Professor Zakari Aliyu, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Nigeria’s Taraba State Specialist Hospital on Friday said the ailing Governor of the state, Mr Danbaba Suntai, might not return to duty soon.
Aliyu stated this in Jalingo while testifying before the ad hoc committee of the House of Assembly investigating the motives behind the CMD’s recent press interview on the governor’s health.
The CMD had said in the controversial interview that the governor’s brain injury sustained in the plane crash had made him lose some cognitive abilities, which he did not specify.
Cognitive abilities are the brain-based skills we need to carry out any task from the simplest to the most complex. They have more to do with the mechanisms of how we learn, remember, problem-solve, and pay attention rather than with any actual knowledge. Any task can be broken down into the different cognitive skills or functions needed to complete that task successfully. For instance, answering the telephone involves at least: perception (hearing the ring tone), decision taking (answering or not), motor skill (lifting the receiver), language skills (talking and understanding language), social skills (interpreting tone of voice and interacting properly with another human being). Suntai might have lost any of these.
The doctor, at Friday’s session, reaffirmed the contents of his earlier interview.
“When I arrived in Germany, I met the physicians of the governor and we reviewed the details of his medical report. I asked the nurses attached to the governor and they made available to me all his medical records.
“Given the nature of His Excellency’s condition, he can’t be expected home in one or two weeks,” he said.
The CMD added that his motive of granting the interview was just to ginger up the state government on the need to transfer Suntai from Germany to John Hopkins Hospital in the U.S. to avail him better treatment options.
Aliyu explained that he had been handling Suntai’s health for the past five years.
He said the ailing governor had also been receiving treatment for three chronic diseases which he said, would not be divulged for ethical reasons.
“Since I am the consultant overseeing his personal physician, the routine interview I granted on his condition was to ginger up the acting governor to hasten Suntai’s movement to U.S. which I am glad they finally did.”
In a speech at the session, the Speaker of the house, Mr Istifanus Gbana, said the committee was set up to find out if Aliyu’s press interview had not violated the Oath of Secrecy enshrined in the Civil Service Rule.
Represented by the Deputy speaker, Mr Abel Diah, the speaker said Aliyu was not the personal physician of the governor and should have sought for permission from appropriate authority before granting the interview.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr Edward Baraya, representing Karim Lamido 2, said the committee would study Aliyu’s response and submit its report to the assembly.
Governor Suntai had been on admission at a hospital in Germany after he crash-landed a Cessna plane in Yola, Adamawa state last year October.