See recent pictures of Danbaba Suntai, former Governor of Taraba state.

New pictures have emerged of Danbaba Suntai, the former governor of Taraba State who unfortunately was involved in an air crash after their private plane, Cessna 208 aircraft marked 5N-BMJ, crashed in Yola, Adamawa State capital. some years ago.

Governor Suntai, who was in a critical condition at the German Specialist  Hospital in Yola, was said to be piloting the small aircraft at the time of the incident.  The plane hit the ground behind the NNPC depot, along Yola-Numan Road at about 7 pm.

Just today a Twitter user tweeted recent pictures of the former governor in what seems like a care home. Recall that the accident left him severely impaired as a result of a brain damage.

See the tweet below:

Taraba State Executive Council Lifts Ban On Employment

The Taraba State Executive Council has finally lifted the embargo placed on employment many years ago by the first Executive Governor of the state, Rev. Jolly Nyame.


The decision to lift the ban last week was based on the draft of the white paper on a committee report on the verification of transfers and employment into the state civil service from November 2012, to May 2015.


At the council meeting, the entire members accepted the white paper committee recommendations, and collectively agreed that in the process of engaging staff into the service, due process should be followed through advertisement of vacancies.


Stressing the need to take into consideration geographical spread, they also agreed that all employment into the state civil service should be made on the strength of presentation of genius education and professional certificates against the statements of results or testimonials.


In the light of the above, the need for all the state owned institutions of higher learning to always endeavour to make available to graduates their certificates within one year of graduation, the council believed has become vital.


The Chief of Staff, Rebo Usman, made this known while briefing journalists on the outcome of the council meeting, which took place in the Executive chamber of the Government House.

He said the entire council unanimously agreed that critical area of needs should always be taking into consideration in employment as well as transfer so as to sustain the system.


He informed journalists that the council also resolved that employees currently in the state government payroll without certificates should, as a matter of urgency, be advised to present their genuine education or professional certificates or be thrown into the unemployed market.


Biometric data capturing and analysis of the staff will be carried out to determine the strength of the state workforce and personnel bill, and quickly noted that “this exercise is already ongoing in both the state and local government services.”


The office of the Head of Service, in conjunction with the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Usman said, have been directed to set in motion machinery to carry out the decision of the council on the aforementioned subject.


For the past 10 years, graduates from the state have roamed the streets with their certificates due to government’s refusal to fill in the numerous vacant positions in the state civil services.

Supreme Court Affirms Ishaku As Taraba Governor

The Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed that Mr Diarus Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the April 11, 2015 governorship election in Taraba.


The Justice Bode-Rhodes Vivor-led six justices of the Supreme Court held that the appeal lacked merit.


“We have studied and reviewed the submissions of all the counsel to parties in this appeal and found that there is no merit in the appeal. The decision of the Court of Appeal on this matter is hereby upheld.


The reasons for the decision would be adduced on Feb.22 and parties are to bear their costs,’’ he held.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mrs Aisha Alhassan, candidate of the All Progressives Congress had her victory in the election upturned by the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

Aisha approached the apex court to challenge the decision of the Court of Appeal.


While adopting his address, Mr Abiodu Owonikoko (SAN), Counsel to Alhassan, argued that Ishiaku’s nomination and sponsorship fell below Section 177(c) of the Constitution.


NAN reports that that Section of the Constitution set out the requisite elements to meet before an aspirant could become a candidate.


Owonikoko submitted that PDP failed to conduct the governorship primaries, adding that Ishiaku’s nomination was a “kangaro arrangement’’.


Meanwhile, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), Mr Solo AKuma (SAN), and Mr Joseph Daudu (SAN), Counsel to Ishiaku, PDP and INEC, respectively, urged the court to discountenance Owonikoko’s submission.


They contended that the conduct and qualification of a candidate to contest elective position were sole right of the political parties.
They said the qualification of Ishiaku was not in dispute within the party, adding that APC and Alhassan lacked the “locus standi’’ to raise objection on how Ishiaku emerged.

Daudu said: “My Lords the commission has on many platforms held that the primaries that selected Ishiaku as the party’s candidate was properly conducted in Wadata House Abuja’’.


They, therefore, jointly prayed the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.



NHRC Chief Decries Neglect Of More Than 4,000 IDPs In Taraba

Prof. Bem Angwe, the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, (NHRC), has decried the neglect of no fewer than 4,723 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at various locations in Taraba.


A statement issued by the commission’s Deputy Director, Protection and Investigations, Mr Lambert Oparah on Sunday in Abuja, said that Angwe made this known while on an official visit in Taraba.


The statement said that Angwe described the situation in Taraba as highly deplorable and requiring urgent attention.


“Despite the fact that most of the IDPs had spent more than two years in their settlements, neither the government nor relevant agencies showed concern about their plights.


At Gullong, one of the settlements with over 259 IDPs, there were no foodstuffs, no mattresses, no security or even medical facilities for the displaced persons and their children.


The children were roaming about without any form of educational programme.


The Taraba government and relevant agencies have the obligation and responsibility to protect and provide for these people because they are Nigerian citizens,’’ the statement said.



The statement, therefore, called on the National Emergency Management Agency to take steps to rescue the situation.



Angwe promised to liaise with the Presidential Initiative on IDPs to improve the living standard of the internally displaced persons.



The statement said that Mr Nugalga Dan-Habu, the Permanent Secretary of the state’s emergency management agency, had told the visiting team that the state government was not aware of the presence of the IDPs in the state.



He, however, pledged to intimate the governor on the issue.




Lassa Fever Breaks Out In Taraba; One Dead, Two Quarantined

Barely three days into the New Year, the government of Taraba has reported an outbreak of Lassa fever in the state.


According to the Commissioner of Health, Innocent Vakkai, one person has been confirmed dead while two other people kept in for observation.

He said: “One person died and two others quarantined and their blood samples have already been taken to Irrua Specialists’ Hospital in Edo State for further confirmation.”
Vakkai however said that the state government had responded to the outbreak quickly and therefore urged the public not to panic. He explained how the fever spreads.


“People usually get infected with the Lassa Virus after exposure to infected rodents, while person to person transmission occurs through direct contact with the sick person.”


“Other precautionary measures include putting food in rodent proof containers and wearing protections such as masks, gloves, gowns among others,” he added.

The commissioner further urged anyone who witnesses nasal bleeding as well as bleeding through the anus and mouth to the nearest hospital as they are among the symptoms of the fever.



Credit : Vanguard

Taraba Guber: Ishaku Woos APC Members With Political Appointments, Urges Them To Accept His Confirmation As Governor

Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba on Sunday promised to appoint members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state into political positions.

He urged them to accept his confirmation as governor by the Court of Appeal and work with him for development of the state.

Ishaku made these remarks in Jalingo while addressing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) loyalists who congratulated him over the victory.

The court had upheld the election of Ishaku of the PDP and set aside the state Elections Petitions Tribunal declaration of Sen. Aisha Alhassan of APC as the governor.


According to him, there are “many jobs” in his government that can go round the APC members.



He noted that the series of litigations that followed the April 11, 2015, governorship election had slowed down the pace of development of the state by 30 per cent.

“I am calling on all APC members to accept this judgment and come so that we can work together for the socio-economic development of our dear state.


“Sincerely speaking, I have so many jobs to share with them. Let them come.

“My mandate is for four years but we have spent many months in the court. These litigations are not helping the state,” Ishaku said.

The governor said his immediate focus after the victory was to consolidate his effort of bringing peace and development to the state.

“I deliberately informed our supporters to celebrate our victory in confinement as against wild jubilation that could trigger violence.

“I am glad to hear from the security chiefs here that not a single person was hurt before and after the delivery of the verdict.

“My priority remains to develop the state as you can all attest to the fact that there is massive improvement in water and electricity supply in Jalingo.

“We intend to now expand our operations to other council areas, focusing more on health and education,” Ishaku said.

Earlier, the state PDP Chairman, Mr Victor Bala, said the judgment indicated that the PDP had reclaimed its mandate.



Credit :

Court Of Appeal Upholds Election Of Gov. Ishaku Of Taraba

The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Thursday declared that Gov. Darius Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was validly elected in the April gubernatorial elections in Taraba.



The appellate court set aside the Nov. 7 judgment of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal for the state which had declared Sen. Aisha Alhassan of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the election.



The court of appeal panel of five justices, presided over by Justice Abdul Aboki, held that the decision of the tribunal was a nullity.



Specifically, the appellate court said the tribunal erred in law in its decision that Ishaku was not validly nominated by his party and not qualified ab-initio to contest the April 11 governorship election.



“We have duly read the submissions made by parties to the appeal and found out that the tribunal erred in its decision.


The Electoral Act and in fact the constitution have not given such power to the tribunal to annul the victory of the appellant on the ground of improper conduct of primaries by his party.


The PDP has admitted to have sponsored the appellant in its deposition. Therefore, the argument of the APC and its candidate of non-qualification of the PDP candidate are baseless,’’ he said.



Aboki said that INEC and any aggrieved contestant in the primaries of the party were the ones that had the locus standi to challenge the conduct of the primaries.


“INEC is superintendent when it comes to issues of who is qualified to contest an election not the respondent.



Respondents have no locus standi in this matter. They cannot challenge the primaries because none of them is a member of the PDP.”



The court further held that nomination of candidate for an election was a domestic affair of a political party and the court had no jurisdiction to interfere in it.



Aboki held that the appellant met all the statutory conditions to contest the election.



“By the provision of the Electoral Act, the appellant is a citizen of Nigeria; he has attained the mandatory age of 35 years and he is a bona-fide member of a registered political party – PDP.



The appellant was sponsored by a registered political party and he has the minimum educational qualification of School Certificate or equivalent,’’ he said.



The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that four other cross-appeals filed by parties were ruled in favour of Ishaku.



In one of the cross appeals, APC contended that the PDP candidate did not score the mandatory 25 per cent in two-third of the 16 local government areas of the state.



Justice Aboki, however, dismissed the argument, holding that it was not supported by documentary evidence from the card reader used in the election.


He also held that the relief was an after thought because it was not contained in the processes filed before the tribunal.


“This appellate court will not allow any fresh matter to be introduced at this juncture. The pleading is hereby struck out for it is academic,’’ the justice said.


Speaking to newsmen after the session, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), counsel to Ishaku, expressed delight in the outcome of the appeal.


“We know right from time that injustice was done to our client by his removal by the tribunal,’’ he said.



On his part, Mr Mahmud Magaji (SAN), Counsel to Al-Hassan, said the decision would be further tested at the Supreme Court.



“We still hold that the governor was not qualified to contest that election,’’ he said.




Taraba Tribunal Ruling Will Deepen Democracy – VOTAS

The Nigerian Voters Assembly (VOTAS) has said that the recent ruling of the Taraba State election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja, will deepen the nation’s democracy.

The tribunal had declared Senator Aisha Alhassan winner of the April 11 election and ordered the removal the Taraba State governor, Darius Ishaku.
President of the group, Comrade Mashood Erubami, said the tribunal ruling validating Senator Aisha Alhassan as governor-elect of Taraba is in consonant with best standards and conforms with the Electoral Act.
“It is heart warming and timely, coming at a time when Nigerians are looking up to the judiciary to confirm its place among nations upholding the rule of law. It is worthy of note that the judgement trailed other judgements that reversed elections results to rightful winners against those that INEC had earlier declared as witnessed in Rivers and Akwa Ibom States”, he said.
He added: “The number and nature of elections results upheld and reversed is a confirmation that there is new re-orientation among the judges and lots of them are now judging according to law and their consciences. The judgement so far has shown that some of the judgements of the past were not independently delivered and that not all those who were declared winners deserved it”.
Erubami said the judgement affirmed the need for political parties to always adhere to the provisions of the Electoral Act and also revealed that INEC did not perform its duty in respect of party nomination and sponsorship of candidate.
“It INEC had done its job, the sacked governor should have been stopped before the election on the basis of qualification as enshrined in Section 85 and 87 of the Electoral Act. The judgement cleared all doubts and was not in my opinion shrouded in any mysterious declaration that can stand against it at the Appeal, more so, when the issues of jurisdiction and petitioner locus standi have been dismissed by the tribunal at the early stage before the judgement.”

Group Calls For Calm In Taraba Over Tribunal Verdict On Governorship Poll

The Taraba Volunteer Group, a pressure group, has urged residents of the state to shun violence and allow the judiciary handle the tribunal verdict on the election of Gov. Darius Ishaku.


Mr Joseph Terence, the Coordinator of the group, made the appeal at a news conference in Jalingo on Friday.
Terence said the call had become necessary following the outbreak of violence in Wukari, Taraba, over the verdict.


The coordinator said the group believed that a higher court would reverse the judgment of the Taraba Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which nullified the victory of Ishaku of PDP and declared Aisha Alhassan of APC winner.


“We want Taraba people to remain calm and law-abiding despite the tribunal’s ruling. We believe that the appellate court will reverse the ruling because Sen. Alhassan in her petition to the tribunal acknowledged the fact that Ishaku is a member of the PDP and was sponsored by the party,’’ he said.


He urged Ishaku not to be discouraged by the judgment but to concentrate on his efforts to restore permanent peace in the state.



#KakandaTemple: The Gravity of Taraba’s Political Plagiarism




suntai-return“A matter that becomes clear ceases to concern us.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Nigeria must be the only theatre on earth where performers are born with awareness of their roles in every act and scene of our unending plays; we grow up in a segregated theatre in which our understanding of tragedy is any scene that entertains just a section of the audience. Every character is in a way flat, every action is predictable but the denouements still manage to leave you heartbroken, on realising that these comedies are actually based on you, your realities, your shame.

Our stories no longer shock the attentive audience, always being plagiarised versions of previously “enjoyed” tragedies as they are. I think our stories just embarrass the critics, and make them even pity the cast involved in the acts of rubbishing the intelligence of the easily dazzled or hoodwinked members of the audience who follow every play in expectations of a cliched entertainment or tragedy. Our inauthenticity is not forgivable, which is why critics are already questioning the imitation of the late President Umar Musa Yar’adua’s story by the people of Taraba State.

Our plays refuse to evolve because the motto of this big theatre called Nigeria is “That Which Provokes you, Pleases Another”, and this sensitivity to performing for a polarised audience encourages political plagiarism. Every performer knows that inside this dark theatre, among the gullible audience, are those whose only criteria for rating excellence are the religion, ethnicity, region and even affluence of the performers. Once the performer is of our ethnic descent or regional extraction or religious belief, his flaws are overlooked because every section of the audience wants members of his group to dominate the stage. We have been witnesses to near academic approvals of plagiarism by a section of this audience, only because it pleases them, only because whatever provokes the others is a victory!

This dangerous division was at its peak when the late Yar’adua, from whose history Governor Suntai’s people stole their script, was lying unconscious in a hospital bed overseas. Yar’adua, a Muslim, Hausa Fulani and northerner was not wanted out of the political stage by a section of the audience who share at least a background with him. This dangerous division was also at its peak on the passing of Kaduna State’s Governor Patrick Yakowa. It is though not surprising that the mood of those moments were rightly plagiarised in our reactions to Governor Danbaba Suntai’s (in)capacitation. Yakowa was seen as a taboo to be a lead character in a Muslim-dominated play, just as Suntai’s deputy is also being despised by fanatical Christians who had not expected a Muslim to lead in Taraba!

These sentiments of alliance with our own dispossess us of the power to be rational and true to our conscience. This is the reason, I find the campaign by a section of the audience for immediate return of a recuperating Governor Suntai to the stage an inverted understanding of wisdom. The ongoing is actually an offshoot of the Muslim – Christian rivalry that dominates the socio-political dramas of Taraba State, a disaster largely experienced in the north-central Nigeria where the Hausa – Fulani, from their dominations and perceived posturing on the larger stage, are stereotyped as villains!

What we lose in our chase of the sentimental is a fact that our trouble in this theatre is merely our ignorance of Nigeria’s stagecraft. Our trouble is neither the Hausa Fulani or Muslim nor the Christian reactionaries who are needlessly quick to shout “marginalisation” and condemn an entire people for a crime of its elite. Yes, our people are being deceived and shown that the villains are those who possess and portray any identity different from ours. No, the actual villains are those who edit a perfect script to favour their ends, those who seek to entertain just a section of the audience. Like an Alhaji Sulaiman who whips up sentiments to score a political goal even when his performance is terrible, like a Reverend Solomon who edits his script to highlight the villainy of the Muslim in order to be seen as the emancipator of a “marginalised” Christian community. But that’s just how the political elite manage the stage, to keep the audience quiet on their flaws. Political elitism is a very dangerous form of gangsterism, where the main interests are the gains of the members, where religious and ethnic badges which are worn for electoral or communal supports are dropped to conveniently share booty.

The Suntai Cabal correctly plagiarised Yar’adua’s in abiding to our motto and gullibility. Because, here is a theatre where every crime has its supporters packed in sections labelled “Church” and “Mosque”, counting beads of sentiments to perpetuate selfish interests. Sadly, the sentiments are vain because respective localities wouldn’t have been a hub of poverty, destitution and unemployment if the elite are actually on stage to impress us. Their dramas are distractions, and because we refuse to harmonise our criticisms, similar scripts are being interpreted anew to dare our provocations. We have been seated too long in this theatre, we fail to gauge the gravity of Suntai’s plagiarism. The play being directed by a Cabal in Taraba reveals that our Constitution is just a collation of rhetoric on the shelves of lawyers, which allows the offending people to refuse to leave the stage even when the curtain is drawn.

This desperation indeed confirms that the stage is a goldmine for which death itself must be outsmarted, and this makes it more difficult for a section of this theatre to empathise with the ailing Returnee. We must understand that this theatre is nobody’s family property and that unless the provoked and the pleased sections of the audience realise that the performers are simply there for their selfish interests, this plagiarism will become a script for every unfortunate actor in this compartment of “Fresh Air”. May God save us from us!

By Gimba Kakanda

@gimbakakanda (On Twitter)