discuss issues surrounding Mambilla Hydropower among other issues, said the National Reconciliation and Strategy Committee headed by the former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, did a good job to make him stay but he had other reasons.
According to him, a good and vibrant opposition is necessary to keep the ruling party on its toe so as not to go astray.
Ishiaku said: “Well, I wouldn’t know precisely the governor’s thinking, because all of us are different, but we are greatly shocked and embarrassed that he will suddenly dumped the party for APC, because all of us see PDP as alternative to APC. And all the PDP governors are doing very, very well, in their respective states. And for him to leave to APC, I don’t know the details of that I have not seen him. But be that as it may, I believe that any democratic country must have an opposition, a viable opposition, and opposition in itself is good for democracy. If you don’t have an opposition, then the government in powers can go astray and so I believe in the vibrant democracy with an opposition, if we have an opposition it is good.
“But as to the reason why our colleague in PDP will depart, I don’t know the details, and I can’t hold brief for him. He can still talk for himself. So but I want to assure you that all the governors in PDP are doing very well, very well in their respective states. Possibly because we’re in an position and the pressure is on us and we are doing the best we can. I will invite you to my state in Taraba, to come and see the beautiful works I’m doing there in all ramifications. From education, agriculture, name it, we are doing a great job, infrastructure etc”
On if the Saraki-led reconciliation committee, that visited Ayade, did not do enough to convince him to stay, Ishaku said: “Let me tell you, they have done a good job. A very good one. But it depends on the decision of an individual and what he actually hopes to gain. You may get the best of intentions somebody may not agree with you. And so that is the point, I think is more of the governor’s decision as it affects him, and that nobody can hold brief on that.”
On if he sees more PDP governors joining the APC, the Taraba Governor said: “I don’t see that happening and like I said even his own was a shock to some of us. I don’t see that happening. And for Nigeria, we should hope for an opposition, a vibrant opposition that will help to put and maintain the system going. Democracy without an opposition is not a democracy.”
Asked to react to the reported deaths of Boko Haram leader, Ibrahim Shekau, Governor Ishaku, recalled that there had been many of such stories in the past.
“This news has always been like that. Let’s wait and see if it is true and if it true then, we are hoping that the solution is in sight,” he declared.
He said efforts were ongoing to deal with insecurity in Taraba state, which he said had been substantially brought under control.
He further said: “Well, we are doing our best under the circumstances to make sure that we reduce as much as possible the casualties. And in Taraba, well, we have tried to reduce it. But of recent we’re still having our own problems too. But we working on it and and we’re on top of it.
“Just last week, I had some problems between the herders and the farmers and we have quelled it substantially. But with a lot of losses, we’re hoping that we would have come to a full stop by now.”
Asked if governors have indeed subscribed to the removal of fuel subsidy, Ishiaku said: “All these issues are ongoing, I can’t preempt anything now even including the issue of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN). There are all ongoing, committees have been set up. The issues are still ongoing.”
Speaking on the purpose of his visit, he said: “I came to brief the Chief of Staff to pass some of my observations and thoughts to Mr. President, particularly on Mambilla hydro power.”