Crisis In Taraba State Over Suntai

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A letter sent in by the recuperating Governor of Taraba State, Danbaba Suntai, to the State House of Assembly intimating them of his intention to resume work, has split the lawmakers along political lines.
The undercurrent also brought to the fore the divided loyalty between those in support of Suntai, who returned to the country on Sunday and his deputy, Garba Umar, who has acted as governor in the last 10 months.
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While the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr. Haruna Tsokwa, asked the governor to come and address them at plenary as a condition for resuming, the Majority Leader, Mr. Joseph Albasu Kunini, asked the governor to start work with immediate effect.
Kunini had addressed a press conference in Jalingo earlier, yesterday, during which he said that there was no need to table the letter sent in by Suntai to the plenary for deliberation since the constitution did not stipulate such as a requirement.

He therefore gave the nod to the governor to resume work based on his claim that he was fit enough to carry on with the task of administering the state.
Kunini, who doubles as the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, explained that the governor was free to resume work having transmitted a letter confirming his fitness and readiness to resume work.
“There is no room in the Nigerian Constitution for the House to deliberate on the letter once it has been transmitted to the House by the governor,” Kunini told journalists.
“To us, the governor has complied with the provision of the law by sending the letter to us through his Special Adviser on Legal Matters. The letter from the governor was received by the Clerk of the Taraba Assembly and promptly handed over to the Speaker and that completed the required action.
“The Taraba State House of Assembly does not need anything other than the hard copy with the governor’s authentic signature and there is no need to discuss it at the plenary,” the House Leader explained.
But barely two hours after the press conference by the Majority Leader, the Speaker, Haruna Tsokwa, also addressed the media in his office and insisted that the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, remains the Acting Governor until Suntai addresses them on his state of health.
He must address the House — Speaker
Although Tsokwa acknowledged the receipt of the letter sent in by Suntai, he nonetheless made it clear that the letter must first be deliberated upon by members at plenary before the governor could resume.
Tsokwa said: “Governor Suntai should come and address the House of Assembly before we decide on his resumption. The letter is with us and it has to be debated at plenary,” the Speaker told journalists.
While pleading with the people to remain calm and law-abiding, the Speaker assured them of the readiness of the House of Assembly to work for the interest of the state at all times.
What the constitution says

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