The Enugu State Deputy Governor, Sunday Onyebuchi, yesterday slumped while testifying before the impeachment panel probing allegations of gross misconduct levelled against him by members of the state House of Assembly.
His sudden collapse caused panic at the state High Court complex, venue of the panel's sitting as the panelists as well as workers within the premises were totally frightened by the development.
He was immediately rushed out of the court hall at about 11.48 am by his wife, Nneka, his children and some of his aides present for medical attention. The deputy governor had reportedly slumped at the Ogige market, Nsukka during the 2011 electioneering preparatory for the gubernatorial election. The situation had then prompted the governor, Sullivan Chime, to continue with the campaign with a meeting of Catholic clergymen, led by the then Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Francis Okobo.
The latest is said to be the second time he would be slumping since he became the deputy governor of the state.
THISDAY checks revealed that the embattled deputy governor had arrived the court in company of his lawyers before 9a.m. and began his evidence at 9.30a.m. but barely few hours later, he reportedly collapsed and his wife and others present rushed forward to rescue him.
Onyebuchi, who was led in evidence at about 9.30a.m. by his counsel had at about 11.30a.m. complained that he was "feeling dizzy and could not see clearly" and called for a bottle of water which his aides provided for him.
The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Anthony Ani and Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, who had on Monday been invited by the panel were at the panel's sitting when the incident occurred.
Moments after taking the water, he had held on to his head and relapsed prompting his aides and family members including his wife to rush him. He was assisted to his car and rushed to hospital thereby forcing the panel to stand down proceedings till 2p.m. yesterday.
But his counsel said their client (deputy governor) was suffering from "hypertension," stressing that it was revealed after a diagnosis carried out by Dr B. C Anisuba, a Consultant Cardiologist at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH).
Onyebuchi's lead counsel, Peter Eze, who presented a medical certificate from the UNTH confirming the deputy governor's ailment and the advice of the doctor that he be allowed "one week rest," had asked the panel when it resumed later in the day to give his client till Monday to continue his evidence.
But the panel over ruled him, insisting that the deputy governor must be brought back today to continue his evidence, stressing that it does not enough time to grant the request of his counsel.
One of the counsel to the deputy governor, Ogochukwu Onyekwuluje, who spoke to reporters at the court premises said: "He came this morning to give evidence, he started giving his evidence and somewhere along the line, he developed some weakness and dizziness and at that point the tribunal stopped for the family to attend to him.
"He was seated and giving his evidence slowly and properly before the incident. He had told the chairman, he is dizzy and couldn't see clearly and at that point he held his head and bent down and he was taken by aides out of the court.
"He was immediately taken out of the courtroom and the panel adjourned sitting. They have diagnosed him of blood pressure and medical report has just been brought showing his state of health. I think he is stable but there has to be some precautionary medical attention giving to him to stabilise him.
"I understand that for the past one week, he has been here from morning to evening and running around organising his defence.
Yesterday (Tuesday), he was with us here trying to organise his defense; he has been willing and poised to defend himself strenuously to the satisfaction of his conscience. It must be part of his problem, the stress he has gone through in all this one week."