By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North & John Mkom
…As souvenir bearing his picture floods Jalingo
Jalingo — Ahead of his expected return to the state, several mementos bearing the pictures of the injured Governor of Taraba State, Danbaba Suntai, have flooded the state capital, Jalingo.
Among the gift items currently being distributed free of charge to women, students and supporters of the governor, is a well designed blue-coloured wrapper, bearing the picture of the governor.
The wrappers were being distributed by one of the aides of the governor from one of the government offices in Jalingo.
The governor is expected to depart the Sea View Hospital Rehabilitation Centre and Home located in New York for home on Saturday, August 24.
The governor’s wife, Hauwa Danbaba Suntai, made this known in a telephone interview with NAN on Tuesday in New York.
She said arrangements had been concluded for the return of the governor, who had spent some months at the rehabilitation centre, following the injuries he sustained after his aircraft crashed in Adamawa while attempting to land in October 2012.
Hauwa also expressed the family’s appreciation to all who had in many ways supported the family throughout their trying moment.
NAN also learnt that some Nigerians living in New York have volunteered to accompany the governor home.
Findings by Vanguard revealed that those who collected the wrappers have already given them out to tailors to sew according to the groups invited to welcome the governor back to the state.
One of the pieces, which Vanguard picked up from a tailor, has the picture of Suntai wearing a blazer and smiling broadly as if he was in a joyous mood. It has a bold message: “Welcome our Governor”.
Competent government sources confirmed that the return of Suntai was imminent and that it was a matter of days before the governor would touch down on the soil he left in a precarious state of health 10 months ago.
Vanguard gathered from highly-placed family sources that Suntai, who had since been relocated from Germany to Washington for medical attention following an air crash last October, had recovered considerably and could be released by his doctors any moment from now.
“We are very delighted by the level of recovery recorded by the governor and we can confirm that he will soon be back in Jalingo, a member of the Suntai family, told Vanguard.
It was learnt that in preparation for the governor’s ‘triumphant return’ to the state, top government officials had paid for a special aircraft to bring back the governor to Nigeria. The amount for the chartered flight, which the source declined to say, had already been paid for by the Taraba State Government.
Vanguard also learnt that three senior aides of the governor- the Chief Security Officer, the Chief Detail and the Orderly-have already gone to the United States to accompany the injured governor back to Nigeria.
As part of the preparations for the governor’s arrival, spirited efforts are being made by top officials of the administration to give the Government House Jalingo and the governor’s country home in Suntai community a facelift.
It was also gathered that many cultural groups in the state were also rehearsing with a view to putting up carnival-like performances to herald the arrival of the governor.
“I can confirm to you that Governor Suntai is returning to the state in a matter of weeks, having been confirmed fit to return to work by his minders in the U.S,” an aide of the governor told Vanguard.