Drama in Taraba as Court stops Medical panel on Suntai

Danbaba Suntai

A High Court sitting in Jalingo, Taraba state, has ordered the medical panel recently set up by the state House of Assembly to probe the health status of Governor Danbaba Suntai to suspend its activities.

Justice Silas Haruna issued the order on the grounds that a case relating to the governor’s ability to remain in office is already before the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Mr. Suntai’s ex-parte motion was filed before the court by Alex Izinyon.

Mr. Izinyon was represented in court by a lawyer from his firm, Elijah Nyaro.

The Taraba state House of Assembly had on September 20 constituted a five-man committee to investigate the true health status of Mr.  Suntai following a directive by the state executive council to do so.

The committee is to determine whether the governor is incapacitated or fit to govern.

The committee, headed by Prof. Bala Shehu, has the personal physician to Governor Suntai, Dr. Ahmad Kara, Prof. Peter Alabi, Dr. Shehu Sule and Dr. Yunusa Samaila as members.

The speaker of the Assembly, Josiah Sabo Kente, had said the composition of the committee was in compliance with a directive by the state executive council. and Section 189 of the Constitution.

The constitution of the committee signalled  a determined move by the Assembly to remove Mr. Suntai, who had been ill since 2012 when he survived a plane crash.

Section 189 (Subsection 1) of the Nigerian Constitution provides that “The Governor or Deputy Governor of a state shall cease to hold office if (a) by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of all members of the executive council of the state, it is declared that the Governor or Deputy Governor is incapable of discharging the functions of the office, and (ii) The declaration in paragraph (a) of the subsection is verified after such medical examination as may be necessary by a medical panel established under subsection 4 of this section in its report to the Speaker of the House of Assembly.

(2) “Where the medical panel certifies in its report that in its opinion the Governor or Deputy Governor is suffering from such infirmity of body or mind that has renders him permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office, a notice thereof signed by the Speaker of the House of Assembly shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Government of the State.

(3) “The Governor or Deputy Governor shall cease to hold office as from the date of publication of the notice of the medical report pursuant to subsection (2) of this section.”

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 last Saturday and made to address select journalists at a guest house belonging to a retired General Theophilus Danjuma in Asokoro, Abuja.

In what appears a repeat of the drama orchestrated last year by supporters of the governor, when they claimed he was ready to govern the state, his loyalists again told journalists that Mr. Suntai 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,” the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Darius Ishaku, said on his return. “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, a former Governor of the state, Jolly Nyame, said that Mr. Suntai’s mental alertness indicated that he was capable of taking over the affairs of the state.


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  • tsunami1earthquake

    The Nigerian courts are not helping matters either! What the Taraba State House of Assembly did was in order and in line with the nation’s Constitution. It is grieving and disappointing that institutions like the judiciary that should be above board is muddying the water and muddling everything. Where shall the citizens go? It’s just a pity.

    • Doffi Atoshi

      You try to understand elementary law that once a matter is before a court a of competent jurisdiction the matter becomes sub judice and cannot be acted upon until it is vacated by same court or a superior court.The Speaker and the Executive council acted in bad faith and should have been sanctioned.That was a sound opinion from Justice Silas!

  • 1MASK01

    I think the cabals are just acting like Oliver Twist to God. They should be very grateful and be prayerful to the Almighty that the Governor survived the crash and is in a near-stable mental balance. If any of them is reading this, please and please do not put His excellency in a position where the whole country would be embarrassed.

  • Mr. Abdin

    SORY FOR TARABANS.

  • umar ardo

    Somebody said this is a typical minority mentality.

  • mnur

    The northerners this will be a lesson for u especially the muslims, if u can sense these efforts are made to prevent the acting governor from becoming a governor.

  • Strong System

    Naija!
    Only few people see this Taraba issue from objective view.
    How could some try to impose Suntai as a governor while he can’t even differentiate his left from his right, let alone read memos and approve funds?
    If opposite was the case even the Muslims would’ve acted the same,except the few objective ones.
    We have a very long way to go!

  • Al-amin Musa Hassan

    It’s only in Nigeria that even constitution is screw-up. To hell with those cable trying to impose a brain damaged to govern the people of taraba.

  • MI

    Thank you Charles for your objective view on where we are and what needs to be done and done urgently. Re-echoing to the wicked few amongst us, on our resolve to protect the current leadership is not in doubt. For the first time since Aug 27, 1985, excluding 3 months of the interim govt, we have selfless President and Vice President in place presiding over our affairs consciously and objectively. We will for our common support them in this divine intervention.

  • David Efanga

    I feel the electrifying passion and patriotic fervor from the first word to the last word of this Article! Well done Charles. With magnificent choice of words, this clarion call is so all-encompassing, the Executive, Legislature, Judiciary, and the often not mentioned men of the Fourth Estate, the Citizenry, as well as the Diaspora need now to work in tandem to make Nigeria truly great! In truth, the horse has since left the barn and it’s time to clean the augean stable. That time is right now!