Fresh Taraba Crisis: Suntai returns, associates claim he’s ready to govern

Danbaba Suntai

Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State arrived Abuja on Saturday at 10 p.m. after months of medical treatment in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Suntai later addressed selected journalists at a guest house belonging to Theophilus Danjuma in Asokoro, Abuja.

“I just arrived in Nigeria after my treatment abroad at Whalton Hospital in London,” the News Agency of Nigeria quotes the governor as saying. “I thank God l’m getting better, l am happy to be back home and you all are here to receive me. Thank you all for your prayer sand support.’’

The governor was received by the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Darius Ishaku; a former Taraba governor, Jolly Nyame; and Emmanuel Bwacha, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, among others.

In what appears a repeat of the drama played late last year by supporters of the governor, when they claimed he was ready to govern the state, Mr. Ishaku told journalists that the governor was in good health and could now take over the responsibility of governing the state.

“Taraba State will heave a sigh of relief following the coming of the governor,” he said. “I am excited, he just addressed us and expressed his joy to be back home; l will like to add that his health is a miracle.”

Also, Mr. Nyame said that Mr. Suntai’s mental alertness indicated that he was capable of taking over the affairs of the state.

“It is obvious that the governor can recognise everyone here which shows that he is mentally alert and lucid,” Mr. Nyame said. “He just addressed the press, but the last time he didn’t, which shows that he can take over as the governor.”

Similar claims were made by Messrs Nyame, Bwacha and others between August and November last year when they claimed the then returnee governor was fit enough to govern. A letter, allegedly written and signed by the governor, was sent to the Assembly indicating he was ready to assume work.

After weeks of political crisis in the state based on the claims, 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.

Last Week, PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Taraba State Executive Council led by the Acting Governor passed a resolution asking the State House of Assembly to set up a panel to assess Mr. Suntai’s true health status.

The move, according to PREMIUM TIMES sources, is aimed at declaring the governor incapacitated and ultimately impeach him. The Council, it was learnt, met on Wednesday for five hours during which it took the decision to communicate the Speaker of the House asking him to name the medical panel.

In obeying such directive, Section 189 of the Constitution requires the Speaker to name a medical panel comprising five medical practitioners in Nigeria, one of whom shall be the personal physician of governor.

The remaining four, in the opinion of the Speaker, would have attained a high degree of eminence in the field of medicine relative to the nature of the examination to be conducted.

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.

After the controversy on the status of his health and ability to govern the state, he was later flown to London for further medical treatment.

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