Ailing Taraba Governor, Suntai, returns; associates claim his health has improved

Governor Danbaba Suntai discussing with an aide shortly after arriving Abuja from London for medical checkup on Monday... Picture: Ibanga Isine (PREMIUM TIMES)

The Taraba State Governor, Danbaba Suntai, on Monday night arrived the country from London, with his associates saying his health has significantly improved.

Mr. Suntai had gone for a one-week medical check-up just as the controversy over his health status continued to rage.

The governor flew into the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, via an unnamed chartered aircraft at 10.05 pm and was accompanied by his wife, Hauwa and members of his medical team and security detail.

He was received on arrival by top politicians from Taraba State and his aides including the former Governor of the state, Jolly Nyame, a diplomat, Emmanuel Njuiwa, and a serving Senator from the state, Emmanuel Bwacha.

Others were Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Damien Dodo, a former Taraba Commissioner for Information, Emmanuel Bello, Hassan Mijinyawa, Gebon Kataps and Rebo Usman, among others.

Mr. Suntai, who walked into the arrival hall of the airport assisted by one of his personal physicians, was immediately whisked out of the premises in a convoy of about 16 cars.

He was driven straight to the residence of Theophilus Danjuma, a retired army General from Taraba, in the Asokoro District of Abuja where he met with his close aides and associates.

Mr. Suntai, who appeared to be in high spirit, exchanged banters with Mr. Nyame and some of his aides for about 15 minutes before retiring to his private chamber.

PREMIUM TIMES could not, however, ascertain what Mr. Suntai discussed with his friends and aides because the conversation was basically in Hausa language. Our reporter who covered his arrival does not understand Hausa.

Some of the governor’s associates said Mr. Suntai responded to every conversation directed at him and laughed heartily when others laughed.

They said considering his state before his last medical trip abroad, his health has significantly improved.

Mr. Suntai’s problem started on October 25, 2012, when a plane he piloted crashed in Yola.

He was transferred from a hospital in Yola to the National Hospital, Abuja, on October 26, 2012, and later flown to Germany and U.S. for treatment.

He later returned to the country on August 23, 2013 after 10 months of medical treatment overseas following claims by his supporters that he was fit to govern.

But after weeks of political crisis in the state based on claims and counterclaims over his health status, it was revealed that the governor was not healthy enough to live in Nigeria without adequate treatment, or to govern a state.

He was subsequently flown abroad again for treatment, with his deputy and current acting governor, Garba Umar, continuing in acting capacity.

He was brought back to the country in mid-September and made to address select journalists at a guest house belonging to a retired General Theophilus Danjuma in Asokoro, Abuja.

Shortly afterwards, he was flown abroad again.

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