Monday, 20 May 2013
Taraba’s Acting Governor Celebrates 100 Days In Office, Confirms Suntai’s Incapacitation
Yesterday, the Taraba State government placed an advertorial in numerous Nigerian newspapers. Titled “Taraba: One Hundred Days to be Thankful About,” the advertorial was meant to mark the 100th day in office of acting Governor Garba Umar.
A top politician in Taraba told SaharaReporters that he saw the advertisement as a tacit confirmation that Governor Danbaba Danfulani Suntai, who remains in a hospital in Germany, is too physically and mentally incapacitated to run the state, as SaharaReporters has disclosed in several reports. Mr. Suntai was flown to Germany last year following serious injuries he sustained when a plane he was piloting crashed near the airport in Yola, capital of Adamawa State, in late October, 2012. SaharaReporters has since learned from reliable sources that Mr. Suntai is too brain-damaged to recognize family members as well as political associates.
“The statement in the newspapers was a way of telling us that the acting governor is now fully in charge, and that he is doing a good job,” said our source. He regretted that the acting governor as well as the state government did not have the courage to tell the residents of the state the whole truth, “which is that Governor Danbaba Suntai will not be resuming in office as governor.” He said the advertorial was designed as a clever strategy to inform people that Mr. Umar “has stepped into the shoes of the sick governor permanently,” but accused the state government of also trying to deceive people that Mr. Suntai was in the process of becoming healthy enough to return. “They should just come out and tell people that the man is not returning as governor,” the source added.
The advertorial was signed by Kefas Sule, acting Chief Press Secretary to the acting Governor.
Below is the full content of the 100-day message:
It is now about one hundred days since His Excellency, Alhaji Garba Umar was given the mandate to take the leading role as the Acting Governor of Taraba state on the 14th November, 2012. The decision of the Taraba State House of Assembly, which gave the mandate to the Deputy Governor to act in that capacity, follows the unfortunate plane crash of 25th October, 2012 involving the Executive Governor, Danbaba Danfulani Suntai and his personal aides. The decision ab initio has been to ensure that the wheel of governance in the state does not grind to a halt. Indeed, while Tarabans continue to miss their beloved Governor Danbaba Danfulani Suntai, who is still receiving medical care in Germany, a Godsend in the person of Alhaji Garba Umar has been living up to the challenge by effectively steering the craft of leadership in the state on the path of stability, progress, continuity, peace and harmonious co- existence. In the past more than one hundred days since the air mishap of 25th October, 2012, the Acting Governor, has been successfully combining and managing the jobs of the Governor and that of the Deputy Governor with outstanding results.
A major feature across Taraba State since Alhaji Garba Umar started overseeing the affairs of the state are the prevailing atmosphere of stability and continuity. Government and non-governmental affairs have been stable while continuity has remained the hallmark in the execution of projects and polices. Not a single project being executed by the Danbaba Suntai Administration before the air mishap has been allowed to suffer. Of note are the construction of the Jalingo- Sunkani-Garba Chede Federal road which the state Government is executing, the construction of the four kilometer roads in each of the 16 local government areas of the state and expansion projects at the Taraba State University Jalingo and the Polytechnic in Suntai. Because of the sustained payment to the contractors, the projects especially the roads are to be completed and handed over to the state government in April.
The General Hospital in Takum is also being completed and to be equipped in a matter of months. Several partnership projects like the MDGs, Community and Social Development Projects (CSDP) as well as polio eradication initiatives are also ongoing across the state. In addition to sundry project across the state, the payment of salaries and allowances has never been more regular and timely than in the last three months. As Alhaji Garba Umar has consistently maintained "it is one and the same government, we are committed to all the goals that guarantee rapid transformation of the state." If today you visit any part of Taraba state, you will, like numerous other visitors before, notice that life is generally upbeat even as the people are continuing with prayers for the full recovery of Governor Suntai.
As a corporate leader of about forty years standing, in one of the leading multi-national companies in the country, before joining politics, Alhaji Garba Umar has brought to bear his wealth of experience in manning the finances of the state. When he started administering the state, Alhaji Garba Umar discovered that the less-than- transparent processes by some of the government’s bankers resulted in over 3.5 billion naira overdraft. Three months later, the amount has been fully paid and the government does not owe any bank presently. The Acting Governor has put in mechanism for tracking the state’s bank accounts to block leakages. The administration is already looking ahead, pursuing an aggressive savings and revenue generating plan to ensure adequate availability of funds for the financing of the 2013 development agenda.
The sustained effort of Alhaji Garba Umar towards peace and harmonious co-existence has resounded well across the length and breadth of Taraba state. Early in the period of his acting mandate, sectarian violence broke out in Ibi Local Government Area that resulted in the unfortunate loss of lives and properties. Working in concert with the members of the State House of Assembly and security agencies, Alhaji Garba Umar ensured the effective containment of the crisis within hours and took drastic measures (among which is the indefinite suspension of the entire Council of the Local government Area) to prevent a reoccurrence. Normalcy has since returned to the area.
All these achievements have been the outcome of the synergy among the functionaries in the three arms of government and the cooperation of the entire populace. While the ultimate goal of Alhaji Garba Umar is to keep the ship of state sailing smoothly, he knows also that it is a job that requires all hands to be on deck, particularly all the other crew members. And this, he has succeeded so well in accomplishing. The timely presentation of the 2013 appropriation bill by the Acting Governor and the speedy consideration and passage by the house is a clear demonstration of the robust relationship among the different arms of Government in the state. Only a couple of weeks back, the Taraba State House of Assembly passed a vote of confidence on the Acting Governor for his performance so far.
The national office of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had also recently expressed satisfaction with the Acting Governor’s style of handling the affairs of the state. So are several other individuals and organization who have voiced approval of the way things are going on in Taraba state.
A very hardworking man, Alhaji Garba Umar keeps very long hours at his desk and continues to work late into the night to ensure that the Taraba project is achieved. He is a man of abiding faith in God and believes in the goodness of all men and women. Recently in the palace of one of the traditional rulers in the state, he declared the commitment of the rest of them in Government to the vision and aspirations of Governor Danbaba Suntai in transforming the state with this few words in Hausa: "mu ba masu cin amana bane". Literally translated, "we are not people who betray trust".
This is the cardinal principle we have seen play out in the past three months. It is a commitment not to betray trust in God, not to betray the trust of Governor Danbaba Suntai and the good people of Taraba state. Gladly too, Taraba is making progress, not in the hasty and unlawful manner some are advocating, but on a stable, steady and sure path.