History has a way of repeating itself as there are strong indications that what played out at the height of the illness of the late President Umaru Musa Yar`Adua when he was brought back from Saudi Arabia under the cover of darkness and kept at the State House, Abuja even in his dying state may soon repeat itself in Taraba State.
This is because plans are said to be underway to fly ailing Governor Danbaba Suntai into the country in the cover of darkness in a bid by his loyalists to retain the governorship.
A source hinted that the governor would soon be flown into the country and only trusted aides would be allowed to see him. The source said that the plan to bring him home was being conceived following the decision of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to set up a committee headed by Senator Hope Uzodimma to look into the prolonged absence of Suntai and recommend ways of addressing the problem
It is feared the committee may come up with a report that the governor is not fit and the Acting Governor Garba Umar be made substantive governor.
According to the source, “The governor will be kept in a way that the public will be told the man is still recovering. You remember the dark room Yar`Adua was kept, that is what they are planning. I am making this disclosure because this game is not in the best interest of Danbaba Suntai himself“.
The past two weeks had witnessed an upsurge in pressure to force the state executive council and the state House of Assembly to apply Section 189 of the constitution to determine the medical status of the governor.
Following the setting up of the panel by PDP, loyalists of the governor had obtained a court order to stop the panel from sitting.
The situation is said to have attracted the attention of President Goodluck Jonathan, who is said to be considering convening a meeting of PDP leaders to find a solution to the leadership vacuum in the state.
The loyalists of the governor had reacted to the growing pressure through the planned smuggling of the governor into the country as a way of stopping the presidency and the state lawmakers from invoking Section 189 of the constitution, which prescribe that a medical panel be raised to examine whether the governor is incapacitated or not.
"They want to stop such possibility. They want to stop the presidency from intervening. But I am sad. And I cannot bear to see Danbaba in the position of late Yar`Adua. I appeal to all friends of Danbaba to reach his wife to stop this game", the source who described himself as a friend of the family said.
It was learnt that Sunati’s situation was so bad that he was said to be unable to recognise Umar when the latter recently visited him at the John Hopkins Hospital, US where he is being treated for the brain injury he sustained during an air crash in October last year.
Loyalists of the governor had released a picture of the governor and his wife receiving the acting governor who was on his way to lesser hajj.
The picture showed the governor shaking hands with the acting governor. But sources said Suntai could not even recognise the acting governor.
Meanwhile, there is intense pressure on Acting Governor Umar to stop living a lie and open up on the true situation of health of ailing Suntai.
A group in the state called Taraba Justice Forum at the weekend challenged the acting governor to produce an official medial report on the state of health of Suntai, asking "eight months after, where is Danbaba Suntai?" The group in a statement dared Umar to produce medical reports to support claims that the governor was in good health when reports from the hospital indicated that the governor is already brain-damaged.
A photograph of the governor shaking hands with Umar, who visited him in the hospital in the United States on his way to perform lesser hajj in Saudi Arabia, posted on facebook, has continued to rankle some in the state because it was said to be stage-managed.
“This is eight months after. We are asking where is Danbaba? Where are official medical reports to prove his state of health? What is the state assembly doing? What is the state executive council doing? We want answers,’’ the group said in a statement signed by its General-Secretary, Barrister Abulus John.
The statement also accused Umar of collaborating with Suntai’s wife, Hauwa Dababa, to deceive the public on the state of health of the ailing governor.
The group alleged that Umar was playing along with some other loyalists of the governor to hide the true state of health of Suntai from the public, urging him to open up and set the records straight.
The group, which had issued a statement earlier calling for activation of Section 189 of the constitution on the medical status, questioned why the acting governor was hiding under the guise of loyalty to the governor to deceive the public.
It said, "the public deserve to know especially as public fund is being spent on the governor.
"Why is Umar playing along with those trying to stop the state from moving forward? Why is he joining them in lying to the public? It is time for him to ask for the medical records and let the public know the truth so that we can progress."