Tears of joy flowed freely yesterday as recovering Taraba State Governor, Danbaba Suntai said he believes his successor will do better in office than what he has been able for the state and people of Taraba.
Suntai, who spoke at the Unity Chapel, Government House, Jalingo, at a church service to commemorate Christmas day, also asked for forgiveness from anyone he has offended, saying it was not deliberate.
His words: “To the ones that I have touched their lives, I thank God. To those I have not been able to touch their lives I am pleading that they should be patient with me. And if I am not able to impact on your life throughout my tenures, my successor would do that.
“As a human, I have my own limitations, but I believe that God will give us a successor that will perform better than me.
“For me, I cannot do more than what I can do, because that is the strength and wisdom God has given me”, he said.
The governor added that he would remain forever grateful for the mandate given him to serve the state as governor.
He said: “I want to apologise if I have wronged anyone of you. It is not my intention to offend anybody”.
He also expressed gratitude to the people who have stood by him during what he called “trying times” and asked them to continue praying for him even when he would have left office as governor.
Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, representing Taraba South Senatorial District in the upper legislative chamber, like others present at the church service, was moved to tears as the governor spoke.
Suntai, who wished the people happy Christmas celebration, said he is aware that some people were now being persecuted because they are supporting him. He, however, asked them to remain patient because they would soon smile.
Suntai is currently locked in an intense power struggle with the acting governor of the state, Alhaji Garba Umar, who refused to revert to his original position as deputy governor when Suntai returned from a long medical sojourn abroad that spanned 10-months following injuries he sustained when a plane he flew crashed near Yola, Adamawa state capital in October last year.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, however, worked out a power sharing plan between both leaders that involved Umar continuing in acting capacity until Suntai is fully recovered to take over. The agreement also stipulates that the acting governor clears with Gov. Suntai before taking decisions on matters of state.
Former Governor Jolly Nyame, who only recently reconciled with Suntai and was at the Christmas service, declared that the governor will complete his eight years tenure and handover, because God did not destine anybody to take over his seat.
Nyame, who clocked 58-years on Christmas day, also took indirect jabs at the acting governor, describing him as a usurper and power-hungry politician.
“How can you invite someone to come and eat in your house, during the dinner, something happened and the man packed the whole food and is also trying to drive you out of the house?” Nyame said in apparent reference to Umar.
The former governor said he decided to reconcile with Suntai because he wants the right thing to be done and to be part of the historic handover.
Nyame single-handedly installed Suntai as his successor until the pair fell apart as a result of political scheming for control of state party structures.
Nyame said Suntai was strong enough to resume office as governor, adding that he (Suntai) called his (Nyame) grandson of six years old by name on Tuesday night during the Christmas carol.
Continuing, Nyame, who is a Reverend, said: “As I am here (in the church) phone calls will start coming in to know why I am here, but I will not deter in what God has asked me to do”.
Nyame also prayed that former President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan would reconcile their differences which have dominated public discourse in recent times.
“What has happened in Taraba state between me and my successor (Suntai) happened at the federal level, between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his successor, President Goodluck Jonathan”, he said.