Vibrant opposition can boost our democracy – Governor Ishaku

Timothy Choji, Abuja


Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku says the presence of an opposition party in Nigeria is good for the development of the country.

The Governor made the remark in Abuja on Friday, in an interview with State House Correspondents, after meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.

Commenting on Thursday’s defection of Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade to the governing All Progressives Congress (APC,) Ishaku said it was a big surprise.

According to him, a good and vibrant opposition is necessary to keep the ruling party on its toes, in order not to go astray.

He 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 dump the Peoples’ Democratic Party, (PDP) 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. Therefore, for him to leave to APC, I do not know the details of that I have not seen him. However, 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 do not have an opposition, then the government in power 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. 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 opposition 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 am doing there in all ramifications. From education, agriculture, name it, we are doing a great job, infrastructure etc.”

He said the National Reconciliation and Strategy Committee headed by former President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, did a good job to make Ayade stay but he had other reasons.

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“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 but 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,” he said.

On if he sees more PDP Governors joining the APC, Governor Ishaku 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.

The Governor said efforts were ongoing to deal with insecurity in Taraba state, which he said has been substantially brought under control.

He further said: “Well, we are doing our best under the present 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 are working on it 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.”

Fuel Subsidy

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.”

The Governor said he was in the State House to brief the Chief of Staff to the President on some of his observations and thoughts, particularly on the Mambila hydropower project, for onward transmission to the President.


Zainab Sa’id

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