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
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
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
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
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.