A Special Report by Lindsay Barrett

Governor Darius Ishaku (seated wearing face cap) meets with community leaders at Kashimbilla Dam (see spillway on the right).

The Kashimbilla Hydro-Electric Dam project in Takum LGA of Taraba State is one of West Africa’s most ambitious energy sector infrastructural developments. Interestingly the incumbent Governor of the State Architect Darius Dickson Ishaku (popularly known as DDI throughout the state) took a particular interest in this project when he was Minister of State in the Ministry of Power more than six years ago.

Today the Kashimbillaproject is regarded as one of the most effective examples of natural resource utilization being implemented anywhere in Nigeria. Governor Ishaku’s pride in its success was made manifest when he chose it as the venue for a series of meetings with stakeholders and interest groups from local communities during the holiday season.

Governor Ishaku converses with a representative of the contractors managing the Kashimbilla project. The photo on the right shows the downstream run-off course of the dam.

Governor Ishaku met with community elders, politicians, and youth leaders for discussions in which he listened to the opinions of the people and exchanged views with them in an informal and direct manner. The meeting actually served to celebrate the strategy of grassroots engagement that the Governor has promoted ever since he took office. Many of the participants had not visited the Kashimbilla

Dam project before and were surprised to see the level of progress achieved by the developer. A delegation of forty resident doctors belonging to the state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) was also present in Kashimbilla. They were there to proffer their gratitude to the Governor for decisions taken by his government that they said had impacted positively on the medical profession in the state to an unprecedented degree.

Governor Ishaku accompanied by the Chairman of Takum LGA Prince Shiban Y. Tikari (centre) presents a trophy to the Captain of Donga LG football team, winner of the novelty match.

After a luncheon at the dam site Governor Ishaku and his entourage returned to his hometown of Takum, which isjust under an hour’s drive away, to witness a novelty football match between two teams from neighbouring Local Government Areas of Donga and Bali. The public acclamation given the governor and his team of supporters during these events was very enlightening, and indicated that his strategy of grassroots engagement has made him very popular with the ordinary people of Taraba State.




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