Nigeria News

Taraba State: Suntai’s men plot to impeach Acting Governor

Taraba State Governor Suntai Danbaba

The crisis in Taraba State might worsen following the alleged plot to remove the Acting Governor of the state, Alhaji Garba Umar.

But a pressure group, Taraba Justice Forum, yesterday pleaded with President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene in the constitutional challenge facing the state.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that loyalists of Governor Danbaba Suntai have perfected plans to remove the Acting Governor.

It was learnt that the pro-Suntai men have been alleging that Umar is disloyal to his principal.

They also claimed that the Acting Governor had lobbied the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some forces in the presidency to remove the governor.

Suntai’s loyalists alleged that were it not for security implications of Umar’s lobbying, the presidency almost conceded to his agitation.

They accused Umar of voting for Governor David Jang during the election of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) to earn the confidence of the presidency to become the governor of Taraba State.

A top source said: “There is a plan to remove the Acting Governor. Some loyalists of Suntai are already going about to influence members of the state House of Assembly to impeach Umar.

“Their main grouse is that Umar is disloyal. In one of their meetings, one of those aggrieved said: “Can you imagine that the man had only N48, 000 in his account when he was appointed a deputy governor? Now he wants to be governor; we won’t allow it. I think he should be the one to go.

“Some of them are trying to introduce ethnic and religious sentiments to impeach Umar. Their first target now is to hijack the House of Assembly from the control of the Speaker, Haruna Tsokwa.”

It was learnt that another set of Suntai’s supporters are aggrieved that “Umar allegedly backed Jang during the the NGF crisis to enable the House of Assembly to invoke Section 189 of the 1999 constitution to declare Suntai permanently incapacitated.”

But pro-Umar supporters have faulted the position of Suntai’s sympathizers.

A source in the Umar camp said: “For 10 months, the Acting Governor refused to move into the Government House and he was still using his office. Is that an ambitious person?

“Apart from paying a get-well visit to Suntai, he made sure that the state government footed the medical bill of the governor.

“Suntai’s loyalists can crosscheck from the presidency whether Umar betrayed his boss in any manner whatsoever. They are complaining that he sacked some members of the executive. What should he do if things were wrong?”

Responding to a question, the source added: “We are aware of a plot to remove Umar so that he won’t take over from Suntai, if he is incapacitated.

“I think they want to remove Umar before declaring Suntai unfit as a governor. They have a game plan.”

On its part, the Taraba Justice Forum last night asked President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene in the crisis.

The group, which made the demand in a statement by its General Secretary, Barrister John Ambulus, said the presidential intervention was necessary to avoid implosion.”

The statement said: “Mr. President, please intervene now before the impending chaos and implosion. The National Assembly, act now so that you won’t have to take over the Taraba State House of Assembly later.

“Taraba State House of Assembly, remain steadfast on the path of truth; see the process to conclusion. Section 190 of the Constitution cannot be a cover for illegality.”

The forum insisted that the Taraba State House of Assembly acted legally by rejecting Suntai’s letter of resumption.

The forum added: “We again use this medium to affirm that the Taraba State House of Assembly acted within the letters and spirit of the constitution by their rejection of the purported letter of resumption of duty allegedly sent by the governor and their resolution calling on the governor to proceed on medical vacation.

”Section 190 is inferior to many sections of the constitution which affirm that sovereignty rests with the people, the citizens. Section 190 is not superior to the powers of the legislature to oversight activities of the executive and apply removal option if sufficient evidence is collated.

“Specifically, nothing can remove powers of the legislature to investigate and act as provided for in Section 128 of the constitution.

”We commend the magnanimity of the lawmakers who, after seen the governor, were moved to tears and choose to ask him to go on medical leave.

“We note the sense of patriotism and good judgment of Taraba caucus of the National Assembly who have also endorsed decisions so far taken by the Taraba State House of Assembly.

”It is time for the immediate family of the governor to stop the cabal from further using their man as political bargaining chip.

“It is inhuman and unfair to the governor who is not in control of his life.

”We also salute the courage and good judgment of the PDP leadership for setting up a committee earlier on and for promising to intervene before the situation degenerates further.

“Lastly, we call on the acting governor, Garba Umar, to continue to act with caution and high sense of integrity while offering total support to Suntai in this difficult period.”

Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC and CEO of Portia Web Solutions. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websits. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.

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