He passed with brilliant colours,leaving the nay sayers wondering what has hit them in the head. Isn’t this the same man they had belittled a few months back? No matter how you look at it, Governor Darius Ishaku has provided leadership in the face of daunting pressures recently exerted by kidnappers in the last days of last year and Fulani herdsmen in the early days of 2018. His steady and coherent handling of matters has earned him laurels even from the opposition. His base too have been reassured, knowing they are indeed in good hands. Probably no other governor has faced the harsh conditions as the ones thrown at this governor. He has been harshly criticised, called an outsider, and an under achiever. Yet, he rise, walking the tight ropes like a trapeze artist and moving steady towards greatness.
The fires started burning wildly in 2017, when in the last days of the year, kidnappers struck and abducted Hon. Hosea Ibi- member representing Takum one – literally the governor’s backyard. If this was designed to embarrass or slow down the man fondly known as DDI, then it backfired sensationally. Although deeply touched by what happened as everyone else, DDI was unfazed as he appeared in Biassa, Kurmi local government area, for Thanksgiving the following day. Over there, he prayed for the release of the lawmaker. On return, it is to his credit that he has been assiduously working in the background for the quick release of the member.
Then came the fire and fury (Apologies Michael Wolfe) of the well known latest reality: Fulani herdsmen. Perhaps, nothing brings out the best in DDI as crisis. That’s when all his ingrained leadership instincts of diplomacy, deft, quick action come alive. Take for instance when Sarduana local government was on fire. Apart from calling on the Federal Government to act fast, DDI looked into the eyes of power and told it better truth. He became an instant hit nationally when he famously asked minister of interior, General Abdulrahman Dambazzau, why he didn’t respond to his earlier calls only for him to rush into the state when it appeared only one section was affected by the crisis. A subdued Dambazzau was forcibly floored by that poser. DDI them reminded the motley crew that came to Jalingo that be had sent out distress call more than eight times before any one responded from the central power.
And now, together with his Benue state counterpart, DDI is once again in the eyes of the storm. Always summoned to Abuja for “interrogations”, a calm but calculating governor, has continued to handle the situation with tact. Fulani herdsmen who had promised a retaliation, came with fury. Starting out at Lau, they spread their killing tentacles to other parts. This is not new as Takum, Ussa, Donga and Wukari in the southern part of the state had their experiences. In all, DDI is always reaching out to the powers that be, while doing the best his office allows him. Sizing up the entire development DDI recently said to me, “I have to walk a fine line. I have a people to protect from those seeking to hurt them.”
It is a quality I find intriguing about him. I’m sure many do too. This inherit proclivity to hold sacred human lives and to ensure that his first duty, that is security of lives and properties, does not suffer at all. He once declared, in the face of seeming partiality from the highest quarters, that all lives matter and that: “power means nothing if one is going to preside over the dead. We are providing hospitals, roads, markets, electricity, etc for the living. My main job is to ensure we have peace and that our communities are safe.” To this end, DDI has enhanced the swift response mechanism of government, provided more security equipment, intensified collaborative efforts, physically visited affected areas, building better synergy with the security agents and continuing his message of peace coexistence.
Leadership has no better definition than that.
Bello is the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to Governor Ishaku.