Taraba Assembly Moves Against Suntai As Speaker Unveils 5-Man Medical Panel

Danbaba Danfulani SuntaiThe Taraba State House of Assembly has set up a five-man medical team to investigate the “true state of health” of Governor Danbaba Suntai, who is recuperating from injuries he sustained from a plane crash on October 25, 2012.

The Speaker, Josiah Sabo Kente, in a statement on Saturday, said the need to constitute the medical panel has become necessary following a unanimous demand by members of the state’s executive council.

It would be recalled that prior to Suntai’s return from United Kingdom where he went for further treatment penultimate Saturday, the state’s commissioners and advisers had written the lawmakers to constitute a medical panel to ascertain the “mental and physical condition of the governor” – whether he is capable of steering the affairs of the state.

The move is seen by many as the first bold step taken by the acting governor, Garba Umar, to unseat his boss and be confirmed as substantive governor, with an eye on the forthcoming Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) governorship primaries.

Umar has indicated interest to run for the 2015 governorship election and his posters are already out.

The five-man medial team has Prof. B.B Shehu as Chairman, with Dr. Inusa Samaila, Prof. Peter Alabi, Dr. Shehu Sule and Dr. Ahmed Kara as members. Kara is the personal physician to the governor.

The Speaker said: “consequent upon the receipt of the resolution by the Taraba State Executive Council after its meeting on September 10, 2014, evoking the provision of section 189 (1) (b) and 189 (4) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which requested me to appoint a medical panel to verify the health condition of Governor Danbaba Suntai, I hereby constitute the medical team”.

For the purpose of clarity, Section 189 (Subsection 1) of the Nigerian Constitution provides that “The Governor or Deputy Governor of a state shall cease to hold office if (a) by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of all members of the executive council of the state, it is declared that the Governor or Deputy Governor is incapable of discharging the functions of the office, and (ii) The declaration in paragraph (a) of the subsection is verified after such medical examination as may be necessary by a medical panel established under subsection 4 of this section in its report to the Speaker of the House of Assembly.

(2) “Where the medical panel certifies in its report that in its opinion the Governor or Deputy Governor is suffering from such infirmity of body or mind that has renders him permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office, a notice thereof signed by the Speaker of the House of Assembly shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Government of the State.

(3) “The Governor or Deputy Governor shall cease to hold office as from the date of publication of the notice of the medical report pursuant to subsection (2) of this section”.

The statement also said the panel would soon be inaugurated.