Danbaba Suntai: The 2nd Executive Governor of Taraba State

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Danbaba Suntai (30 June 1961 – 28 June 2017) was a Nigerian pharmacist, astute politician, Pilot, and distinguished Abusite who served as the Executive Governor of Taraba State from 2007 to 2015.

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 to 1980).

Danbaba Suntai
Danbaba Danfulani Suntai

He was at the School of Basic Studies at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria from 1980 to 1981, and thereafter 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 to 1986). He then worked at the General Hospital, Ganye in old Gongola State until 1991.

Danbaba Suntai joined politics and was elected Chairman of Bali Local Government serving from 1989 to 1993. Joining the Taraba State civil service, he was Director-General of the Taraba State Ministry of Agriculture and National Resources (1994 to 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 to 2003) and worked at the Ministry of Health (2003 to 2005) before becoming Secretary to the Taraba State Government (2005 to 2007).

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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 had not stood in the primaries.

Baido lent his support to Suntai, and in April 2007 Suntai won the election as Governor of Taraba State.

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 an 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 fully commercial basis.

Suntai ran successfully for reelection on 26 April 2011. On Oct 25th, 2012, he was piloting a Cessna 208 and crashed near Yola Airport while on final approach. He survived the crash but became incapacitated due to the head injuries he sustained during the crash.

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Suntai died at his home on 28 June 2017 leaving behind his wife, the former First Lady of Taraba State (2007 – 2015), Mrs. Hauwa D. Suntai, and children.

Danbaba Suntai giving back to his alma mater

Danbaba Suntai never forgot his alma mater even after having attained enviable height in his career and politics. He was constantly giving back in appreciation of the institution that groomed him.

A good example happened on Saturday, 29th May 2008, when the Ahmadu Bello University Pharmacy Alumni Association (ABUPAA) organized the 2008 Homecoming Fund Raising and the 2nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association.

Gabriel Osuide Lecture Theatre (GOLT I and II).
Gabriel Osuide Lecture Theatre (GOLT I and II).
Gabriel Osuide Lecture Theatre (GOLT I and II).
Gabriel Osuide Lecture Theatre (GOLT I and II).

The event took place at the Pa Ishaku Lecture Theatre, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, ABU, Zaria, and His Excellency Danbaba Suntai was invited as the Special Guest of Honour with a former Dean of the faculty, Professor Gabriel E. Osuide as the Chairman of the occasion.

Four (4) projects were carefully selected by the NEC of the ABUPAA and laid on the table during the Opening Ceremony for funding. Governor Danbaba Suntai picked the twin 250-Seater Lecture Theatre project for implementation and said it should be named after Professor Gabriel Osuide, the foundation Dean of the Faculty and a father to all pharmacy graduates in the North.

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Professor Gabriel E. Osuide was to later serve ABU, Zaria as Dean, Postgraduate School; Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC), and Acting Vice-Chancellor during his 18 years serving in the great University from 1970 to 1988.

The Pa Ishaku Lecture Theatre jammed packed with members of the ABUPAA from all parts of the country erupted into a frenzy. Some shed tears for the well-deserved immortalization of Professor Osuide by Danbaba Suntai.

Work began in November 2008 and on Saturday, 15th October 2011, the twin 250 – Seater Capacity Lecture Theatre named Gabriel Osuide Lecture Theatre (GOLT I and II) was commissioned by Danbaba Suntai, the Governor of Tabara State who built and donated the edifice to the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences under the auspices of the ABU Alumni Association.

The very solid edifice gulped N300 million (Three hundred Million Naira only) and to date is the largest single intervention initiated and implemented by any Alumnus of ABU, Zaria outside of TETFund, CBN, and NNPC interventions.

All the former Deans of the Faculty were in attendance including the then Vice-Chancellor of ABU Professor Abdullahi Mustapha (2010 – 2015) and who served as Dean of the Faculty from 1986 – to 1988. Professor Mustapha was a student of Professor Osuide.

ABU, Zaria, and especially the Faculty cannot forget Danbaba Suntai for his passion for his Faculty and the University generally.

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Chila Andrew Aondofa

Founder/Team lead at TheAbusite.com | Abusite | Entrepreneur | Activist | Humanitarian | All Inquiries to info@theabusites.com. SMS/WhatsApp +2349015751816

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