Suntai should return to hospital — Civil groups

PUNCH
September 1, 2013 by Friday Olokor and ALLWELL OKPI
Taraba State Governor, Mr. Danbaba SuntaiTaraba State Governor, Mr. Danbaba Suntai

Some civil society groups have asked the Governor of Taraba State, Danbaba Suntai, to obey the state House of Assembly, and return to the hospital to fully recuperate from the plane crash he suffered about 10 months ago.

The groups, Campaign for Democracy and the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, told SUNDAY PUNCH that they are opposed to Suntai’s insistence on running the state in spite of the state of his health, saying it would amount to his aides governing the state by proxy.

The President of the Campaign for Democracy, Dr. Joe Odumakin, said the situation Taraba was similar to what played out in the country, shortly before former President Umaru Yar’Adua, died after being ill for months.

Odumakin said Governor Suntai should allow his deputy to continue governing the state to avoid anarchy.

She said, “We truly sympathise with Governor Suntai, and wish that he recuperates fast. However, governance requires a governor to be up and doing. What is happening in Taraba just shows type of people the governor has surrounded himself with. If they love that man, they would have allowed him to recuperate completely before he returns to governance.

“As the lawmakers said after visiting him, he is not fit to stir the ship of the state. The deputy governor should continue governing the state in the interest of justice, fair play and the welfare of the people of the state, instead of continuing this drama.”

Similarly, the Executive Director of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, demanded that the governor be made to take the advice of the state Assembly, and return to the hospital for the preservation of democracy.

He said, “It is obvious that Suntai has not recovered from the crash he had 10 months ago. The picture we saw in the television showed that he could not recognise the people that were with him and he was being tutored on what to do. Such a person is not fit to govern any state.

“His handlers should be kind enough to allow him to yield to the wise counsel by the state House of Assembly. He should be made to go back to the hospital. If he remains here, governance will be handled by proxy, which is not in accordance with the tenets of democracy. It is Suntai that was elected, not his aides, and he is critically ill.”

Similarly, a civil society organisation under the aegis of Save Democracy Group has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently intervene in the impasse in Taraba with a view to saving the state from imminent chaos.

The SDG also raised the alarm that except the President intervened, “there may be two governors in Taraba State both wielding state powers.”

The group said the existence of an acting governor in the state and the decision by Suntai to return to office by all means, could spell doom for democratic governance in the state.

The National President of the group, Mr. Solomon Adodo, raised the alarm in a protest letter (obtained by SUNDAY PUNCH) to the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Bamangar Tukur, for onward transfer to the President.

According to him, it has become necessary for Jonathan to act quickly “to save our democracy so as to forestall other mass rallies being coordinated across the various states of the federation to rescue our democracy from the wicked cabal.”

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