By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North, Sam Eyoboka, & John Mkom
Jalingo— Barely a day after returning to a tumultuous welcome in Jalingo, Taraba State capital, Governor Danbaba Suntai has transmitted a letter of fitness and intention to resume work to the state House of Assembly.
Vanguard learnt that although the transmission of the letter was not deliberated upon yesterday, it has been handed over to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr. Haruna Tsokwa, who is expected to present it to the plenary this week.
Sources said it was in connection with the content of the letter that the Acting Governor, Garba Umar, met for several hours with the Speaker and the state Police Commissioner, Jubrin Adeneji, in his office yesterday.
It was learnt that the three men, who had been holding sway while Suntai was away for prolonged treatment, met to discuss the modalities for a seamless handing over to Suntai.
Although Tsokwa refused to discuss the letter, a member of Suntai’s cabinet confirmed that the letter had been sent to the House of Assembly.
The member, who pleaded anonymity, said the letter was to inform the members that the governor was back and ready to resume in his office.
The cabinet member did not, however, say when the governor would resume work.
But as a prelude to resuming work after ten months, Suntai yesterday hosted his Adamawa counterpart, Murtala Nyako, who visited him briefly in Government House Jalingo.
On arrival at the Government House, the wife of the Taraba Governor, Hauwa, received Nyako and let him into a conference room where prayers were offered to God for the successful treatment and recovery of Suntai.
Only two Television cameramen-one from Adamawa Government House and another from Taraba State Television, were allowed to record the meeting between the two governors.
Thereafter, the footage was played back to reporters to write their stories.
Suntai returned to Nigeria on Sunday after ten months in Germany and the United States for treatment following multiple injuries sustained in a plane crash near Yola Airport on October 25, 2012.
Meanwhile, a senatorial aspirant in Edo State, Egheomhanre Eyienyien has called on the Taraba State House of Assembly to immediately declare the state governor who returned to the country at the weekend incapacitated and unable to perform his duties as the state governor.
The Senatorial aspirant urged the state House to immediately swear in the Deputy Governor who had been on acting capacity as the substantive governor.
In a statement issued last night, the aspirant said it was sad to say, “but Gov. Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State cut a very pathetic sight as he was being helped to disembark from the chartered aircraft that brought him to Abuja after undergoing medical treatment abroad for about 10 months.
“He was frail, emaciated, and still looked unwell and unfit. Why did he allow himself to be put under such needless trauma? Governor Suntai should still be in a hospital,” he contended, adding that Section 189 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has spelt out the provisions with regard to the cessation of the office of a state governor due to infirmity of body or mind:
He also called on the National Assembly to immediately initiate moves to amend relevant sections of the Nigerian Constitution which relate to the cessation of office of all elected officials (the president, the vice president, governors, deputy governors, Federal or State legislators, Local Government chairmen and Local Government councillors).
“The Constitution should simply state that an elected official who is absent from work for a cumulative period of 90 days within one calendar year on account of infirmity of the body, infirmity of the mind, or any other reason would have his/her office declared vacant and he/she would be replaced as provided for by the Constitution”, he stated.
Mr. Eyienyien who is running for the Edo Central Senatorial seat further argued that: “where the medical panel certifies in its report that in its opinion the governor or deputy governor is suffering from such infirmity of body or mind as renders him permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office, a notice thereof signed by the Speaker of the House of Assembly shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Government of the State.