Controversy over Chime’s True Health

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Gov. Sullivan Chime
Gov. Sullivan Chime

Despite his good works and the visit of his colleagues to psyche him up in a London hospital where he is receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment, the Save Enugu Group remains unconvinced about the state of health of Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State

|  By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Feb. 11, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

ALTHOUGH Sullivan Chime, governor of Enugu State, is in hospital bed in London, his work still speaks for him at home. This is what the National Good Governance Team, which was in Enugu State, recently has discovered. The team visited Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, the dualised Enugu – Abakaliki expressway, the second Nnamdi Azikiwe Avenue, and several on-going projects.

 Sunday Onyebuchi, acting governor of the state, who led the inspection team to the project sites, said there was nothing to hide, but to show what the Chime administration had been doing to transform the state. He also urged the federal government to sustain the good governance tour to promote accountability among elected governors.

“I believe the good governance tour programme is a good one which I think should be sustained periodically. In its own way, it will make the governors of the states to know that there is a forum where they need to give an account to the people. We believe by the time we listen to you, we will be able to learn how we are doing and what we are not doing and how we can improve on what we are doing,” Onyebuchi said.

Labaran Maku inspecting a prokect at ESUT Teaching Hospital
Labaran Maku inspecting a prokect at ESUT Teaching Hospital

Labaran Maku, minister of information and leader of the team, said the tour was not a partisan exercise but a federal government programme meant for all the political parties to rub minds on how to improve on the nation’s democracy. “This tour is not about any particular political party. It is a tour made up of all the media houses here; they are not politicians. All the media houses in Nigeria are represented in this programme. The journalists are not politicians; they are media people. Even the civil society groups are all here. So they are not representing any political party. It is a media national programme that will assess our political progress frankly and sincerely,” Maku said.

But the visit of the team and the showcasing of Chime’s achievements have not calmed the agitation of the people to know the whereabouts of their governor. Save Enugu Group has given Eugene Odo, speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, a seven-day ultimatum to prove that Chime actually wrote a letter to the House.

In the letter dated January 28, the group threatened to go to court if the House failed to produce the letter. “We hereby formally demand that you make available to us a Certified True Copy, CTC, of the said letter which you claim was addressed to you by Governor Chime before he proceeded on vacation. Take further notice that should you not make available to us the CTC of the said letter seven days from the receipt of this notice, we shall be left with no other option but to seek remedies from an appropriate High Court to compel you to do so,” the group said in its letter.

The Save Enugu Group is also not convinced about the picture of the visit three state governors paid to Chime at a London hospital released to the press. It described the picture as fake and a classic replay of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s song, “government magic.” According to the group, the picture was a quick response by the state government to meet the two-week deadline given to it to reveal the location and health status of the governor. The group said: “Some of the governors shown on that picture could not have been in London on that day unless they have the gift of bi-location. Secondly, and more seriously, if governor Chime is as fit as shown, what is he still doing away from his duty post for over four months? We choose to believe that our hard working governor is not that irresponsible,” the group stated.

On its part, the state government has described the   efforts of SEG to create doubts over the authenticity of the picture as sad. Chukwudi Achife, the chief press secretary to the governor, dismissed the claims made by the group that the picture was fake, saying that it was “another desperate and futile effort to deceive the public.”

He said though the government ordinarily would not trade words with anyone, it was appalled by the group’s regrettable effort to impugn the integrity of the governors who had appeared with Chime in the picture. The controversial picture showed Chime in company of Rotimi Amaechi, Gabriel Suswan and Godswill Akpabio, governors of Rivers, Benue and Akwa Ibom states.

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