By Emmanuel Bello
A former military intelligence officer, Taraba’s current strong man, Dr Agbu Kefas, knows how this works. Security and all its intricate nuances has been his oyster over the decades. Academic laurels apart, Dr Kefas has had sufficient time to put to practice what was honed in the classroom. Life prepared him certainly but it’s the experience in various theaters of battles that toughened him. He’s hard boiled. Little wonders therefore when he announced during an interview that his number one job as Taraba’s governor is to protect lives and properties. His opponents at the campaigns had answered the same question differently.
Fast forward to last Friday when Dr Kefas suddenly showed up at the Police Head office in Jalingo. He was also at the offices of all the security agencies. It was like a sting operation designed to assess the preparedness level of security outfits in the state. It was also his style lately: paying unscheduled visits to all sorts of agencies for on the spot assessments. Apart from the spontaneous nature of the visits, it is also an effective way of checking on issues without protocols. Or any cosmetics.
And this particular round of visits was timely. Taraba was already getting back an old fame of being a center of inner city crimes of all kinds. A week of back to back kidnappings had left the people dismayed and almost worried about government capacities. You can’t blame them. Alot is expected of a helmsman that is renowned for superhuman feats around security matters in the Niger Delta in the heydays of militancy.
So cutting short a vacation, Dr Kefas stormed Jalingo and immediately embarked on rallying the ground troops for the ultimate offensive. The visit to various security outfits helped in refreshing the mandate of the governor. He told them without mincing words that the safety of citizens was his main focus. He assured them of funding; he guaranteed them of a level playing field; he encouraged them to be free with him a colleague; above all, he outlined his plans to them.
Without exposing much, the Dr Kefas blue print for security is anchored on an over all desire to see the state fully secured. Much challenges have been inherited. Collusion is on the increase and sabotage is rising. The age long problem of ethnic divisions and Federal Government propelled poverty is compounding the challenge. It is against this backdrop that Kefas is swimming against a huge tide.
Thankfully, he is not fighting alone. Communities are now part of the war against criminality. The periodic Security Meetings are back where the governor studies the challenges first hand from a vantage point of view. Traditional institutions are willing to partner for growth. Youth groups are getting engaged to support efforts. Most importantly, the needed intelligence and funding are also available.
Summarily, Dr Kefas’s professional commitment to security and the political will to make a mark is changing the landscape. Palliatives aimed at reducing hardship has been enlisted in the battle to rid Taraba state of hunger induced criminality. In the governor’s words: “I have never been known to shy away from any challenge. Taraba state won’t be an exception. I’m here to work with all of us to secure this state.”
Bello is the Special Adviser Media and Digital Communications to Governor Agbu Kefas