Enugu Elite Group Traces Governor Sullivan Chime To London Hospital… Wants Apology From State Government

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    An Enugu State Humanity and Justice  action organisation,  The Save Enugu Group (SEG) has confirmed that it has traced the missing governor  of the state, Sullivan Chime to a London Hospital, fuming that  stakeholders in Enugu State government circles owe the citizens of the state unreserved apology for  taking the citizens for fools.

    The group claimed that it has obtained full reports from hired private investigators who have traced governor Chime to a private Hospital in Swiss Cottage, Central London.

    The Group confirmed that : “We, on our own commissioned private investigators who tracked our Governor also to London, undergoing treatment at Metropolitan Humane Hospital Swiss cottage

    The group however  urged the  State government to ‘come clean’ on the the missing governor to tell the World about his true state and why he had been staying away from the office, betraying the trust of the electorate and still lying about the real truth.

    The group therefore requested  that the stakeholders should apologize to the people even though such apology may not be enough to rub the pains of the psychological wounds inflicted on the electorates .

    In a statement, the group said that when it first wrote to Acting Governor Sunday Onyebuchi on January 7, it was inspired by the necessity to lift without delay the mystery surrounding the governor’s absence.

    “The second letter dated 16th January 2013, was triggered by the news break from Sahara reporters that our Governor had been discovered ailing in London,” the statement said.  “We, on our own commissioned private investigators who tracked our Governor also to London, undergoing treatment at Metropolitan Humane Hospital Swiss cottage.”

    The group said it recommended a public broadcast by the Acting Governor to the people of Enugu State to clear the air, since the spin from government circles had been that Governor Chime was on vacation enjoying his accumulated leave.

    “We demanded inter alia that the government tenders apology to the people for all the lies and falsehood, sanction all errant officials involved in this falsehood, and organize through the agency of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), seven days of prayers and fasting for the quick recovery of our ailing Governor.”

    To that demand, the government did not respond either, the group said, noting that there however emerged rumours of the hijack of the machinery of the government of Enugu state by “a cabal referred to by Thisday newspapers as G-5, which had practically rendered the Acting Governor a ceremonial Governor.”

    SEG recalled that on January 21, it then wrote to the Speaker of the House of Assembly demanding confirmation or denial that a letter was addressed to him by Governor Chime as required by section 190 of the Constitution, and whether the said letter was tabled and read at an open session of the House.
    “As if carefully choreographed, the government of Enugu State on 22nd January 2013, released some pictures said to be taken that day showing our Governor with a delegation of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), who had gone to London to visit with him.”
    SEG said it reached the conclusion that that picture, purportedly taken on January 22, is fake.

    “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,” the statement said.

    “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?”

    It said that contrary to the efforts of the government and its sympathizers or agents to misconstrue their campaign and engage in name calling or labeling, the group does not wish Governor Chime dead or evil.

    “The issue here again is not about the peace of Enugu State or that government is working. It all comes down to the right of a people to know what their leaders are up to and how they are deploying tax payers’ money. It’s the issue of due process and transparency in governance; democratic engagement under the rule of law and constitutionalism.”

    Full text of the statement by Save Enugu Group: The Chime Saga; Our Case And Stand –Save Enugu Group

    When on the 7th of January 2013 we wrote to the Acting Governor of Enugu State, Mr Sunday Onyebuchi and copied the Speaker of the State House of assembly, we were inspired by the best of intentions. We sincerely believed that the mystery surrounding the prolonged absence, which was one hundred and twelve days on that day, of our dear Governor H.E. Sullivan Iheanacho Chime should be lifted without further delay.

    The gist of that letter was that the question, where is Governor Chime should be answered by the Enugu State Government within two weeks. To facilitate this query we proposed that the state government should constitute a delegation of eminent sons and daughters of the state to seek out the Governor and verify his status and report back to the people of Enugu state. We made this proposal in the light of the loss of confidence in the excuses and spin emanating from government information mangers. The government response was to bad mouth us and question our motives.

    The second letter dated 16th January 2013, was triggered by the news break from Sahara reporters that our Governor had been discovered ailing in London. We, on our own commissioned private investigators who tracked our Governor also to London, undergoing treatment at Metropolitan Humane Hospital Swiss cottage.

    In the said letter, we recommended a public broadcast by the Acting Governor to the people of Enugu State clearing the air, since up to that moment the spin from government circles was that Governor Chime was on vacation enjoying his accumulated leave. We demanded inter alia that the government tenders apology to the people for all the lies and falsehood, sanction all errant officials involved in this falsehood, and organize through the agency of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), seven days of prayers and fasting for the quick recovery of our ailing Governor. Mum was the word from government.

     

    While all these were going on we were disturbed by rumours of the hijack of the machinery of the government of Enugu state by a cabal referred to by Thisday newspapers as G-5. This tag-team had practically rendered the Acting Governor a ceremonial Governor.

    Finally on 21st January 2013, we then formally wrote the Speaker of the State House of Assembly and demanded as follows:

    We are not in a position to confirm or deny that a letter was addressed to you by Governor Chime as required by section 190 of the Constitution. We have to accept your word for it as you are an honorable man. The said letter being a constitutionally prescribed letter was obviously not written to you in your private capacity, nor was it meant for your private perusal.

    We demand to know from you if the said letter was tabled and read at an open session of the House? If so, may we be obliged with or referred to a copy of the Hansard where this is reflected.

    We are also interested to know the ground on which the Governor was departing. Was it for a ‘vacation’ or the second arm which is ‘for inability to discharge the functions of his office’? It cannot be for both we humbly submit, as we believe that the ‘or’ makes the clause disjunctive and with different consequences

    We would wish to inquire from you, if you did write formally to the Deputy Governor intimating him of the said letter and attaching a copy thereat to enable him immediately begin to function as Acting Governor? This would be the prescribed procedure since we have been advised by constitutional lawyers that a swearing in is not mandatory in this particular circumstance.

    As if carefully choreographed, the government of Enugu State on 22nd January 2013, released some pictures said to be taken that day showing our Governor with a delegation of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), who had gone to London to visit with him. At the other end of Okpara square the Speaker was spewing venom on us and shadow boxing. He deliberately dodged or refused to answer the specific questions which we had put to him. The gist of his vituperation was that we were calling for the invocation of the Doctrine of Necessity whereas nowhere in our letter was that mentioned.

    This is our case.

     

    Our stand.

    There is an obvious misconception and naked attempt by government and its sympathizers or agents to misconstrue our campaign and engage in name calling or labeling. We do not wish Governor Chime dead or evil. Nothing in our campaign suggests that, and indeed we have been of invaluable assistance by laying to rest the ghost of his demise. The issue here again is not about the peace of Enugu state or that government is working. It all comes down to the right of a people to know what their leaders are up to and how they are deploying tax payers’ money. It’s the issue of due process and transparency in governance; democratic engagement under the rule of law and constitutionalism.

    The picture released by the state government shows a seemingly fit Governor Chime with his colleagues. Vanguard newspapers of the same day also reported a phone conversation between the Governor and the newspaper. This development to us is a classic replay of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s song ‘government magic.’ No doubt this was a panic response by Enugu state government to meet our two week deadline to reveal the location and status of our Governor. If that was the purpose then it has failed woefully.

    We have come to the conclusion that the picture posted by Enugu state government as having been taken on Tuesday 22nd January 2013, is fake and tells a lie about itself. 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 chose to believe our working Governor is not that irresponsible. Again the telephone conversation reported by Vanguard has done great injury to that paper. Many of us will remember the Yar’Adua phantom interview with BBC. Is this a replay here? We challenge them to play the audio. We all recall the dramatic telephone conversation between President Obasanjo and late Yar’Adua at a campaign rally in 2007, of ‘Umoru are you dead’?

    The Chairman South East Governors Forum Okwute Igbo Peter Obi was reported in the Sun newspaper of Monday 21st January 2013, at page 10 as saying that he was with Governor Chime in London when the news broke of the Ezu river bodies. He immediately cut short his visit and rushed home. How come there was no picture taken and why did our own Governor not rush home also? The river is at the joint boundaries of the two states.

    Conclusion

    The Speaker of the Enugu State Assembly would be made to know through the arbiter on Constitutional disputes that he does not have the last word or ipsi dixit on the interpretation of section 190 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).  Finally we repeat and re-iterate our demand in our letter of 16th January 2013 that Enugu state government must come clean on this Governor Chime saga and apologize to the people of Enugu state.

    For: Save Enugu Group

    Maxi Okwu

    Ikenecheoha II

    Convener

    Chief Willy Ezeugwu

    Ochiagha Nsukka

    Comrade Victor Chigozie Eneh