The acting Governor of Taraba State, Alhaji Garba Umar, has disclosed that he cannot tell when Governor Danbaba Suntai, will return to the state.
Umar told journalists in Jalingo Sunday, that only the medical experts at John Hopkins Hospital in America could tell when Suntai would return to the state.
The acting governor was in the hospital to see Suntai as well as in Saudi Arabia to perform the lesser hajj.
He told journalists that Suntain and himself shook hands and exchanged pleasantries but stressed that there was no long discussion between them.
Umar said he would continue to pursue the programmes and projects embarked upon by Suntai to ensure continuity in the governance of the state.
The statement came on the heel of speculations that the ailing governor had recovered and would soon return to the state.
Umar, who was accorded a rousing reception, used the opportunity to thank the people of the state for their solidarity and support.
Meanwhile, a group, All Well Meaning Tarabans, led by former Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Salome Jankada, has vowed to take to the streets in protest should members of the state executive council continue to keep mum over the state of health of Suntai.
While berating the continued silence by the state government over the absence of Suntai from the state, Jankada while fielding questions from journalists at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre in Jalingo, Jankada said members of her group regretted to say that members of the state executive council on whom lies the honour to come out and tell the people of the state whether the governor is fit or not to continue in office have decided to keep mute over the issue.
“We regret to say that the members of the state executive council on whom lies the honour to come out and tell us whether this man (Suntai) is fit or not fit to continue to run the affairs of the state have decided to keep mute” adding that: “There are no honest people to come out and tell the people the real health condition of the governor.”
Jankada, who is also a member of the Board of the National Investment Council, however, expressed the readiness of her group to explore all legitimate means that would accelerate the immediate confirmation of Umar as the substantive governor of the state saying: “Tarabans are not ignorant of the constitution of this country”.
According to her, “the constitution stated that the state executive council should be able to come out and tell us what is the position of the governor of Taraba State,”
adding that it was our rights as Tarabans to know what is happening to the governor wherever he is because it is our money, the tax payers money that is being used to maintain him.”
Taking a swipe at the state’s cabinet members, Jankada stated: “They swore to an oath to upheld anything that is meant for the forward movement of this state and the country at large, why would those that are supposed to come out and tell us the truth are now the ones telling us lies and misguiding the people?.”
“Let me speak on behalf of Tarabans, Danbaba Suntai, we wish you well and we wish you quick recovery. But if wishes were horses, beggars will ride them. Therefore, I repeat, Tarabans have every right to know the proper position of Suntai,” stressing that as literate people, Tarabians deserve to know the condition of their governor after being absent for eight months.
Jankada further noted that to avoid the ruling the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from disintegrating in the state, the national headquarters of the party as well as the presidency must as a matter of urgency commence the process of swearing in Umar as the governor, stressing that the coming back of Suntai is a different story but his capacity to govern the state is a different issue asking rhetorically “if Danbaba comes back today, the question is, will he be able to govern this state? If not, he is incapacitated. It is there in our constitution.”
Citing the case of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and late Kaduna State Governor, Mr. Patrick Yakowa, Jankada said it was not a new thing for a deputy to take over from his boss, just as he urged various groups in the state, irrespective of religion and tribal differences, to agitate for the immediate confirmation of Umar as the substantive governor of the state.