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For How Long Shall Umar Garba Act?


To start with, a quick look at the personality of Umar Garba would be

necessary in this context, for the sole purpose of achieving an

unhindered comprehension of the intent of this treatise.

Alhaji Garba Umar is the deputy governor of Taraba state by virtue of

the constitutional provisions that brought him to office. He is also

by streak of providence, the Acting governor of the selfsame state. On

assumption of office, after, of course, their mandatory double-ticket

victory at the polls, while His Excellency, Mr. Danbaba Suntai, swore

to the oath of governor, His Excellency, Alhaji Umar took allegiance

to serve as his deputy. This status he maintained until the events of

time foisted on him with the demand to step into his master's shoes,

in acting capacity.
Remarkably, Taraba was, for sometimes ago a view-point within the

political radar range; albeit, in an manner infamous, which now

appears to have been suddenly prodded back into the realm of oblivion.

It was during the period following the narrow-escape of the governor

from the snare that had been presented in the toga of an air-mishap.

This news was given heightened focused; further fueling the hysteric

concern that had soared following what seemed like an onslaught- the

continuous involvement of high-profile political figures in crashes.

The botched casualty had involved the private plane of Mr. Suntai,

which he was in-charge as pilot. This incidence had occurred on the

16th of October, 2013, when he was on his way to Yola for the Sallah

It was recorded of how he miraculously survived the carnage that left

him and some of his aids fatally injured and of how, after several

dependence on domestic medical expertise, he was ferried away on

medical tourism in far-away Germany for improved and a more efficient

attention. Through the effectiveness of the process of news

transmission, also, we were inundated of the circumstances that

surrounded his health: of the disorders-arising from the impact of

that near-miss; the fast one he pulled out at death, of his gradual

recuperation and the eventual acquisition of stability.

The whole routine-design had culminated in his eventual journey back

home to the apprehensive people of his state nay Nigerian; and of

course his taking back his estranged position.
The dramas that ensued are now history just as the subsisting

situations that exist in Taraba state have dramatically worn subtlety.

Many are gradually loosing sight of the reality that exists in that

state, whose leadership inebriation was thrown to light. Many more

have forgotten that the same cry that was raised long ago still

reverberates, suppressed.
When Suntai was flown home after his short medical voyage abroad, many

were of the view that he had regained stability and was ready to

resume the functions of his office. The beleaguered people of Taraba

state had expressed ecstatic joy that their elected chief executive

was back for good.
However, that was not to be after several months; the only thing

howled at the face of the citizens were political wrangling of claims

and counter-claims. Like a blown out fire, the issue of resumption and

the excitement that attended it made a sharp recluse. The status quo

was maintained; Garba held still as Acting Governor, while, as far as

is known, the 'governor' remains nondescript, neither this nor that.

Lest we forget, the political headship in Taraba state is still

indeterminate and remains unclear. No doubt, our nation is under a

more boisterous threat and dread-of Boko Haram and that of having to

confront its swelling insurrection. But that on its own is merely

another side in the truth that's the cauldron of our conundrum.

Hence, we must also not forget that some people, somewhere, live in a

state of undefined leadership; of latent tension. The truth being that

there is still a pervasive constitutional lacuna yet to be

appropriately filled in Taraba state and one that could serve as

springboard for crisis; owing to the inherent volatility. That too

calls for concern.
We know the implications this could make out, though we may try to sit

on it. No matter how we play with it and regardless of what might be

the surreptitious motive that could be sought out therefrom, we should

not forget that it is an injustice that is yet to be placated, a

genuine raisin-d'tere for political explosives.
The theatrical maneuver subtly drawn to hold down the unmitigated

expression of the rule of law is making a complete disconnect of the

state from the full vintage of constitutional democracy as presently

cherished by our country. It is one devious gimmick that has continued

pry on and make mockery of, not only the intelligence of the people of

Taraba but on that of the knowledgeable citizens of this nation.

Nevertheless, in the midst of the mooching political jiggery-poggery

that has left even the people of this state so hoodwinked, the reality

of the prevailing circumstance yanks open some salient questions that

could not be downed. Amongst which are:
1. Whether it is a scenario recognized and sanctioned by the

constitution as appropriate, prudent and judicious for there to be an

Acting Governor when, at the same time, the Governor is present, sound

and capable? For so we were led to believe Suntai is when he was

hurriedly returned home and stage-managed to make a video-clip of his

readiness, just, supposedly, to subvert any attempt to

'constitutionally and legally usurp his position'?

2. If truly the governor is around and capable of exercising the

responsibilities of his office, what has being the bottleneck

mitigating his rightful resumption of his legitimate office for almost

a year of his return?
3. Or is he not fully recovered as to take over his function as

governor, hence the surreptitious wait for such?
4. If that be the case, why was he smuggled home at the detriment of

his more important personal health?
5. Or was it to beat the constitutionally stipulated time frame for

which his absence should necessitate the engineering of proceedings

that would see him abdicate his office to concentrate on reviving his

deprecated body?
6. Even if that was the reason, of what difference is the impact since

for all the while he's being around, no significant change has been

effected-the status quo ante lingers.
7. Should that be a clue to suggest that His Excellency is truly

nothing but incapable of doing what he was elected to do?

8. And if so, how long will his condition subsist to stir up the

constitutional requirements necessary for such state the political

environment in Taraba has become enmeshed in?
9. For how long shall the deputy governor in whose head is required to

contain such lacuna as reflected in the constitution, at moments like

this, act?
10. For how long shall the governor be, by whatsoever means, placed

out of office before the acting governor who, was, as a matter of fact

required to act temporarily pending the return of his boss, be

certified to take over from this boss, if such condition to he's being

subjected subsists and that ipso facto, indicates the permanence of

his incapacitation? Is it six months, a year?
The governor's inability to show forth, for whatsoever reason, has far

exceeded these limits. It has lingered beyond the constitutional

timeline. It has effused a state of limbo in leadership and slowed

down governance.
Hence, the call becomes aptly urgent, in the interest of peace, for

the Taraba State House of Assembly, the relevant quarter vested with

the powers to navigate the course in comatose moments like this to do

the needful; in restoring the stood-over justice to the denied party

and to the good people of Taraba state.
Thus, if Suntai is sound to resume duty, he should, without further

delay, be reinstated to his stead to continue his pact with his

subjects. But, if, however, the facts on ground point to the contrary,

the next apropos move should be taken, also forthwith-and that is the

commencement of impeachment proceedings as stipulated in the

provisions of Section 189 of the 1999 Constitution, to pave way for

Umar to be made the governor, in a full and substantive capacity.

The mooching cannot continue; it certainly will not do our democracy

any good. We were all witnesses of the hues that attended the

incapacitation of the late Yar'adua and how the cabal had stealthily

orchestrated their diabolic agenda of holding this nation to the

jugular by obtruding the established process needed to transmit power

to a more capable hand. We have not forgotten the struggle that

effected the 'Doctrine of Necessity' which ensured that then Vice

President Goodluck Jonathan was made the Acting President. These are

still fresh memories.
Subsequently, and without swaying into cognitive slumber, we should

not in the least be unmindful of the fact that the scene playing out

in Taraba is a repetition of that national tragicomedy; if not with a

reinforced deceit; and in such manner evoke the same resilience and

defiance that exposed and eventfully whittled the craftiness of the

enemies of our democracy.
Ahanonu Kingsley,