Four months after his disappearance from the state, Save Enugu Group (SEG), a pro-democracy association of Enugu State citizens, has called on Acting Governor Sunday Onyebuchi to give to the people of the State a “categorical explanation” on the whereabouts and status of Governor Sullivan Iheanacho Chime.
In a petition dated January 8, 2013, SEG pointed out that the governor was last seen in public 110 days ago, on September 19, 2012.
“Since then sightings and near sightings of him have been reported which all turned out to be a hoax,” the group observed. “This unsavory state of affairs has created a thriving mill of idle gossipers who speculate on his whereabouts and state of health. These rumors have ranged from the insensitive to the ludicrous. Matters got to a head on the 15th day of December 2012, the day of the fatal air disaster in Bayelsa state that claimed the lives of Governor Yakowa of Kaduna State and General Azazi , when the national media was rent with the news also of the death of our Governor.”
It called on the Acting Governor to constitute a delegation which would include eminent Enugu state sons and daughters to pay a visit to the Governor wherever he is, and report back to the good people of Enugu state.
“On at least two occasions the Commissioner of Information Enugu State in the person of Mr. Chuks Ngwoke has come out with an official statement on the status of the governor. Essentially it was stated 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,” SEG said, but drew attention to widespread rumors that the Acting Governor is unable to discharge his constitutional duties because a cabal of unelected officers have rendered his authority otiose.
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?”
SEG described unreasonable absence from office on the part of Governor Chime as suggestive of PERMANENT inability to discharge the functions of his office, and that his disappearance for the extended period could be argued to be grave misconduct. The petition was signed for SEG by Chief Maxi Okwu; Ozo Igbonekwu Ogazimora; Chief Willy Ezugwu; Comrade Ibuchukwu Ezike; Comrade Victor Eneh; and Barr. Ray Nnaji.
For the delegation to Governor Chime, they suggested such distinguished Enugu State citizens as: His grace Bishop Callistus Onaga, Catholic Bishop of Enugu; Rev. Hyde Onuauluchi; Prof. Bath Nnaji; Igwe Paul Egbogu; Chief Mrs Grace Obayi; Chief Nduka Eya, Secretary General Ohaneze Ndi-Igbo, and Dr. Louis Anya Chukwuma.