Taraba federal lawmakers back state colleagues, ask Suntai to stand down

Danbaba Suntai arriving Abuja

The lawmakers said the governor should not be sacked, but the state should run by his deputy.

Federal lawmakers from Taraba state have backed the state House of Assembly’s decision asking ailing governor, Danbaba Suntai, to allow his deputy, Garba Umar, act in his stead while he receives further treatment.

Four out of six members of the House of Representatives, and one senator from the state said in a statement Friday it was clear Mr. Suntai was not fit as of yet to hold office.

The lawmakers said Mr. Suntai would remain the “undisputed” governor of the state, which will also take responsibility for his medical bills and other personal responsibilities as they may arise.

“…his health and welfare should be of utmost importance to all genuine lovers of Governor Danbaba, political gladiators, individuals and groups. To that extent, all Tarabans and all well-wishers throughout Nigeria should continue to pray for his speedy recovery,” the lawmakers said.

The statement was by signed by Senator Abubakar Tutare, members of the house, Ishyakamuh Bawa, Jerry Manwe, Aminu Malle, and Ibrahim el-Sudi.

The lawmakers said it was clear Mr. Suntai was not “convincingly” fit for the office and should fully recover first.

“There is no doubt that the happiness and glory of every leader anywhere is to live in the Strictest Union, the closest correspondence and the most unreserved communication with the people he leads. The wishes of the people ought to have great weights, he should hold their opinion with high respect, their welfare unremitted attention,” they said.

The statement came amid a continuing crisis in the state over who is in charge between the ailing governor, and his deputy, who has acted on his behalf for months while he sought medical treatment abroad.

Critics have accused Mr. Suntai’s aides of acting behind the scene and claiming an apparently critically ill governor was calling the shots.

The acting governor, Mr. Umar, has rejected the purported sacking of the state cabinet on Wednesday, one of the decisions taken since the arrival of the governor.

On Friday, he ordered bankers to the state not to honour cheques that were not verified as having emanated either from the ailing governor of himself.

The federal lawmakers said the “melodrama” was “unfortunate, shameful and uncalled for”.

“Without prejudice to the legality or otherwise of the action of the Members of Taraba State House of Assembly, we hereby commend the bold, gallant, resolute and patriotic steps taken by the Taraba State House of Assembly under the leadership of the courageous Speaker Rt. Hon. Haruna Tsokwa,” they said.

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