Taraba governor, Suntai, discharged from US hospital


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Months of uncertainty, intrigues and speculations concerning the status of the Taraba State Governor, Danbaba Suntai are about coming to an end as he has been discharged from the Intensive Care Unit of the John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, USA where he has been receiving treatment for injuries he sustained in a plane crash in October 2012.

Suntai, who was injured in the crash together with some of his aides, was first taken to Germany for treatment before being transferred to the USA three months ago, has been moved to his residence in New York and would soon be able to return to Nigeria once it is confirmed he can undergo a long-distance flight, according to one of his personal doctors, Dr Andrew Smith.

His wife, Hajia Hauwa Suntai and their children were already in the house. Apart from them, a top delegation from the state comprising a member representing Taraba State at the House of Representatives, Hon Haruna Manu, member of the State House of Assembly, Hon Mark Useni, former Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon Abel Peter Diah and Hon Rebo Usman.

Shortly after the correspondent was introduced at the residence, the governor confirmed that he was medically okay and asked the people around him if he looked like someone who suffered from memory loss.

When Dr Smith was pressed to speak on the governor’s health issues, he declined to speak further on the governor’s health issues, saying it would not be wise for the governor to start talking on the incident since he has just been discharged from the hospital.

He said the governor should be allowed time to rest before being asked to narrate his ordeal.

Smith hinted that plans to make him return back to Nigeria were ongoing, but promised that the governor would speak intensively with our correspondent sometimes week before a date is finally fixed for his return back to Nigeria.

Asked if the governor was fit to walk around as part of the things required of him to function as a state governor, the doctor said “yes” and asked if the delegation from Taraba State could stand up with the governor for a photograph, an idea that was adopted to show his fitness.

The doctor also dismissed the rumour that Governor Suntai was having memory loss, saying that his client was very conscious and could see, stand, eat and recognise all the people around him by their names.

Asked why the governor was not allowed to go to Nigeria immediately he was discharged, the doctor said that the idea would be unwise, stressing that it was normal to let him stay in his house in New York for a little while so as to allow the medical team access to monitor him to be sure that he could undergo a long distance flight.

When asked by our correspondent about the other ailments that were reportedly discovered in Governor Suntai when he was brought to John Hopkins hospital in March, Smith confirmed the report but said that none of the ailments was terminal as reported.

He said the governor did not have any terminal disease as reported by some newspapers, adding that all other ailments discovered in the governor’s system were the first to be tackled by the medical team when he was brought to the hospital.

The doctor pressed further that the other ailments which had been cured over two months ago were normal ailments that any human being could have. “They were not as serious as reported. They were not serious ailments anyway and they have been cured,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the wife of the governor, Hajia Hauwa Suntai, said that all she could say was to thank God for bringing her husband back to life, having undergone very serious pains both in hospitals in Nigeria, Germany and the United States.

Saying that the Suntai’s family had nothing to hide about her husband’s health, the Taraba first lady said that her door was opened to anybody who wished to come and see the governor’s present health situation at any time.

Hauwa also confirmed it to our correspondent that plans to have the governor return back to Nigeria were in a top gear, just as she promised that she and her husband would speak with the press at the right time.

It would be recalled that Governor Danbaba Fulani Suntai had on the 25th October, 2012, involved in a plane crash which left him and some of his aides critically injured in Taraba state.

After spending some days in a hospital in Nigeria, he was flown to Germany for proper medical attentions where he spent almost five months before being moved to John Hopkins University Hospital in the State of Maryland towards the end of March, 2013.

During these periods, there were different reports saying that the governor had been permanently incapacitated. Another report said that the governor was having terminal diseases while some said that he was suffering from memory loss.

Mewnwhile, the acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, has said he cannot tell when Gov. Suntai will return to the state, saying only the medical experts at John Hopkins hospital could tell.


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