By all indications, there seems to be no relief in Taraba quagmire.Now it appears one of the sides is flaunting the name,power and influence of Former Defence Minister, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma,who is being accused of holding secret political meetings with Suntai’s wife.
One source claimed that Danjuma held a secret meeting with Mrs Hawwa Suntai, wife of the state recuperating Governor, Danbaba Suntai, at his residence in Lagos, during which a
reliable source confided that the former minister had allegedly told Hawwa that in no distant future, “I will remove Suntai and his deputy and rest assure that the southern zone will produce the next governor.’’
Those bandying this story claim that T.Y as he fondly called, has budgeted over N10 billion to induced the state lawmakers thereby forcing the speaker to voluntarily resign.Newsdiaryonline.com could not verify the existence of this war chest,thought the General is known to be stupendously rich. The source said that the retired General who could not hide his anger and displeasure over twist of events, “had also accused Hawwa of betrayal and aligning with opposition.He asked Suntai’s brethren and sisters that they should not allow her to sleep the same room with the ailing governor,’’said an impeccable source.
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. It could be recalled that few days after Suntai was flown back by a cabal, Danjuma flew into the state 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.
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 that led him 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.
From the governor’s office, Danjuma went straight to the TY Danjuma Foundation Office in Jalingo, from where he left for his private residence.
Initially, 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. Though, the state’s only female legislature in the state Assembly Hon.Rashida Abdullahi,representing Nguroje constituency had earlier denied move to impeach the ailing governor.
No More Out –of- Court Settlement?
Though the counsel to the ailing Governor Suntai in the case he filed against the Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly and members of the House had during the last sitting pleaded for an out-of-court settlement as it seemef they had reached a mutual understanding among them, to resolve the matter outside the court, things may likely change with the latest development. In the last sitting,the vacation judge,Justice Ali Andeyatso commended the efforts of the parties in the case for deciding to engage in out of court settlement and dousing the tension in the state through a round table dialogue. He adjourned the case till October 28th for the outcome of the agreement.
Justice Andeyatso was to give ruling on the matter in the suit by Governor Suntai seeking interpretation to the powers of the Speaker and Taraba State House of Assembly members to empower his deputy as acting governor. The presiding judge said since the plaintiff had sought for adjournment to settle out of court, he would allow the parties to explore every means to resolve the matter amicably. Sources now claim that T.Y Danjuma had since asked counsels to the governor to continue with the legal battle and forget about the out-of-court settlement.“He told Madam that now, no out-of-court settlement. He said he is ever ready to spend billions of naira in the suit,’’ said a reliable source.
The recuperating governor of Taraba state, Danbaba Suntai, sometime last month decided to exhaust legal means to resolve the political rancour between the governor and the state house of assembly.
The governor therefore sought relief for a declaration that the letter is absolute, mandatory, immutable and cannot be debated or contradicted by any means and has automatically assumed his powers and responsibilities as governor of Taraba state.
The governor also sought for a declaration that the speaker and the house of assembly directing that the deputy governor of Taraba state Alhaji Umar Garba should continue as acting governor of the state is null and void, ultra vires, constitutionally void and of no effect whatsoever.
Already, reactions have started trailing this latest hints in Taraba with a group, Coalition of Youth Movement (CYM) in Taraba State expressing disappointment with the manner, critical stakeholders in the state, particularly elder statesmen like General T.Y. Danjuma (rtd) are allegedly indulging in acts capable of creating tension and discord in the state. In a telephone chat ,the group’s President, Mr. Abba Waziri Abubakar and Secretary, Mr. Timothy A. Phinias respectively , asked T.Y, “ should as matter of urgency respect his age and status for him not to be disgraced and embarrassed.’’ The group also expressed disappointment in the manner other stakeholders in the state have been sitting on the fence since the crisis erupted, saying they have a responsibility to make sure the state remains peaceful and united .
‘’They cannot shy away from their responsibilities. We urge them to come out and take a clear stand, as this is not and should not be seen as a family affair,” they declared.
Condemning the rejection of the agreement brokered by the Senator Hope Uzodimma-led fact-finding committee by a section of the lawmakers in the state, the group expressed surprise that the lawmakers could maintain such a stance, despite being present at the stakeholders’ meeting, wondering why they did not dispute Uzodimma, while briefing
the press on the outcome of the parley.
Wondering why the agreement reached at the parley would be rejected by the lawmakers in view of the endorsement of Mrs Hawwa Suntai and Suntai’s younger brother, Babangida Suntai, the group described the action of the lawmakers as a sign of disrespect to President Jonathan, the leadership of PDP, the Suntai family and the 1999 Constitution.
They commended President Goodluck Jonathan and the leadership of the PDP under the Chairmanship of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and members of the National Assembly from Taraba State for their timely intervention in the crisis.The group noted that the political logjam being witnessed in the state was caused by the struggle for the control of the soul of the state ahead of the 2015 general election which in the opinion of the group, is still very far.
“The coalition observed that the ongoing political logjam is caused by 2015 general election and perceived ambition of some political actors which is throwing our state into puzzlement and further isolating our people while 2015 is still far. The coalition wishes to re-affirm its
earlier position that it threw (its) support on the resolution of the 2/3 majority of Taraba State House of Assemblymandating the acting governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, to continue in that capacity while Governor Danbaba Suntai should return to hospital and continue his rehabilitation,”they said.