By A. A. Mshelia
While I reflect on the gut-wrenching event that unfolded in Southern Taraba, two thoughts came to my mind, the first, even when God had his perfect will for the children of Israel, they stood on their choice of a king. Even though God had a better leader for them, he let them have their way and paid the ultimate price at the end. Secondly, the story that came to my mind was a story my primary teacher shared with us, thirty years ago.
There once was a woman who had a pet snake that she loved very much. The snake was about 7 feet long and one day it just stopped eating. After several weeks of trying everything she could to get the snake to eat, the woman took it to the vet.
The woman explained the situation to the vet and he asked her, Has your snake been sleeping with you at night or snuggling really close and stretching himself out?
The woman replied, Yes he’s been doing it every day and it makes me so sad that I cant help him feel better.
The vet says Ma’am your snake is not sick; he has been preparing to eat you. He’s been sizing you up every day so he knows how big he has to be, and not eating so he has enough room to digest you.
Moral of the story: You’ve got to recognize the snakes out there. Just because they seem close to you and sleep in your bed, it doesn’t mean their intentions are good.
The journey to rescue Taraba State, under the leadership of Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku started May 29, 2015. Emerging with a well-conceived vision, strategy, will-power and capacity to bring the needed transformation, for which he was called upon by the citizens in the state, Darius documented his mission, purpose and goals in the Green Book I & II.
Over the years that he has been serving, he has made some tremendous impact across the board. A search on my numerous articles on all national dailies over the years captured most of these achievements if not all. Every of Governor Darius achievements were foundational in the state, which showed they were never at any point the core of Taraba’s development before his terms in office.
Despite laying his all for the state, and especially for his region, a monstrosity which the region has never experienced has materialized. And that has altered many things about the social, mental and spiritual sanity of every indigene of that area.
By dint of hard work, Governor Darius paid the price for the state and his region. He went out of his way to boost the livelihood of his people, despite the arrows that were targeted at him daily. And I think, if these people ever believe in themselves, there is no better time to do the right thing than now. After a long fight on their behalf, came to his own, but his own didn’t receive him. They eat the bread and the water he provided, which he got from the mountain’s top, whose payment was his sweat and blood. Yet, after they had eaten and were full, they used the same energy which his meal provided for them and they gored him behind while he turned to gain for them further.
He gave his all for his own but his own handed his trust for the ordeal. He chose family and let go the pleasure of genuine love from others, yet after the door was shut, he looked home and at the sight of him, they locked their doors.
At some point, the Rescue Captain stood on a broken bone, and fought for their safety, yet when he gained victory and healing, they fractured a spot deeper and softer than a bone, the heart.
He gave them water, delivered them from the smell of drinking with pigs from the same streams, and they gave him sore water in return. He built health facilities, schools, primary healthcare centers in each ward, which drastically reduced their mortality; he gave them roads that enhanced their links and business with off-takers; he, against all odds, empowered the teaming youths and women.
So, while others are known for killing their wounded soldiers, we have seen the extreme version of that tragedy of those who facilitate the wounding of their soldiers so they can make his carnage easier.
Given the hazards of politics, and the carnage witnessed, the story of Darius political expedition and betrayals portrays the monster pulling Nigeria apart and the corrosion of discipline in the political arena. His taste of events in politics has proved and cautioned that, anyone desiring to venture into politics, MUST first of all: sit and count the cost, to be convinced whether he or she is ready to pay the price; to take the burden and travails of betrayals that comes with politics.
Betrayal hurts because the same people you love and care about chose to hurt you. When you have put such a large emotional investment into a people and only for them to hurt you in return. Betrayal is a gross violation of trust and can be one of the most devastating forms of pain inflicted upon a human being.
Nevertheless, having laid his all against all odds, the story of Governor Darius after his two terms in office, shall be of the one who fought a good fight for democracy and his people and won.
Though, there are months ahead for impact, I celebrate dearly an icon, a selfless leader, the father of modern Taraba State and a National hero. As often as ever, you have over the years endured to give out hope to the hopeless. Even when things get too difficult for you or others, you always see light at the end of the tunnel.
Governor Darius Ishaku remains a general and a fine gentle man whose chronicles will continue to speak hope to my heart and millions of young men and women out there.
If perhaps you get to read this tribute YE, I believe this is the moment to remember the words of one of your Professor. Professor Aminu Jibrin once told you, “…if I had never been in politics I would have died a fool and ignorant, though I am a Professor…”
Your Excellency, I believe that statement holds more meaning to us now than it did decades ago.
The land is greener ahead. When every other thing fails, the god factor will never fail.