A pro-democracy association known as ‘Save Enugu Group’ has given the acting governor of Enugu State, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi two weeks to make a categorical explanation on the whereabouts and status of Governor Sullivan Chime. The group, which has former commissioners and top politicians from the state as members also requested the deputy governor to constitute a delegation, which should include eminent personalities from the state to pay a visit to the governor and report back to the people of Enugu State.
The group suggested personalities like, Bishop Callistus Onaga, Catholic Bishop of Enugu, Revd Hyde Onuaguluchi, Prof Bath Nnaji, Igwe Paul Egbogu, Chief Mrs Grace Obayi, Chief Nduka Eya, Secretary General Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo and Dr Louis Anya Chukwuma to be part of the delegation. The letter, which was also copied the Speaker of the State Assembly was signed by former commissioners, Mr Ray Nnaji and Igbonekwu Ogazimorah, former presidential aspirant of the NSP, Chief Maxi Okwu, National Secretary-General of the CNPP, Willy Ezeugwu, Ibuchukwu Ezike and Victor Eneh.
The letter read: “Today makes it 110 days since our great governor was last seen in public. It is in the public domain that Governor Chime was last sighted in public on September 19, 2012. Since then, sightings and near sightings of him have been reported, which all turned out to be a hoax. “This has created a thriving mill of idle gossips, who speculate on his whereabouts and state of health. Matters got to a head December 15, 2012, when the national media was rent with the news of the death of our governor.
“On some occasions, the Commissioner of Information, Mr. Chuks Ugwoke had come out with an official statement 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 otiose. 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? How many days make up this ‘accumulated annual leave’? Could the Constitution and government holiday regulations have given His Excellency a carte blanch to take a break for over 100 days? We do not think so.
The question, which we would be most obliged if it is answered is: Where is His Excellency our governor? “We are in no doubt that comparatively speaking he has done well or that government is going on ‘peacefully’ or ‘smoothly’ as his supporters would chime; but the fact of unreasonable absence from office, is suggestive of permanent inability to discharge the functions of his office. In the alternative we would argue that his disappearance for this extended period amounts to grave misconduct.” But in a swift reaction, the Enugu State Government dismissed the letter as a non-issue.
A statement signed by Chukwudi Achife, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Chime said that “though government did not intend to join issues with those he described as habitual attention-seekers, it was obvious that having realized that their media attacks had not achieved their intended results, they have now chosen to issue baseless statements as a group. “Government does not intend to join issues with these habitual attention-seekers. This is, at best, the coming together of men whose views on the incumbent government are well-known and always predictable.
It is obvious that having realized, perhaps most painfully, that their media attacks had not achieved their pre-determined goal, they have now chosen to issue a statement as a group. “However, it is even more laughable that in dabbling into issues beyond their purview, they first mischievously leaked to the press a letter meant for His Excellency, the Acting Governor of Enugu State, Sunday Onyebuchi.
“We urge our people to ignore the hollow argument and baseless call by the group, which merely expose the narrow mindedness of the pay-masters because the people of Enugu State know the real men behind the mask.”