THERE are indications that absentee Governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime, may not return to work soon, even as the plot to impeach him may have commenced Saturday in Enugu.
This comes as his equally absentee counterpart in Cross River, faces similar ordeal, as rumour of his “death” spread like wild fire in homes, public and market places.
Some people speculated that the gods are angry with the Governor for demolishing the Mary Slessor effigy at the Marian/Mary Slessor roundabout in Calabar, and which was erected to commemorate the works of the Scottish missionary that single-handedly stopped the killing of twins. The roundabout is under re-construction.
It has also been speculated that the governor committed another sacrilege by uprooting the big traditional ‘nkong ekpe’ (used in Ekpe cult of the Efik/Qua people), which was visibly displayed at the Eleven-Eleven junction. They argued that nobody commits such atrocities and survive the wrath of the gods.
But in all these, Chief Press Secretary and Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Mr. Christian Ita, issued a press release in the first week of December, explaining that Imoke had written to the State House of Assembly for a two-month “cumulative” leave.
According to him, “Some three weeks ago, His Excellency took a short break after a long hectic and eventful year preparatory to the start of the busy Calabar festival season. He used the opportunity to undergo medicals and, in the process, was advised by his doctors to undergo further evaluation.”
Some people have genuinely expressed concern about the health of the man whom they regard as a leader and father.
Cross River State Commissioner for Information, Akin Rickett, also told The Guardian that the Governor was not dead as rumoured, but was undergoing proper medical check-up and analysis.
He said despite the fact that Imoke formally wrote to the State House of Assembly for a two-month leave, “from allindications, we are expecting him before the end of two months.”
In his own case, Governor Chime’s absence is due to his alleged ill health, which, sources say, has deteriorated so much that he has now been kept under close watch.
The Guardian gathered that the latest plot to impeach him is being contemplated by the State House of Assembly, as a way of clearing the dark clouds surrounding his “disappearance”, since September 19, this year, when he informed the lawmakers that he was proceeding on his annual leave.
It was further gathered that the impeachment process would most probably begin in January next year when the lawmakers would have returned from recess.
The source added that the lawmakers are being infuriated by the fact that the much they know about their governor is that he transmitted a letter informing them that he would be away for only six weeks.
“Are they saying that we are not entitled to know about the governor and the situation with him since he left for his annual leave? It is over 90 days since he left the state and since the constitution gives the State Executive Council powers to write to the House of Assembly to constitute a health committee to ascertain his condition, does it mean they cannot show that sense of responsibility up to this time and do the needful?
“We have shown enough understanding and maturity in the kind of thing we found ourselves, but I want to tell you that we cannot continue like this.” the source added.
He wondered the kind of “accumulated leave” that the governor had embarked upon as well as the “ailment’ he is suffering from that “his wife, children, brothers and sisters’, would ‘abandon’ him and remain in Enugu.
He said the House is incensed the more by the fact, that even the Acting Governor, Sunday Onyebuchi, has been incapacitated to perform his duties, stressing that it took so much argument for him to be allowed to present the 2013 budget on Friday.
Meanwhile, an initiative to locate the governor after 90 days of absence from duty has been launched with the initiators vowing to unravel the mystery over his whereabouts.
One of the conveners, Jude Agu, said that those who decided that “nobody should know about Chime’s whereabouts could be playing some games with state resources’, stressing that they must be benefitting from keeping him away from the state.
He said that in the next couple of weeks, they would tell Enugu residents and Nigerians where the governor is and why he had not returned to duty at the expiration of his accumulated leave.
Culled from Guardian