Jalingo—Acting Governor of Taraba State, Alhaji Garba Umar, yesterday said his loyalty to his ailing boss, Danbaba Suntai, was consistent and unshakable.
Umar, who made the disclosure in his New Year broadcast in Jalingo, said he was only holding brief for his principal, pending the time the governor fully recovered and was capable of resuming full duties as governor.
He said “as a loyal lieutenant, I will continue to hold brief for my boss by staying focused on his master plan for the development of our dear state.
Umar said: “My resolve to do so is borne out of the need to ensure continuity and completion of the set goals and objectives within the life span of the current administration, started about seven years ago.”
The acting governor listed some of his achievements to include the completion of work on Jalingo-Sunkani-Garba Chede Road and the completion and inauguration of Takum General Hospital.
Others, he added, include the connection of Suntai Village, the governor’s country home, to the national grid, as well as the state’s House of Assembly Service Commission Complex.
He said “it is to the credit of the current administration that local government workers are now enjoying a new minimum wage and we were able to pay September salaries of workers without federal statutory allocation.”
Umar urged the state House of Assembly to hasten the approval of the 2014 budget he earlier presented to it so that the process of implementation could begin early in the year.
He commended security agencies for their roles in maintaining peace in 2013, stressing that the efforts of traditional and religious leaders was remarkable.
Umar said his major challenge in 2013 was the ‘cabal,’ that tried to hijack governance by using the name of Gov. Danbaba Suntai.
He, however, assured the people of the state that the government had almost overcame the problem of the ‘cabal’, having succeeded in forming the executive council.
He stated that: “Our major challenge in 2013 was the cabal which tried to hijack the machinery of governance using the name of Suntai.
“I can assure the people of the state that I will not fold my hands and allow any individual or group to hijack the state. We have now appointed commissioners and formed Exco and set for a better 2014.”
Suntai returned to Nigeria on August 25, 2013, after 10 months of medical treatment abroad, following a plane crash in Yola.
Umar defended the state government’s inability to pay former Governor Jolly Nyame his severance allowances.
He said the former governor failed to send a bill to the state assembly to pass a law enabling the state to pay former governors in all the 10 years he was at the helm of affairs as chief executive.
He said: “I have sent a bill to the state assembly to make a law allowing the state to pay former governors their entitlements and the lawmakers are yet to complete work on the document.
“Nyame failed to do that during his time, but I have played my part, remaining that of the assembly.”