Breaking News: Stop the Cabal; Halt Taraba’s Descent to Anarchy
According to PREMIUM TIME, We have observed, with increased worry, the tragicomedy coming out of Taraba State in the last two days. An otherwise calm state is being turned into a theatre of dangerous political game capable of throwing the state into serious political crisis, the precursor to anarchy. A clique of self-conceited politicians and power-hungry relatives of Governor Danbaba Suntai appears to have gripped the state by the jugular, riding on illegitimate powers to call the shots – in the process undermining constituted authorities, and indeed the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mr. Suntai, who was flown to Germany, and later the United States after he suffered life-threatening injuries in October 2012, has been out of his domain for upwards of 10 months. In the absence of the governor, the Taraba State House of Assembly, in December last year, declared his then deputy, Garba Umar, acting governor, in line with the constitution.
However, Mr. Suntai’s continued absence from the state gave rise to agitation for the State Assembly to declare the acting governor the substantive chief executive, as also provided for by the constitution. Section 189 of the 1999 constitution empowers the State Assembly to impeach a governor when he is medically incapacitated to discharge his duties.
As the calls grew, the governor’s loyalists spent the past months assuring the state’s distraught citizens that their governor was fully alert and functional, and was only days away from full recovery, to resume work.
All of that flopped on Sunday with the manner Mr. Suntai was literally evacuated from the airplane in both Abuja and Jalingo in a clear testimony the man was physically and mentally unfit for the rigorous schedules of a state executive.
In the past two days, the state has witnessed a series of fast-paced events, including a purported letter from the governor notifying state lawmakers he could not physically greet at the airport, of his return and preparedness to start work. On Wednesday, Mr. Suntai again, allegedly dismissed his cabinet, in disregard for widespread condemnation from Nigerians asking his family and close allies to allow him fully recover, free of the normal processes of state functions.