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Taraba Crisis: Danjuma in secret meeting with Suntai…shuns Ag Gov, Umar

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By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North & John Mkom

Former Defence Minister, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, yesterday, held a secret meeting with recuperating Taraba State Governor, Danbaba Suntai, at the Government House Jalingo, in a renewed bid to douse the political crisis in the state.

The return of Suntai, who is regarded as Danjuma’s political godson, has created ripples in the state’s political circles and split the loyalty of the leadership and members of the state House of Assembly between the governor and his deputy, Garba Umar.

While majority of the members, led by the Speaker, Haruna Tsokwa, are in support of Umar to continue to act as governor pending when Suntai will be fit enough the take over the mantle of leadership, the minority, spearheaded by the Majority Leader, Joseph Kunini, want Suntai to resume work without further delay.

The minority group insists that the ailing governor could lead by proxy even if he is not fit enough to run the state on a daily basis.

But apparently fearing that the fragile peace in the state could further slip, Danjuma flew into the state yesterday and went straight to the Government House, Jalingo, where he held a closed-door meeting with Suntai, who has been indoors since returning to the state on August 25, 2013.

Governor Danbaba Suntai and Acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar
Governor Danbaba Suntai and Acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar

Although Danjuma described his visit to Suntai as private and declined to talk to journalists, it was learnt that he threw his weight behind Suntai and pleaded that the law should be allowed to take its course regarding the crisis in the state.

He is said to have listened carefully to the position canvassed by Suntai that he had assumed duties in earnest having transmitted a letter of resumption and fitness to the House of Assembly, as stipulated by the law and wondered why there was a furore over the matter.

Danjuma, who was received by Suntai’s wife and led to the governor, said he was in the state in a private capacity and did not visit the acting governor, Garba Umar, after meeting briefly with Suntai, even though the latter was in his office at the time.

Attempts by journalists to talk with him or follow him to see Suntai were rebuffed by security agents, who claimed  the visit was a private one and did not require public attention.

But minutes after meeting with Suntai and his wife, Hauwa, Danjuma came out. Hauwa was sighted beaming with broad smiles, something that had been very rare since the return of her husband from the U.S.

From the governor’s office, Danjuma went straight to the TY Danjuma Foundation Office in Jalingo, from where he left for his private residence.

However, there were fears that the majority of the members of the House of Assembly, who feel that Suntai was unfit to govern the state, might move to impeach him, having secured two thirds of the signatures of the members.
It was learnt that the move by the pro-Umar lawmakers was responsible for the rejection of the peace deal brokered by the PDP and released by the Senator Hope Uzodinma-led Fact-finding Committee, which visited the state on Tuesday.

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