There was anxiety in Enugu State on Monday as the lingering absence of Governor Sullivan Chime entered the New Year with his whereabouts still shrouded in secrecy.
Chime had handed over power to his deputy Sunday Onyebuchi before leaving the country on September 19 for a six-week vacation in the United States.
One hundred and three days later, the governor has not returned to the state and the state government has maintained silence over his whereabouts.
However, it is reported that the governor is being hospitalised in India.
The PUNCH recalls that on December 15, the day that Kaduna State Governor, Patrick Yakowa and Gen. Andrew Azazi, died in a helicopter crash alongside four other persons, there were rumours that Chime had died in an Indian hospital.
However, the state government debunked the claim.
Last weekend, there were reports that the governor would return to the state on December 31, but as at 4pm on Monday, journalists, who converged on the Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu left when the last flight for the day landed without the governor on board.
When our correspondent visited the Government House, Enugu, the place looked deserted, except for the office of Chief of Staff, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, who is seen as the de facto governor of the state.
However, there was a notice at the manifest inviting all political appointees and elected office-holders for a meeting at the governor’s Udi hometown by 8pm.
Contrary to initial feelers that the meeting was summoned to discuss latest developments in the state, a source, who pleaded anonymity, said it was the usual New Year vigil and nothing more.
He said, “If you have been conversant with events here, you will know that the governor usually invites appointees and elective office-holders to keep New Year vigil with him in his house since he became governor in 2007.
“The notice of meeting you saw is in line with this tradition. There is nothing special about it.”