Officials of the Taraba State government and aides of ailing Governor Danbaba Suntai sang discordant tunes yesterday on the whereabouts of the governor. While some said that he was still in the Government House, Jalingo undergoing physical fitness, others disclosed that Suntai had been taken to an undisclosed destination for further medical attention. A competent government source who sought anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the matter, confirmed to LEADERSHIP Weekend yesterday that Suntai was no longer in the state.
It was gathered that four Hilux vehicles on Thursday night took the governor from the Government House to Jalingo Airport from where a private plane that was stationed at the airport since he arrived in the state picked him.
But former commissioner for information, culture and tourism, Mr Emmanuel Bello, told LEADERSHIP Weekend that "Governor Suntai is still at his residence in the Government House."
Bello said that the plane which took off from the airport on Thursday night brought Senator Emmanuel Bwacha to the state.
"Ogar is in his house in the Government House, he's doing very well," Bello said.
Another official who sought anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter told our correspondent that the ailing governor was no longer in the Government House.
On Thursday night, the acting governor (Umar) directed all sacked commissioners and others to resume work.
When asked of Bello's position, Garba told LEADERSHIP Weekend that Bello can only return to his former seat on the order of Suntai who appointed him.
He said that Bello was appointed by Governor Suntai and sacked by him, adding that he can only come back to his former office if Suntai reversed it.
Also, the senior special assistant to Governor Suntai on media and publicity, Mr Sylvanus Giwa, told our correspondent that his boss was still in the Government House doing some physical fitness exercises.
Giwa said that as far as Governor Suntai's government is concerned, his directive on the sacked commissioners and special advisers stands.
Yesterday, Umar held a closed-door meeting with the security chiefs in Jalingo to discuss the security trend in the state.
But Giwa denied that there was a security meeting in the Government House, adding that Suntai would call for one when the need arises.
Also yesterday, members of the Taraba State caucus of the National Assembly expressed support for the continued administration of the state by the Acting governor, Garba Umar. They also welcomed the position of the state House of Assembly that Governor Danbaba Suntai should concentrate on nurturing his health till he is fit enough to run the state.
The five lawmakers comprising a senator and four House of Representatives members said their position was reached in the interest of equity and peace in the state.
The lawmakers under the aegis of Concerned Taraba State Members of the National Assembly, the legislators said they were concerned about the political situation in the state and commended the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon Haruna Tsokwa, for "the bold, gallant, resolute and patriotic steps taken by the legislature."
Senator Abubakar Umar Tutare, who spoke on behalf of the group in Abuja, said: "Alhaji Garba Umar should continue serving as acting governor as constitutionally enshrined until Governor Danbaba is convincingly fit to steer the affairs of the state.
Also, the speakers of 36 State House of Assembly in Nigeria have urged their counterparts in the Taraba to be guided by constitutional provisions on the Suntai saga.
Through the chairman of Conference of Speakers of the State Legislatures of Nigeria, Hon Inuwa Garba, the speakers charged the people of the state to resist internal and external interferences which could create religious, ethnic and political crises in the state.
Meanwhile, the Taraba Justice Forum has said a medical examination to ascertain the physical, mental and spiritual fitness of the governor is imperative.
Garba, who is also the speaker of the Gombe State House of Assembly, told journalists in Abuja yesterday that, "We have watched very keenly the political developments in Taraba State, North-East, Nigeria in the last few days and resolved that the situation calls for urgent attention and concern of every well-meaning Nigerian.
Andrew Ojih, Adesuwa Tsan, Abdulsalam Badamasi, Chibuzo Ukaibe, Muazu Elazeh