Enugu State governor Sullivan Chime last night admitted that he underwent treatment in London for nose cancer. The governor had returned to the state last Friday, after staying away from the country for more than four months.
Addressing a select group of journalists at the Government Lodge, Enugu, three days after he returned to the state to a tumultuous welcome, Chime denied ever being admitted into any hospital in London, saying that he received treatment in an undisclosed hospital as an out-patient.
"I was treated abroad for nose cancer," he said.
He decried media reports that he had died in an Indian hospital of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS, and other related diseases.
At the event attended by the deputy governor, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi, members of the State Executive Council and other highly placed government officials, Chime said that, before he left the country last September, he informed the speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Mr. Eugene Odo, through a letter that he was proceeding on a long vacation, adding that he had written again to the speaker to inform him that he was ready to resume duties.
Onyebuchi had acted as the acting governor of the state during the period Chime was away.
Chime further disclosed that he had a painless growth on the neck which was later diagnosed by his doctors in London as cancerous.
The governor said: "The treatment lasted for 12 weeks, and, throughout the period of the treatment, I was an out-patient. And so all the publications about one governor being admitted into one hospital were completely false.
"When I started reading in the newspapers that I died in India, it was a source of entertainment for us."
He said that cancer was curable if detected early, adding that, at the time his doctors detected that he had cancer, the disease was only located on his neck and nose.
He also claimed that when he started receiving treatment last September, his doctors asked him to stay off duties for six months. He, however, stated that the doctors were surprised at the rate of his recovery when he went back for a review of his status in the first week of January.
Governor Chime, who said he had been certified "cancer-free" by his doctors, said he was fit to resume duties. He decried the activities of some groups and indigenes of the state who, during his absence, tried unsuccessfully to pull the state down.
... Resumes duty, writes Assembly
Meanwhile, Chime has formally informed the state House of Assembly of his decision to resume duty after 140 days of absence from the office.
Reading the letter on the floor of the House during plenary, the speaker, Mr Eugene Odo, said the letter, which was signed by the governor, was to notify the legislature of his resumption of duty in line with his earlier letter dated Sept. 17, 2012, with reference number GHS/123/XII/6.
"Pursuant to section 190 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I hereby declare that l have today resumed normal duties at the end of my vacation. I am grateful to almighty God for his journey mercies and immeasurable grace on me.
"I extend my gratitude to you the honourable speaker and the honourable members of the house for your cooperation and support to the deputy governor, His Excellency Sunday Onyebuchi, who acted in my stead while my vacation lasted.
"I was delighted to note that you all cooperated with the other arms of government to ensure sustenance of peaceful atmosphere which provided a platform for the smooth running of government.
"I am praying that the good Lord will continue to guide you and other members of the House with infinite wisdom to carrying out your legislative duties.
"Accept, please, honourable speaker, the continued assurances of my best regards.
Signed: Sullivan I. Chime, Governor".
After reading the governor's message, the leader of the state Assembly, Mr. Sunday Ude-Okoye, moved a motion for the adoption of the message and was seconded by Mr. John-Kelvin Ukuta.