Gov. Suntai returns from the U.S looking frail, heads to Taraba

Suntai arrival

by Akan Ido

The Governor of Taraba state, Dambaba Suntai has returned to the the country after spending ten months in the United States of America recuperating from injuries he sustained in a plane crash.

Suntai, who was aided out of the down to the tarmac was visibly in some sort of pain wincing as he alighted from the aircraft which left New York to Abuja.

He ailing governor returned to the country in a chartered Gulf Stream jet with registration number N388CA belonging to Shelt Air. The aircraft reportedly left New York at exactly 1am (Nigerian time).

The governor was shielded from reporters who were expecting him to grant an interview with his handlers noting that the he was jet-lagged and tired after the long trip from America.

He was escorted to the airport by Nigeria’s New York Consul-General, Amb. Habib Habu, close relations and friends.

The governor flew a Cessna 208 aircraft which clashed at the Yola International Airport as it made to land on October 25, last year.

Onboard with Suntai were his Aide-de-camp (ADC) Iliya Dasat, Chief Detail Joel Danladi and Chief Security officer (CSO) Tino Dangana. They were all injured. They have all returned home after receiving treatment.

Read the Nation Newspapers report below:

At the airport yesterday, Suntai raised his right hand, as if to wave, but he was not really doing that. His face was expressionless, contrary to the excitment of the moment. He winced occasionally — as if in pains.

The governor was aided out of the aircraft at about 1.05pm by three men.

His handlers allowed photographers to take shots of him just for about two minutes.

Dressed in blue-black suit with a light blue shirt, Suntai was assisted by the men into a black Sport Utility Vehicle with registration number, Lagos-SC 989AAA and taken straight from the tarmac to the VIP wing of the Presidential Lounge.

Apparently to shield Suntai’s fragile state of health from curious reporters, his arrival formalties were restricted to the tarmac. The reception lasted between four and five minutes.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “You know he came in a chartered jet; he is experiencing jet lag. This is why he cannot immediately address reporters.

“Within the next hour, we should be able to move to Jalingo. But you can all see that he is not brain-damaged or incapacitated as being insinuated.”

Drawing the attention of the source to a deep cut on the head of the clean-shaven governor, the source said: “That is one of the scars of the plane crash. You should expect such.”

Those who received the governor at the tarmac were a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana (who led the delegation); a former Minister of Sports, Mr. Damisi Sango; the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Darius Dickson Ishaku; Mr. Damian Dodo (SAN); Senator Emmanuel Bwacha and Chief John Dara, a former Special Adviser to a former Minister of Defence, Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma.

Gana told reporters: “We are happy the governor is back. You have seen him and we are all elated that after the crash and the treatment, he is finally back in the country. He is doing well and, of course, he needs to rest because of the long flight.”

Ishaku, said: “We are glad; you can see he is back. We thank God for his life.”

Dara, who spoke outside the tarmac, said: “As we saw, the governor had some pains in his legs and the rest. Oh yes! That is understandable. He is obviously recuperating.

“ We were really excited to see the governor. What is clear is that after the long journey from America, he was obviously weak and tired.”

Asked what will become of the Personnel changes made by acting Governor Garba Umar in Suntai absence, Dara said: “Those were minor administrative issues.

“If somebody was sacked and if he as the governor is convinced the person should be reinstated, he is reinstated. If the governor is convinced they were fairly treated when the facts are presented to him, it is up to him.”

A friend of the governor, Mr. Rima Shamulu, said: “The governor’s doctor will advise him on when to resume. This is a simple matter as he will only need to transmit a letter to the speaker of the state Assembly of his intention to resume office.”

Concerning when the governor would speak to the media, Rima simply said: “This will be arranged as soon as possible.”

“There are provisions in the constitution for you to take over or not to.

“And if he gets back to Jalingo today, and he transmits a letter to the Assembly through the speaker that he has arrived, that is all; he can take over as the governor.

“So, I don’t know why there are speculations around because there is constitutional provision when someone becomes too sick to function; it is not for us to speculate.

“And with the way I saw him, he is alright,’’ Shamulu, a former board member of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), said.

A human Rights group, the Committee for Democracy and Rights of the People (CDRP) said ailing Suntai should declare his state of health.

The National Co-ordinator of the group, Comrade Saka Waheed, at a news conference in Osogbo yesterday said “The illegality of Suntai’s politics of absence is synonymous with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which we experienced during the last days of the Late President Umar Yar’Adua.

“The trend of events in Taraba State in the past few months have been of tremendous concern to all progressive elements in Taraba and Nigeria. Since the unfortunate plane crash involving Suntai, the executive has been a toy in the hands of a cabal, which believes that the fate of the State and its residents must be theirs in fee simple to determine as they wish.”

One comment

  1. Thank God the man is back but as far as I could last night from the television clips he is definitely far from hail and hearty, the whole scenerio seemed stage managed! If his so called friends truly love this man let them stop playing politics and come to terms that with his frail state, he can’t handle the burden of any contemporary Nigerian State, please for his health’s sake let him step down from office @ least his family will still have him around than letting the weight of his office kill him. May God grant him good health still.

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