Associates Seize Suntai’s Passport, Stop Medical Trip Abroad



Akin Akande

Fresh efforts to fly ailing  Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State overseas for further medical treatment  has suffered a setback, it was learnt at the weekend.

The planned medical trip it was gathered that was aborted due to refusal of two of the Governor’s aides who have refused to release his traveling documents including the international passport.

The ailing governor was injured in a plane crash in October 2012 and spent 10 months receiving treatment abroad, returning to Nigerian only on August 25, 2013, still unable to walk.

Since his return, the ailing governor has struggled to regain control of the state, dissolving the cabinet that had worked with his deputy in his absence, a move that was opposed by the state house of assembly

This is coming amidst reports of a plan to impeach both the ailing governor and the acting governor, Garba Umar in order to pave way for the Speaker of the State Assembly to preside over the conduct of the 2015 election.

Our correspondent gathered that the wife of the governor had consented to further medical treatment for her husband but the associates said to be a top lawyer and a retired army general were said to have seized the passport despite repeated request for it from the family.

The development is said to have created a rift between the family of the governor and his associates who are quoted as telling the governor’ s family that further treatment abroad for the governor would undermine the larger political agenda, which the governor’s group is pursuing.

The non- availability of the passport has also stalled the out-of-court settlement, which was entered into in a case against the state assembly by the ailing governor.

It was gathered that the same forces, which confiscated the passport, are also said to have ordered that the family should not negotiate power transfer with the acting governor.

It was gathered that the said associates, angered by the warm relationship between the governor’s family and acting governor are now plotting to impeach both Suntai and the acting governor.

Sources within the state revealed that the plan is to enthrone the speaker as an interim governor allegedly to ensure success of their plan to install a governor from the Southern zone of the state in 2015.

Meanwhile, the Taraba Transition Assembly (TTA) has berated Senator Emmanuel Bwacha for declaring his gubernatorial ambition at a time when there are challenges on how to secure further treatment for his close friend, Governor Suntai.

In a statement issued at the weekend by its publicity secretary, Samuel Gindi, the group said: “The action of the senator confirmed its consistent affirmation that those who smuggled the governor into the country before he could complete his medical treatment did so for their own selfish political agenda.

“Senator Bwacha by declaring his ambition vindicates our repeated statements that Bwacha and others are using Suntai as a tool in their ambition to rule the state in 2015. The senator was not contented in mentioning his ambition but he also mentioned four others including a serving federal permanent secretary as interested in the governorship.

“If truly Bwacha loved Suntai, his preoccupation should be how to get the governor to receive further medical help. Rather he has succeeded in exposing himself and members of the cabal whose only goal is 2015 and not the treatment and full recuperation of Governor Suntai.

“Now that Bwacha has exposed himself, we call on the family of the governor to assert itself and secure necessary treatment for the governor. Those who love Suntai must step in now as the cabal has clearly unmasked and advertised its selfish agenda,” the statement said.