From Akinwale Gang, Abuja
The sudden disappearance of Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State has attracted serious questions from prominent indigenes of the state who have demanded to officially know his whereabouts from the Deputy Governor, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi.
In a letter dated 8th January 2013 and signed by prominent aides and close associates of the former Governors Okwesilieze Nwodo and Chimaroke Nnamani; leaders of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) and other top members of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, they asked if it was constitutionally right for Chime to handover to an acting administration in perpetuity.
Addressed to the Acting and Deputy Governor, Onyebuchi, through the Secretary of the State Government (SSG), the group, which calls itself, Save Enugu Group (SEG) have also made several demands, among which is the immediate constitution of a delegation which should include eminent Enugu state sons and daughters, to visit Chime wherever he is and ascertain his state of health.
Titled “Prolonged and Unexplained Absence of His Excellency, Sullivan Chime, Governor, Enugu State”, they maintained that they mean well for both the state and the Government but wrote the letter “out of deep concern for our state”.
Specifically signed by Chief Maxi Okwu, Ozo Igbonekwu Ogazimorah, Chief Willy Ezugwu, Comrade Ibuchukwu Ezike, Comrade Victor Eneh, Barr. Ray Nnaji, the letter stated: “Today makes it 110 days since our great Governor was last seen in public. It is in the public domain that our Governor, His Excellency Sullivan Iheanacho Chime was last cited in public on 19th September 2012. Since then sightings and near sightings of him have been reported which all turned out to be a hoax.
“This unsavory state of affairs has created a thriving mill of idle gossipers who speculate on his whereabouts and state of health. These rumors have ranged from the insensitive to the ludicrous.
“Matters got to a head on the 15th day of December 2012, the day of the fatal air disaster in Bayelsa state that claimed the lives of Governor Yakowa of Kaduna State and General Azazi , when the national media was rent with the news also of the death of our Governor.
“On at least two occasions the Commissioner of Information Enugu State in the person of Mr. Chuks Ngwoke has come out with an official statement on the status of the governor.
“Essentially it was stated that His Excellency was quietly enjoying his holiday and accumulated leave, or that he would be in office shortly. These conflicting accounts merely served to exacerbate rather than ameliorate the situation.
“We are also told that at the time of his disappearance from public view, His Excellency as required by section 190 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), duly handed over to the Deputy Governor.
“We must bring to your notice that the public is awash with accounts of the inability of the Acting Governor to discharge his mandate under the Constitution as a cabal of unelected officers have rendered his authority useless. We therefore most humbly submit that this is a most untidy state of affairs.
“At this juncture we make bold to ask: Can the Governor hand over and create an acting administration in perpetuity? What is the duration of annual leave for the Governor; where is His Excellency, Governor Sullivan Chime”?
They SEG also asked the state government to “make a categorical explanation on the whereabouts and status of our Governor His Excellency Sullivan Iheanacho Chime”.
They also insisted that a delegation comprising of “eminent Enugu state sons and daughters like, His grace Bishop Callistus Onaga Catholic Bishop of Enugu, Rev. Hyde Onuauluchi, Prof. Bath Nnaji, Igwe Paul Egbogu, Chief Mrs Grace Obayi, Chief Nduka Eya, Secretary General Ohaneze Ndi-Igbo; Dr. Louis Anya Chukwuma, etc, should be put together to pay a visit to the Governor wherever he is, and report back to the good people of Enugu state”.
Since the Governor left public scene, there have been palpable anxiety pervading the state, made worse by conflicting and disturbing information from the government and rumour flying in on the Governor’s state of health, especially through the social media.