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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Gov Suntai speaks briefly on videotape •Tape played on Taraba television • Cabinet dissolved, lawmakers meet gov

Taraba State Governor, Mr. Danbaba Suntai
The Taraba State Governor, Mr. Danbaba Suntai, finally addressed the people on Wednesday , exactly  four days after  his return from a 10-month medical sojourn abroad.
The brief address was however not live but through a video shown on the state-owned television station in Jalingo.
His failure to do so earlier  and appear before the state House Assembly to formally intimate its  members of his desire to resume work had created suspicions that he was incapable of continuing to function as the state governor.
Before the video was brodcast, he met with  the  lawmakers and  inaugurated the newly appointed Secretary to the State Government, Timothy Kataps,  as well as the Chief of Staff, Mallam Aminu Jika.
The governor, who is recuperating  from injuries he sustained last October when a small aircraft he flew crashed, had earlier dissolved the state Executive Council, leaving only his special assistants.
In the address, Suntai  commended the people of the state  for their prayers and  for standing by him in his moment  of  trial.
“I thank  the people of Taraba State  for standing  by me and my family.I  also thank the commissioners for holding the fort  while I was away. Also enjoin all of you to continue to live in peace,” he said.
Suntai, who  wore  a sky  blue suit  and  a stripe shirt,  also congratulated the people on the  22nd anniversary  of the state which was   on  August 27.
He had while inaugurating  the new SSG and the  CoS  enjoined them  to to work in the interest of the people. The new SSG (Kataps), a former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice,  took over from Mr. Garvey Yawe while Jika, who  once served in the same capacity  in 2007, replaced Alhmed Yusuf.
Yawe and Yusuf were among the members of the  sacked state Executive Council. The others are  all the commissioners and  22 special advisers.
The  Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Media, Sylvanus Giwa,  had  at a news conference in Jalingo, said that the   appointments of Kataps and Jika  were  aimed at strengthening the machinery of government.
The governor also met on Wednesday evening with  members of  the House of Assembly led by their Speaker,  Haruna Tsokwa.
The lawmakers had resolved at their sitting earlier on Wednesday to meet with  the governor  to confirm his true state of  health before taking any position on his letter stating his intention to resume office.
Journalists, who were asked to wait at the assembly complex for the lawmakers to meet with the governor, were stunned when they  returned, held a brief closed-door session, and  said  they would  speak to the press on Thursday(today).
Suntai’s Chief Press Secretary, Hassan Mijinyawa, said  the meeting  was “meaningful.”
The Speaker had on Monday alleged that the House leaders were prevented from seeing  the governor.
Our correspondents learnt that the news of the sack of the executive council members  had  worsened the political logjam in the state  as Tsokwa  said  the  governor   had  no right to do so.
Tsokwa   had added that  the assembly recognised   the Acting Governor, Garba Umar, as the man in charge of the affairs of the state.
Also, Umar insisted that he remained the acting governor until there  was a contrary directive from the assembly.
The acting governor,  through his Chief Press Secretary, Kefas Sule, said  the  sacked  executive council was worried that some individuals were bent on fomenting trouble in the state.  He therefore  urged the people to continue with their normal activities.
“We shall definitely resolve this crisis. It is only one government here – the Suntai administration,” he explained, adding that he would address the people of the state on the  development.
Umar   said  since he was empowered in  acting capacity, the lawmakers had the right to ask him to revert to his former position as deputy governor or still continue in acting capacity.
  “I am waiting to hear from them. As I speak to you, if the assembly tells me to revert  to the position of deputy, I will comply,” he  said.
It was gathered that some of the sacked  commissioners and aides  accused    Suntai’s wife, Hauwa, of spearheading  the dissolution of the cabinet.
Our correspondents also learnt that a  faction in the  state assembly loyal to Umar insisted  on Wednesday that Suntai must appear before them to personally tender  the letter he wrote intimating the  assembly of  his desire to resume duty.
 A source close to the faction told The PUNCH that  the assembly  would have no alternative but to initiate impeachment moves against   Suntai  and  save the state from avoidable bloodshed. It was further gathered that some of the legislators close to the acting governor had started collecting signatures preparatory to the governor’s impeachment.
The source, who did not want his name in print,  said the state could not afford any crisis at this point, more so when such  could be avoided.
 “The pro-Umar lawmakers are  collating signatures  to impeach the governor because we  cannot afford this type of  avoidable crisis,” he said.
 Suntai’s  letter seeking to resume duty   had divided the political class   as the Speaker of the state assembly had insisted that the governor  needed  to  address the  lawmakers or allow principal officers of the assembly to have an interaction with him.
But  the Majority Leader, Mr. Joseph Albasu , asked the governor to start work with immediate effect.His  position was shared  by the attorney-general, who said that Suntai  needed not    appear before the lawmakers before resuming work.

culled from PUNCHNG



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