Fears for the life of Enugu State Governor Sullivan Iheanacho Chime heightened during the week as it is rumoured that he is receiving treatment for hard- drug addiction in an undisclosed location outside the country.
As legislators prepare to swear-in his deputy, Sunday Onyebuchi by next month, more fears have grown for the real state of his health in the home state of the governor as he has not been seen for over two months and no words from the inner caucus in charge of the affairs of the state.
Fresh facts have emerged over the whereabouts of the Enugu state governor following his ‘disappearance’ from government house in Enugu to an unknown place in a foreign land just as he was quoted last month that he was pursuing his overdue and rolled-over vacation. He is said to be receiving treatment for Cocaine addiction abroad.
The governor began his consolidated leave on September 19 this year, leaving the activities of government in the hands of his deputy, Sunday Onyebuchi, who has been functioning in an acting capacity.
As there is no end in sight as to when the governor would be recovering from his current state, sources have revealed that Enugu State Legislators are leaving no stone unturned in preparation for the official swearing-in of the Deputy Governor Onyebuchi as the executive governor of the State next month.
Since his absence, the activities of government have been handled by the deputy, while close associates and many admirers of Governor Chime are expressing fears over his state of health and his whereabouts.
Chime had on September 19 proceeded on his annual leave, which was subsequently extended as he was said not to have taken his annual leave since taking over the office from his predecessor, Dr Chimaroke Nnamani, on May 29, 2007.
Though, the rumor mill has brewed many possible reasons for his continued absence from duty, such speculations have not been really confirmed or denied. Among the rumors is that he was hospitalized in India for depressive state.
Prior to his departure from office, the governor had transmitted a letter to the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Eugene Odoh, informing the legislators that he was embarking on his annual vacation and accordingly, handing over to his deputy all duties from the day of his absence. The deputy has since been functioning in acting capacity.
However, fears heightened as his stay out of the office was being prolonged triggering speculations that he had taken sick. Chime is said not to have travelled beyond scheduled announced timing and has hardly travelled outside the country.
Officials of government different departments though have been economical with the truth about his condition, it emerged last month that he had taken sick and moved to an India Hospital and later transferred to the United Kingdom for medical attention.
Enugu State government under the acting governor Onyebuchi last week dissolved the board of the Enugu State Universal Basic Education (ENSUBEB) and also early in the week reportedly removed the Head of Service in the state, Mr. Dennis Eze. This development, according to a source is indicative that govenor Chime may have lost his official control of executive power in the state and that his deputy, Onyebuchi already is taking initiation for pexecutive power.
It has also been reported that most of the road projects scattered across the state have continued in full swing, while civil servants have not been owed in the last two months the governor has been away.
“Indeed, to the working class in the state, the absence of Chime has not in any way impacted adversely on governance”, a newspapers report claimed this week.
“In spite of the seeming smooth operation of governance, some residents are still entertaining worries. While some claim the governor had gone for treatment of a yet-to-be identified ailment abroad, others have made some other unprintable allegations.
Some residents have also questioned the propriety of the governor’s absence from the state for more than 21 days” reports claimed.
He has been rumoured to be receiving treatment in an Asian country top hospital but government sources are nervous about confirmation of the claim for political reasons.
The inner caucus though has been much secretive about the governors condition. However, the secrecy about Chime’s ill-health surfaced at the State house few weeks ago as tempers rose over money issues. It emerged that no funds were made available for pending projects which needed to be completed.
Although acting in the governor’s capacity, Deputy Governor, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi was instructed prior to Chimes embarked fix-my health-up journey to disburse funds, he was told that under no condition must he approve funds exceeding N500,000.
The so called instruction exposed the extent of Gov Chimes state as it (the instruction) scuttled many proposed projects starving them of needed funds. The eventual protest led to the revelation that the governor was taken ill and would spend longer than expected on vacation as he had been really indisposed.
It is now emerging that the governor is being treated for drug addiction as he has attained an advance stage of indisposition. The governor was linked to a major sex scandal last year when it was rumoured that he had a blood link with a child belonging to a government lady officials, one of his female.