The Taraba State Government has faulted a video, which went viral some few days ago quoting recuperating Governor Danbaba Suntai as saying that he is not yet well enough to return to office as Executive Governor of the state, saying it is a fake.
A statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Timothy Kataps, and made available to journalists on Wednesday, described the video as a desperate attempt by political detractors to ‘cast a shadow of doubt in the media’ over the governor’s recovery. The statement also said that the video faked the voice of the governor and was presented as real.
The statement also expressed regret that most of the reports did not emanate from correspondents in Jalingo, the state capital.
The statement partly reads, “Our attention has been drawn to a scandalous, libellous ‘news’ going the rounds in some sections of the nation’s media saying Governor Danbaba Suntai has thrown in the towel.
“Apart from the comical nature of the news item, the unprofessionalism of the media was profoundly saddening. A concoction started by SaharaReporters was lifted by reputable national media and presented as news.
“This is indeed sad. Moreso, many of the media organisations did not even bother to cross-check facts and seek balance – a cornerstone of journalism.
“It should interest the world to note that most of the papers that reported that Governor Danbaba Suntai had admitted that he could not resume work did not get their stories from their correspondents in Jalingo.
The statement added, “Secondly, their source was a video shown by a pressure group in Lagos to a collection of ‘top editors’. Again, this is dubious. We wonder if the Lagos-based editors noticed the superimposition of voices on a caricature of the governor”.
The SSG said it was ironic that the governor, often described as incapable of making speeches, has now been presented as fit to address the media about his state of health.
“The same desperados using state funds have always cast a shadow of doubt in the media over pictures or videos showing that Suntai is indeed recovering. It is moronic for people who often say, for instance, that Suntai’s statewide televised broadcasts were stage-managed, to come out now and say Suntai has announced he can’t continue to govern via a video.
“If our videos are fake, what is the guarantee that their own now is authentic? The same clan of desperate power mongers like to tell the world that Suntai can’t even produce a speech or respond intelligently to questions. So, how come the same Suntai is telling them he can’t resume? Or do they only choose to hear what they want to hear?
“For the avoidance of doubt, Suntai has not, at any point, granted such an interview to any reporter in Jalingo. If and when he grants it, it would be with known reporters and not a faceless reporter as carried in the tale. The video in question is a desperate item taken out of context and manipulated to further deceive Nigerians”.
Blaming the development on those bent on seeing that Suntai does not return to office, Kataps said, “We want to put it on record that this is just a malicious media campaign paid with Taraba State taxpayers’ money to hoodwink the teeming supporters of Suntai. Having failed to stop Suntai’s recovery, the desperados are now trying to discourage millions of Nigerians who have been praying for the governor’s recovery”.