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Nigerians in History: Danbaba Suntai

 

Danbaba Danfulani Suntai was born on the 30th of June 1961. He was a Nigerian pharmacist and politician. He was elected as Executive Governor of Taraba State, Nigeria running for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in April 2007, and was sworn in on 29 May 2007. He ran successfully for reelection on 26 April 2011.


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Background

Danbaba Danfulani Suntai was born on 30 June 1961 at Suntai Town in Bali Local Government Area of Taraba State. He attended Federal Government College, Kano (1975–1980) and the School of Basic Studies at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1980–1981). He was admitted to Ahmadu Bello University where he read Pharmacy and graduated in 1984. He did his internship at Yola Specialist Hospital and his National Youth Service at the State Hospital, Ijaiye, Abeokuta, Ogun State (1985–1986). He then worked at the General Hospital, Ganye in old Gongola State until 1991.

Early political career

Danbaba Suntai was elected Chairman of Bali Local Government (1989–1993). Joining the Taraba State civil service, he was Director-General of the Taraba State Ministry of Agriculture and National Resources (1994–1996). In the 1999 elections, he was State chairman of the All People’s Party (APP), when the PDP narrowly defeated the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP). In 2000, he became Chairman of Taraba State Investment and Properties Ltd. He was appointed Commissioner of the Ministry of Education (2000–2003), and worked at the Ministry of Health (2003–2005) before becoming Secretary to the Taraba State Government (2005–2007).


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Suntai: Governor of Taraba State in Nigeria

In the run-up to the 2007 elections, Danladi Baido won the PDP gubernatorial primaries but was later disqualified. Two months before the election the PDP national secretariat replaced Baido with Danbaba Suntai, who did not participate in the primaries. Baido went ahead and lent his support to Suntai, and in April 2007, Suntai won election as Governor of Taraba State. After the elections, relations between Suntai and Baido soured. The unsuccessful Action Congress candidate challenged the switch of PDP candidates and in February 2008 Baido joined this suit. In February 2009, Danladi Baido petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro over alleged SMS messages from Danbaba Suntai threatening to harm him and his family if he continued to appeal the election. In June 2009, Baido claimed that an attempt had been made to assassinate him, linking the incident to the alleged threats.

During his tenure as governor, Danbaba Suntai made efforts to fight corruption, crime and lack of discipline, while delegating authority and providing funds to the Local Government Areas. In October 2009, Suntai said he strongly supported religious and moral teaching aimed at reducing juvenile delinquency, crime and other vices. He said his administration was strongly behind both the Christian and Islamic faiths since both religions teach peace, love and unity. He initiated reforms to make local government administration more transparent. Among other effects, the monthly pension bill dropped from N33 million to N22 million, while pensioners began getting more regular payments. In November 2009 Danbaba Suntai commissioned a N540 million computerized stone-crushing and asphalt plant to provide road building materials. The plant was constructed by the state government but to be operated on a full commercial basis.

Suntai ran successfully for reelection on 26 April 2011. On Oct 25 2012, an aircraft he was piloting crashed near Yola airport. He survived the crashed but was left with serious health challenges.

Suntai died at his home on 28 June 2017.

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/

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Jeremiah Aluwong

Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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