Chime’s Health: Mum is the Word

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Aides of governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State are still not forthcoming with information on the true state of his health even as activities of government are winding down

|  Anayo Ezugwu  |  Dec. 24, 2012 @ 01:00 GMT

THE prolonged absence of Sullivan Chime, governor of Enugu State, from his duty post, has paralysed governance in Enugu State. That is not all. His long vacation abroad has also caused hardship for civil servants, who for three months, have not been paid their salaries. Consequently, government activities in the state have virtually collapsed.

Civil servants are complaining that the non-payment of their salaries as Christmas and New Year festivities are fast approaching has put them in an embarrassing situation. The non-payment was caused by the directives of Chime that his deputy should not approve any amount above N500, 000 no matter the circumstances.

One of the civil servants said that since Chime travelled out, government has not paid them any salary. “Since the governor travelled, nobody has paid us our salary and the festive period is by the corner. We learnt that the acting governor has an approval limit of N500, 000,” the source said.

Sources in Enugu said there were indications that the governor might not return to the country till the middle of January 2013, and he might not resume work immediately on his return as the possibility of quick recovery is very remote. “There are speculations he is critically ill, and may not return soon, while some are saying he is getting better. No one is sure and his aides allow people to speculate over his health condition. Even if the governor is sick, what is wrong in telling the people that he has extended his vacation due to health issues? The news of a performing governor’s ill health will win more sympathy of the citizenry for the governor, more than ever before” he said.

But the chief press secretary to the governor disputes the claims. He said all the contracts awarded by the governor before he travelled were still on-going and that the state does not owe any of its workers. “We want to reaffirm that the Sullivan Chime administration will continue to promote freedom of expression while also maintaining its cherished reputation of civility and accommodation of all shades of opinion, including constructive criticisms from the media and other quarters. Also, we do not owe workers,” he said.

The whereabouts of Chime is now a topical issue in the state. The governor was said to have been on vacation but he has exceeded the minimum 65 days required by the constitution. There is no sign that he would come back soon and the State House of Assembly is doing nothing over his vacation extension. Instead of doing their jobs, members of the State House of Assembly are junketing abroad on vacation. The lawmakers went on vacation because some principal officers in the state loyal to the governor planned for it to avert a situation where they might have to sit and impeach him. So far, his media aides are not forthcoming with any information on the true state of his health.

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