There were reports that apart from the speaker, who led a delegation to the Government House, Alhaji Umar; the Commissioner in charge of the state Police Command and the Director of State Security Service were prevented from seeing the governor by Suntai’s family members and influential associates on Tuesday. Umar, who acted as governor during the 10 months that Suntai was out of the country, was barred from seeing the governor on his arrival at the Jalingo Airport. But a credible source had told The PUNCH that the deputy governor met the governor in Jalingo even before he alighted from the aircraft that flew him there.
Sources close to the state government informed one of our correspondents on Tuesday that Umar, Tsokwa and the two security chiefs were told that Suntai would not be able to see them until he had rested for 72 hours.
One of the sources said, “What we have been told is that the governor will rest for 72 hours in compliance with the instructions of his doctors. This was the explanation they also gave to the D-G, SSS and the CP. They were there to see him, but they were stopped.”
According to another source, “the speaker’s delegation was kept waiting for about one hour and the governor’s wife (Hauwa) later told them that Suntai was resting.”
He added that because of the development, the state House of Assembly had resolved to sit on Wednesday (today) and debate the governor’s letter.
“What the members have decided is to sit tomorrow (today) and formally invite the governor to address the House. He has been away for about 10 months; so, coming to address them will at least put all the speculations and uncertainties surrounding his health to rest”, the source added.
Asked what Taraba stakeholders considered to be the way forward for the state, a top Peoples Democratic Party member from the state, said that much depended on the assembly’s decision.
He said, “This situation must be addressed with all the caution that it requires. There is no point rushing things or being unnecessarily preemptive.
“If the House say they are going to invite him, the right thing is to await the outcome of the decision of the House. Let them come up with their decision.”
In Abuja, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties and the Inter Party Advisory Council called on the state House of Assembly to set up a medical panel to examine Suntai’s state of health.
Both CNPP and IPAC, whose officials spoke separately with the News Agency of Nigeria, said this was in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
The CNPP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Osita Okechukwu, told NAN that the assembly should set up the panel immediately “to determine if Suntai is capable or incapable of carrying out his constitutional functions.”
IPAC, through its chairman, Mr. Yusuf Tanko, also said the governor’s health status must be established before any action could be taken.
It said, “It is in the interest of democracy that Suntai’s health situation is established. If he is found incapable, there are constitutional provisions that should be followed, otherwise we will continue to put democracy in danger.’’