Controversies trail Danbaba Suntai’s health in Taraba State
A BATTLE-line between the Governor of Taraba State, Mr. Darius Dickson Ishaku and his Adamawa State counterpart, Jibrila Bindow, appears to have been drawn following the controversies presently surrounding the up-keep of the former governor of Taraba State, Danbaba D. Suntai, who is still recuperating from the injuries he sustained from the October 2012 plane crash.
Rumours making the rounds in both states say that the state (Taraba) government has abandoned Suntai whom many claimed is presently suffering from stroke, the situation which The Guardian learnt, made Bindow of Adamawa State to take over the responsibilities of Suntai.
Several online messages, which expressed dismay at the lukewarm attitudes of the Taraba State government, also went extra miles to indict loyalists of Suntai who fought tooth and nail to discourage the confirmation of the former sacked Acting Governor, Garba Umar, as the substantive governor during the last political dispensation.
Reacting to the rumours, some of which were credited to Bindow and Umar, the Taraba State governor, felt sad that Bindow who has benefited from the said ailing governor, has decided to “cheapen” himself by spreading rumours that are capable of stirring dust in Taraba State.
But Governor Darius, who spoke through his Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Sylvanus Y. Giwa, denied ever abandoning Suntai, stating: “I have not abandoned Suntai and I will never abandon him.”
Wondering why Bindow and his people have “cheapened” themselves to the extent of believing that Governor Ishaku has abandoned his predecessor, Giwa said none of Suntai’s family has come forth to complain about the present situation of the former governor to the state government.
Giwa, who was visibly dejected by the rumours, which have continued to spread like Harmattan fire, said: “Let it be clear that no one approached Governor Darius Ishaku on Suntai’s bill.”
The Adamawa State governor, according to him, “has peddled unfounded stories but we are aware of his connivance with Senator Aisha Alhassan to discredit Ishaku and among others hijack the process of the election tribunal.
“We know that he is resurfacing now because of Aisha’s bid to become governor even when the people’s votes have spoken.
“We will advise Governor Bindow and Atiku to concentrate on solving the unquantifiable problems in Adamawa State, including debts, rather than meddling in the affairs of Taraba State. By the way, he has been a beneficiary of several largesse of Suntai as can be seen in the co-sponsorship of his senatorial bid.”
The Guardian learnt that the rumour which is at the verge of causing disunity between the two governors and their teeming supporters was the handiwork of one of the desperate family members of Suntai, who is seeking financial assistance to solve his personal problems.
The family member was said to have claimed that Suntai had been struck down by stroke and that the Taraba State government under the leadership of Governor Ishaku has turned back on Suntai. And touched by the story, Bindow was said to have accepted to fly Suntai abroad for medical check-up and also give out some reasonable amount of money to the family.
Also speaking on the issue, former Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Emmanuel Bello, said: “A news item making the rounds in the social media has it that the current government in Jalingo has foresaken former Governor Danbaba Suntai, leaving him to rot away in a desolate place. The news has it also that Suntai even suffered stroke recently with no one around to help him out.
“It said Governor Bindow of Adamawa State had to foot the governor’s bill by flying him out. That is a flat lie because His Excellency, former Governor Suntai, is in Jalingo and has not skipped the town for months now. He didn’t have to do that because his health is not worsening. In fact, it is getting better with Suntai becoming stronger even.
“The picture the contentious story and its sponsors tried to paint unsuccessfully is that of a former governor being left by all and allowed to suffer the crisis of loneliness and neglect.”
Bello stressed: “We also have to inform all and sundry that Governor Darius has continued to foot the medical bills of Suntai. The former governor’s condition has in fact improved tremendously and he is surrounded by many friends and family members. Darius also ensures he pays him periodic visits alongside other state officials.”
One of the maid-servants to Suntai stated that the former governor has no stroke, saying: “As I am talking with you now, he is in his parlour attending to some visitors.
“Such bad news that people are spreading will always go back to senders. He is strong and will continue to grow stronger daily.”
Meanwhile, a close associate of Governor Bindow, who claimed anonymity, said: “As we are talking now, Bindow is not pleased with what he is hearing, especially from some top government functionaries from Taraba State.
“I hope you know that I am not his spokesman. I am doing this because of my personal relationship with you. No single official of Taraba State government has deemed it fit to contact Bindow on the rumours they are hearing.”
He said that rather than reaching out to the Adamawa State government, Taraba government is busy smearing the name of our governor and the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on the pages of newspapers.