The security agencies must take the threat to peace in Taraba seriously, writes Abbas Alhassan Buba

The 2019 gubernatorial election in Taraba State has come and gone. Thank God the worst did not happen as the doomsday sayers had wished for the state. They had wished that the elections should not hold but should rather be disrupted through crisis that would provide enough reason and an opportunity for the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to be announced as winner. That opportunity did not materialize, thanks to Governor Darius Ishaku for demonstrating uncommon commitment to peace and for ensuring that those out to foment trouble and cause confusion did not have that opportunity.

The election took place and we now have a winner. Sadly, however, the losers have been unable to manage their loss. The bitterness of the defeat has not only lingered in the APC, it has become very intoxicating and has given birth to some evil plots being hatched against Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku, the winner.

 A few days after the results of the election were announced, a certain young man known as Abdullahi Aliyu stormed the social media platform with the threat of a plot to assassinate Governor Ishaku.  The threat is currently a source of anxiety and worry everywhere in the state and beyond.

Aliyu went a step further in his social media posting by congratulating Governor Ishaku’s deputy, Engineer Haruna Manu, in advance, and urging him to prepare himself to become the next Governor of Taraba State soon after Governor Ishaku would have been eliminated. The arrest and interrogation of Aliyu have since provided enough reason why the threat to Ishaku’s life as expressed by the suspect should not be ignored. It is obvious that he was speaking for some political godfathers in the APC still nursing the wounds of defeat.

Some details of the plot already in the public domain are indeed very frightening. Aliyu said Ishaku would be killed by the bullet. But there are also indications from additional findings in security quarters that an organized plane crash, a bomb attack or poison could also be employed to achieve this evil motive. And the only reason for this evil plan against Ishaku is that he, and not the candidate of the APC, won the gubernatorial election.

The 2019 gubernatorial election is rated as one of the best in the entire political history of the state. Despite all the threats to peace by the APC leadership in the state before the election, the exercise was generally peaceful and was adjudged credible. Violent clashes were rare on election day, and so voting took place in virtually all the polling centres in the state.

Everything went on well until a winner was announced and his supporters came onto the streets of Jalingo, the state capital, to celebrate the victory. At this point, thugs already armed by the APC descended on them, killing about seven and wounding more than 40 persons in two days of mayhem. It took the intervention of the governor for order to be restored. The most unfortunate aspect of the crisis was the religious dimension it assumed. The attacks were selective, non-Muslims, particularly Christians were the real victims. They were the ones who got killed or got wounded. This trend is unhealthy for peaceful co-existence in our beloved state.

As an indigene of Taraba State, I’m deeply concerned that killing for political reasons is now being actively promoted by some politicians in the state. It is even more worrisome that the life of a sitting governor can be so brazenly threatened for no reason other than that he won the election and the other person lost.

The threat to Governor Ishaku’s life must not be taken lightly. It is surprising that the security agencies in the state and at the federal level have not made any public statement about it even after the man behind the social media threats was arrested. They should not wait until the worst has happened before acting. Nobody knows the time-table of the evil plotters. That is the reason security agencies must be swift and decisive in their handling of this threat to the life of Taraba’s number one citizen.

Let me also suggest with all the emphasis desirable that the Police High Command must show enough interest, courage and professionalism in unraveling this very disturbing security threat. The Inspector General of Police, Abubakar Adamu, should invite critical members of the APC for interrogation. It is dangerous to ignore the threat, particularly when a suspect believed to be a supporter of the party is already under arrest. The police must make efforts to determine the extent of the plot to assassinate Governor Ishaku, those behind the plot and take extra security steps to protect the governor and his family.

For the peace-loving people of Taraba State, the times call for vigilance. We have not done any wrong by expressing our preference for Ishaku by voting massively for him instead of any of the other candidates in the election. It is our constitutional right to do so. Even one of the contestants in that election, Hajiya Aisha Alhassan, has attested to the fact that the elections were free, fair and credible and has congratulated the winner. What then is the basis for animosity, hate and threat to assassinate the winner?

We have a joint responsibility to defend and protect our governor. We must become far more alert than ever and to report the plots of the enemies of our governor and our dear state to security agencies promptly.

  Buba wrote from Jalingo, Taraba State