The governor’s camp says Mr. Suntai is fit and able to govern and is therefore in charge of the state
An aide of ailing Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State has reacted angrily to the decision of the State House of Assembly to recognise the state’s deputy governor, Garba Umar, as acting governor.
The lawmakers had issued a statement, signed by 16 of the 24 House of Assembly members, advising Mr. Suntai to return to the U.S. for further treatment, and declaring him unfit to lead the state.
The Commissioner For Information in the Taraba cabinet dissolved by Mr. Suntai, Emmanuel Bello, told PREMIUM TIMES over the telephone that Mr. Suntai is fit to continue his duties, adding that the members who signed the statement acted according to “the figment of their imagination”.
Mr. Bello, who said he still speaks for Mr. Suntai, described the action of the lawmakers as “null and void” saying “they do not have the constitutional power to determine whether somebody is sick.”
He said it is only “medical experts that have the power to determine the state of health of a person”.
“What yardsticks and parameters did they use to say the governor is not fit?” he asked.
“These people visited the governor yesterday and he recognised all of them by their faces and names, it is totally unfair of them to turn around and say he is unfit to rule.”
Mr. Bello said Mr. Suntai could “read, write and sign documents;” asking, “What is the standard of who a governor should be?”
“These people are not fair to his Excellency, and they are wicked. Taraba people are not with them, and even the Majority Leader of the House has disassociated himself from them. What they are doing is unconstitutional and a violation of other Nigerian laws,” he said.
Speaking further, Mr. Bello said all Mr. Suntai needed to do after he came back was to transmit a letter informing the House of his return and resumption of duties.
He said the letter was not supposed to be subjected to debate as it was merely “for the information of the House alone.”
Proof of fitness
Mr. Bello also stated that as long as the members did not subject the governor to medical checks, they had no reason to state that he was unfit for office.
“Have they subjected the governor to medical check? Can they give us a medical report? As far as the people of Taraba are concerned, the governor is not sick; he addressed them yesterday and they are satisfied with his state of health,” he said.
Meanwhile, the media aide of Acting Governor Umar, Kefas Sule, said he would issue a statement later on Thursday on the position of his boss.
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