Barring last minute changes, ailing Taraba State Governor Danbaba Suntai will be flown back from Germany on January 15, a source close to his cabinet disclosed yesterday.
The source said though the German doctors handling the governor had warned that the planned trip could be detrimental to his healing process, close associates of Suntai, who are determined to make him make an appearance in Jalingo, have told the doctors that they will employ the service of an air ambulance.
Governor Suntai is recuperating in a German hospital after a plane crash on October 25 near Yola Adamawa State.
Just last week, family friends of the governor circulated some pictures showing him and his wife, Hauwa, holding their newly born twins and a family friend.
The pictures were apparently to show how well the governor is recuperating but they also elicited controversy because of Suntai’s posture in the photographs.
Suntai’s deputy, Garba Umar, was sworn in as acting governor on November 15, but he will continue to act in that position unless his boss is officially declared incapacitated by the state cabinet, all of whom were appointed by the ailing governor.
The sources who said that the arrangement to fly the governor into Nigeria is on top gear, also disclosed that there is a division among the governor’s associates on the planned trip on January 15 due to the advice of the German doctors.
"Some associates are urging the others to postpone the trip until the first week of February. However it is decided, they will still have to use an air ambulance," the source said.
Taraba state commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, Emmanuel Bello confirmed that the governor will be coming back anytime soon, but did not give specific date.
Bello said the governor is responding very well to treatment and should be able to come back soon, once the German doctors find him fit to undertake the journey.
When asked if the governor will come back straight to Jalingo and resume office or will continue treatment at another medical facility in Nigeria, he said he was not competent to comment on that.
Bello said he spoke with the governor on phone last Sunday and he sounded good, pointing out that the governor was not under pressure to resume work so those politicians saying Taraba State government officials are playing politics with his return are not serious.