Leadership (Abuja)

2 February 2013

Nigeria: Chime Returns in 10 Days - Akpabio

Going by the disclosure of Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State yesterday, the raging controversy over the continued absence from office of his Enugu State counterpart, Mr. Sullivan Chime, would be over in the next 10 days. He hinged his declaration on the infallible proofs that Governor Chime is well and will return to Nigeria "in the next 10 days."

Chime now in London has been hospitalised abroad since September 2012.

Speaking with reporters on his arrival from London at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, Akpabio, who was one of the three governors who recently visited ailing Chime in his hospital bed in London, stated that the Enugu chief executive "is well and healthy and capable of ruling the state again."

Other governors who visited Chime in hospital included the governors of Benue and Rivers states, Mr. Gabriel Suswan and Mr. Rotimi Ameachi respectively.

He emphasised the need for Nigerians to trust their representatives and warned against playing politics with people's health.

He said: "I was a part of the delegation that visited the governor in London and I brought a message of goodwill to His Excellency, the Governor of Enugu State and like I said, we must learn to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. We should not play politics out of people's health.

"For me, I'm very grateful to God that Governor Chime has recovered fully and he would be assuming duties within the next 10 days. It's not something that any Nigerian should be sad about, rather, we should be happy and we should pray that he's returning to the country within 10 days from today and he would be in the government House in Enugu on his seat as the Governor of the State. I can confirm that because I had interactions with him and he's in good health and he's recovering. Once the doctors give him the go ahead, he will be in the office. You can quote me."

On the allegation that the Nigerian Governors' Forum (NGF) is gradually becoming a cartel and working against the federal government and the Nigerians, Akpabio, denied such claims.

He vowed that he would not be a party to any association that would attempt to bring down President Goodluck Jonathan and his team and described such allegation as baseless.

Akpabio insisted that the governors' forum should actually be a major collaboration with the federal government, maintaining that they are part and parcel of government, which should work together to uplift the living conditions of Nigerians.

"I will not be a party to anything that will attempt to pull down the government of President Jonathan and that I'm assuring you. The allegation they are making is news to my ears, I've not been around the country for a while and I don't know what is going on.

Definitely, when I get in, I will observe things and if I should find out that the governors' forum is what they are saying, you will hear me., I will shout out.

"For now, I want to reassure Nigerians that the governors' forum means well for the country, majority of us are behind the President and we are determined to work together collectively so that we have one monopolistic democracy in Nigeria, the government that can deliver the dividends for the good of Nigeria.

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