Cabinet Shake Up Looms In Taraba

  • Panic As Gov Ishaku Mulls Readjusting Political Equation

Tarabans have been waiting with bated breath the expected cabinet changes by Governor Darius Ishaku in Taraba State to reflect certain political realignments following the confirmation of his mandate by the Supreme Court.. This is against the background that, the current cabinet, according to watchers, is not one that can provide the platform for the governor to achieve his dreams.
Our investigations reveal that, many of the office holders are evidently out of sync with the governor and his mission, just as many of them were brought in as a sort of stop gap measure when the governor was in court battling to recover his mandate.
According to a political analyst and a keen watcher of Taraba politics, Mr , Ande Tanimu, the governor, from all indications does not have a structure he can rely upon, as what is on ground is a conjecture by some stakeholders who cobbled together a watery cabinet for him. The last thing on the governor’s mind at the time was appointments, according to the analyst. “The governor was under intense pressure to start his government. But faced with the court case, he wasn’t really keen on this as he was fighting to survive at the tribunal . He therefore accepted names randomly thrown at him. I bet he didn’t really have time to give the whole process a thorough going over.” That indiscretion on the part of the governor was to cost him a lot. Starting with his SSG, the governor got knocks from those who questioned his choice of Anthony Jellason, a man in his late 70s, largely seen as an antithesis to the doctrine of change, or any serious progress. Hailing from Zing, his tribesmen, the Mumuye (that constitute the largest group in the state,) had even rejected his choice as SSG.
That was the beginning of trouble for Darius. Old age apart, Jellason had served in every government conceivable since the state was part of the regional government of the North East. In the old Gongola, he was also a commissioner. He is currently enmeshed in an alleged financial scandal ensuing from the Flood fund under probe. For many, Darius’ choice of SSG is anachronistic, and even retarded. Besides, Jellason currently betrays all the signs of ageing and atrophy according to observers. His core duties are being carried out by the governor’s Chief of Staff, Usman Rebo. The feeling in Jalingo is that Jellason might be the first to be axed in the envisaged reorganisation.
Another cabinet member on his way out might be the commissioner of information, Anthony Danburam. Apart from his age, many observers believes he lacks the competence in the field he over sees. A lawyer, Danburam is not seen as a game changer in the propaganda sector. Besides, he was clearly absent when the governor battled his mandate at the courts. The media onslaughts during that period was eventually assigned to consultants outside the state. Watchers think he may be reassigned a different ministry as a proper person is given his portfolio. Aminu Jika is said to be the favourite for the position but Jika had rejected the commissionership. Many believe Jika may be sacked for initially rejecting the offer.
The commissioner of finance is a young, dashing medical doctor. Many believe he is unfit for the position, especially after labour recently went on strike over salary issues. Some observers note that he may have to go to make way for someone with some financial savvy. A suggestion that he should be assigned the youth ministry is trending. The current commissioner of water resources, Emmanuel Dame is favoured for the finance ministry position because of his sterling performance when he held the position in the past.
The commissioner of women affairs too is largely seen as incompetent. A woman with limited western education, no one is sure how she became commissioner. She is seen as an example of Darius’s rushed decision. Says Ande, “in a proper cabinet, that woman doesn’t belong there. You can’t make a woman like that a commissioner in a state where you have the likes of Tina Musa, Veronica Alhassan and Mrs. Green Jonathan.”
Governor Darius recently hinted that the over one hundred special assistants he appointed last year are a drain on his finances. Although, some collect as little as 50 thousand naira as salary, the sheer number makes their wage bill huge. He would soon send them packing. And he may be applauded for this when he finally pulls it off.
First, the appointments, in the view of many, were scandalous in the face of what is now the norm: cutting down the size of government. Besides, the appointees are clearly not adding any known value to governance. It is doubtful if they even have any political currency. What is more, many of them are even in the opposition, according to insiders, working against the governor’s interest.
It is against this background that Governor Darius Ishaku, going by his body language may be contemplating making changes to place his government on a sound footing, so as to get his administration on track, and face the challenge as of governance, which may make or mar his chances of returning in 2019 as governor. He also plans to address certain concerns arising from some political permutations across Taraba state in order to ensure the stability of his government, and give those who are actually out to help Taraba state a chance


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