Written by: Henry Agbu
Developmental strides of Governor Agbu Kefas as he adds another year.
Taraba State Governor, Dr. Agbu Kefas, was born on November 12, 1970, in Wukari, Taraba State (in the then Gongola State) to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Kefas. His family is renowned for great strides and achievements in the military and public service.
Agbu Kefas, a younger brother of the late Air Commodore Ibrahim Kefas, who served as the military governor of Cross River State between December 1993 and September 1994. Ibrahim Kefas also served as the military governor of Delta state in 1996 during Gen Sani Abacha’s military rule.
The Kefas family from Wukari, the ancient city of Kwararafa Kingdom, has been recorded as one of the few families that ever produced two governors in the history of Nigeria, after the Adeleke family of Ede in Osun State.
Agbu Kefas is a product of some of the most reputable institutions of learning in Nigeria, namely, the Nigeria Defence Academy in Kaduna where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and Defence Studies in 1994; the University of Ibadan in Oyo State, where he bagged a Master’s degree in Legal Criminology and Security Psychology in 2005; and Delta State University Abraka, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Public Administration in 2008. Also, he has several prestigious ‘executive’ education certifications from global institutions like Harvard Kennedy School in the US.
Agbu Kefas is married to Patience and they have four children. He served in the military for 21 years before voluntary retirement and was appointed the chairman of the Governing Board of Directors of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) between 2013 and 2015.
In 2020, Kefas succeeded the Late Mr Victor Bala Kona as State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Taraba State.
He was also involved in an intensive contest at the governorship primary election among seven aspirants, including the former chairman of the PDP in the State, Victor Bala Kona; former chairman of the State Budget and Planning, Bubajoda Mafindi, former Senator representing the State in the National Assembly, Sen Joel Danlami Ikenya. Others in the governorship primary election race were the Accountant General of the State, Ayuba Aminu Kotolo; Professor Jerome Nyameh, a lecturer with Taraba State University, and former Speaker, Taraba State House of Assembly, Hon. Joseph Albasu Kunini.
Dr. Agbu Kefas defeated them all and became the flagbearer of the party in the 2023 governorship election.
In March 2023, he was declared winner of the Taraba State governorship election with 257,996 votes, defeating close rival parties – NNPP and the APC.
The young governor-elect, with a military background, was no doubt trusted with the mantle of leadership in the State after he interfaced with the locals across the sixteen Local Government Areas with promises of tackling the persistent insecurity and bringing back agriculture as a means of livelihood to the local farmers.
Kefas was also able to convince both the rural and urban citizens in the state of his ability to make education free and compulsory for every child in the State while promising quality healthcare for women and children as well as provisions of good healthcare services.
While hosting the Nigerian Youth Council, he promised 95 percent of fresh and young people in his administration. That promise is a reality as the Governor has made history by becoming the first to appoint more women in his cabinet and a majority of his commissioners are young people.
With his youthful age and timely opportunities in Nigerian politics, it is expected of the governor to tackle the challenges being faced by the people of the State headlong to shape his political future.
It is, however, a known fact that Kefas inherited huge amounts of debt from his predecessor, Governor Darius Ishaku, ranging from domestic to foreign debts and loans accumulating to over N200 billion.
Other areas of concern are non-payment of pensions, local government salary arrears, unemployment, unsettled communal crises, and disputed appointment of traditional rulers, which recently sparked a crisis in some Chiefdoms resulting in killings and destruction of properties. It is important to state that Governor Kefas is already handling it with the debt rescheduling strategy. Already, local government staff in the State have received their salaries with their new minimum wage, which looked impossible some years ago. History was made when he ordered for enrolment of those not captured in the local government pension. Checks show that within the little above five months in office, Kefas has enrolled over 300 people and the smiles on the faces of elderly people know no bounds.
The Governor is already writing his name in the good book of politics and appears ready to accomplish all the promises made during the campaigns by providing quality and affordable healthcare services, returning internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their ancestral homes, revamping the agricultural sector, and introducing free educatiState.7 all children in the State.