Enugu State governor, Sullivan Chime, who has been abroad for medical reasons for the last four months, yesterday returned to Nigeria.
Chime, who departed Nigeria on September 15, last year, arrived at the NnamdiAzikwe International Airport, Abuja early in the morning.
On his arrival, Chime was said to have been taken under tight security to a private house. He later relocated to the 10th floor of the Transcorp Hilton, where he spent the whole day in with access to him was restricted.
Though there has been no official statement about his arrival, it is speculated that he would depart Abuja for Enugu.
There were fireworks at the Government House in Enugu last night in anticipation of Chime’s arrival in the Coal City.
An anonymous source said, “The governor chose to come into the country quietly. He does not want fanfare at all because of issues surrounding his health.Initially, he wanted to stay in a private house before the choice of Transcorp Hilton. He is in good health.”
“It is normal to strengthen security to allow the governor to rest for a while.”
The Save Enugu Group released a statement saying that the reason for so much noise about Chime’s health was due to a lack of proper handling.
The statement, signed by Maxi OkwuIkenecheoha II, Chief Willy Ezeugwu, and IgbonekwuOgazimora read:
“Save Enugu Group received with joy the informal news of the return of Governor Sullivan Chime into Nigeria in the wee hours of this morning. We are reliably informed that Governor Chime arrived at NnamdiAzikiwe International Airport Abuja on a British Airways flight from London Heathrow and moved to the Enugu Lodge in Abuja.
“We note that this event is taking place exactly one month after we first sounded the alarm on his prolonged and unexplained absence.
“We acclaim this as falling within desired responsive action of leaders in a democracy.
“If the further information on the frail condition of the Governor is reliable, we wish to state that Governor Chime did not deserve being hustled out of ‘gainful stay’ in good health institutions if the right things were done first and before questions arose.
“In that respect, we, as other good people of Enugu State, stand to hold those responsible for primitive lies and needless cover-ups responsible.
“We wish our governor well and full recovery.”
Though Government House sources say that the governor would like to arrive Enugu without ceremony, residents of the city are keeping vigil at the airport to witness his arrival.
But his supporters were yesterday insisting on rousing reception as Enugu went agog yesterday as the news of Chime’s return was broken.There were noticeable traffic gridlocks around the seat of government in Independence Layout.
The sources say the governor intends to quietly arrive Enugu and resume duty.
“Those waiting for him at the airport may be disappointed as he may decide to return by road,” said the source.
The source, who is a top government official, said that the governor would after a short stay in his office on arrival, he would go round to inspect projects.
The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) expressed delight and solidarity at the safe return of the governor.
The CNPP, in a statement after its monthly meeting, expressed gratitude to Acting Governor Sunday Onyebuchi, members of the state executive and the legislature “for their support and contributions in keeping Enugu working while the governor was away”.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed gratitude to the people of Enugu State for praying for Chime.
National Publicity Secretary Mr OlisaMetuh, in a statement, said the peoples’ prayer for the governor showed that they appreciated him and his good work.
“We thank the good people of Enugu State, and indeed, all Nigerians whose prayers ensured the successful return of the governor.
“We daresay that the love shown to the governor by all and sundry during his period of incapacitation is a clear indication that our people appreciate the good work of the governor,’’ Metuh said.
He expressed confidence that the governor would consolidate on the tremendous achievements of his administration, now that he is back to work.
Metuh added that the party’s leadership received with joy the news of the governor‘s return and thanked God for restoring his health.
He also thanked functionaries of the State Government and the state PDP officers for their loyalty and commitment to the party’s ideals while the governor was away.