As previously reported by SaharaReporters, the brain-damaged governor of Taraba State, Danbaba Suntai, left New York today on his way back to Abuja, Nigeria. He travelled on a private jet with his younger brother, a Nigeria senator, and some officials of the Nigerian High Commission in New York and two medics.
SaharaReporters could not ascertain the exact time the ailing governor departed the United States, but reliable sources said he travelled aboard a jet equipped to handle medical emergencies. The jet will refuel in Dakar, Senegal, before flying to Abuja to arrive at about 9:00 am on Sunday morning.
Presidency sources said Mr. Suntai will neither address the press nor meet with anyone publicly at the international airport in Abuja before flying on another jet to Jalingo, the Taraba State capital.
Observers say this confirms that the ailing governor, who suffers memory lapses and cannot speak coherently, will be heavily shielded from the public and the media.
Upon his arrival in Jalingo, Mr. Suntai will be flown directly to Government House in a private helicopter he owns.
Under a plan hatched between Mrs. Suntai, Senator Bwacha and Plateau State governor Jonah Jang, Mr. Suntai is expected to send a letter to the State Assembly asking for a prolonged leave from office.
His loyalists calculate that after Suntai is seen signing the letter under the ruse of being in full health, theoretically ensuring his continuation in office as governor, he will return to the United States to continue his rehabilitation.
With that done, the current acting Governor will be made to revert to his position as Deputy Governor while Mr. Suntai’s associates will run the state and take decisions on his behalf, including signing documents by which the sacking of commissioners by the acting governor will be reversed.
As has been consistently reported by SaharaReporters, Mr. Suntai’s brain injuries from his October 2012 air crash, which were treated in Germany before he was evacuated to the United States, need constant expert care but he has made very little progress. His wife, closest aides and supporters have refused to admit the governor’s incapacitation, and therefore prevented his deputy from assuming power as substantive governor.
Analysts point to similarities in the drama at the federal level during tenure of late president Umaru Yar’Adua when a corrupt cabal led by his wife held Nigeria hostage as he lay dying in a Saudi Arabian hospital.