Return of the Taraba State Governor, Mr. Dambaba Suntai to the state after over 10 months sojourn abroad for medical treatment has thrown the state into confusion without any clear cut information about who is actually in charge of governance in the state.
Dambaba upon arrival sent a letter to the Taraba State House of Assembly, intimating the house of his intention to resume duty. His letter was followed a day later with dissolution of cabinet. This development infuriated the lawmakers, prompting them to invite Suntai to appear before them to enable them ascertain his fitness to continue the onerous task of governance.
But while many were watching the development, the governor made a pre-recorded video broadcast to the state via the state television. His message was simple.
“I thank the people of Taraba State for standing by me and my family. I also thank the commissioners for holding the fort while I was away. Also I enjoin all of you to continue to live in peace,” he said.
The governor also inaugurated his new cabinet. But Speaker of the House, Mr. Haruna Tsokwa said shortly after the dissolution that Suntai lacked the power to do so adding that what the governor has done has worsened the problem instead of resolving it.
He said the House will continue to recognise the Acting Governor, Garba Umar, as the man in charge of the affairs of the state. Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Kefas Sule, the acting governor said the sacked executive council was worried that some individuals were bent on fomenting trouble in the state and called on the people to continue with their normal activities.
“We shall definitely resolve this crisis. It is only one government here – the Suntai administration,” he explained, adding that he would address the people of the state on the development.
Umar explained that since he was empowered in acting capacity, the lawmakers had the right to ask him to revert to his former position as deputy governor or still continue in acting capacity. “I am waiting to hear from them. As I speak to you, if the assembly tells me to revert to the position of deputy, I will comply,” he said.
Meanwhile Umar has asserted that he remains in charge and called on banks in the state where accounts of the state government is domiciled to verify signatures, either his or that of Suntai properly before honouring and financial request.
But as the logjam persist, Tsokwa said the lawmakers have decided to ask Suntai to return to the United States to continue his rehabilitation programme and only come back to run his office when he is fully fit.
Tsokwa stated that the decision of the members followed their visit to Mr. Suntai on Wednesday night, and affirmed that the lawmakers were convinced that Suntai was unfit to return to office.
Meanwhile, the Taraba State House of Assembly remains divide on the fate of Suntai, while some thought he was fit enough, others said he needed more time to recuperate.
But with the speaker sounding very tough, some analysts are saying that the impeachment of the governor might just be in a matter of days. Sensing this new twist, wife of the governor, Hajia Hauwa Dambaba has prevailed on the lawmakers not to impeach her husband, even as 17 lawmakers are said to have signed to impeach him.