Governor Chime admits having cancer treatment overseas



FOR the first time since the controversy over his long absence broke out, Enugu State Governor Sullivan Chime on Monday admitted suffering from a nose cancer.

He said he undertook a long vacation to enable him obtain medical cure for the ailment.

Besides, Cross River State Acting Governor, Efiok Essien Cobham, Tuesday dispelled rumours on the deteriorating health of the state governor, Liyel Imoke, saying that the governor was hale and hearty and may return to the country between this weekend and next week.

Responding to questions at the town hall meeting to round off the national good governance of the state yesterday in Calabar, Cobham said that even though the governor was receiving medical treatment in a hospital in Maryland, United States (U.S.), he was never in any life-threatening condition.

The acting governor, who insisted that there was no secret about the governor’s whereabouts, stated that in order to clear the air on the governor’s long absence, he convened a meeting with the elders in the state in December 2012 to inform them of his whereabouts.

He said: “Your governor is in Maryland and any moment from now, he is coming back. There is no secret about his whereabouts.”

Chime noted that though the treatment took him over four months outside the country, he was never admitted in any hospital but had all the treatment which officially came to an end on December 10 last year in London as an out-patient.

Chime insisted that he was neither flown out of the country unconscious, nor went to India over the sickness, stressing that he arranged for the treatment himself based on the time-frame available to him.

He added that in line with the constitution, he had also handed a letter to the Speaker of the state House of Assembly informing him of his leave and asking him to co-operate with the deputy governor, who would act in his place while he was away.

Chime had left Enugu on September 19 last year to embark on “accumulated leave,” according to his aides. He returned to the state last Friday, February 8.

Basking in the euphoria of the successful treatment, which he said took full 12 weeks of chemotherapy, Chime certified himself “fit and proper” to resume duties, adding, however, that people should not expect him to be “running” as he was still recuperating.

Flanked by his deputy, Sunday Onyebuchi and other members of his cabinet, the governor in the over two hours interaction with reporters in Enugu, stated that he had also transmitted a letter back to the Speaker informing him that he had returned and automatically resumed his duties.

He stated that he had in August last year suspected a tumor around his neck region and sought a medical examination, and after several investigations, it was diagnosed to be cancer of the nose.

He said he had arranged with his doctors in London who agreed for him to choose a convenient time for him to start treatment, stressing that he decided to embark on the cure of the ailment at the time he did, after looking through his timetable to discover that September was the ideal time.

“I wrote a letter to the Speaker of the House of Assembly in accordance with the constitution, informing him of my decision to proceed on leave and of course sought his co-operation to work very well with the deputy governor, who would work as governor in my absence. Within the two weeks, we held two exco meetings, the last was held on Tuesday, the week I left.   After the exco meeting, I told my exco members that I was proceeding on long vacation, which I wouldn’t know how long it would last to treat myself. That was the information they got and of course I told them to co-operate with the acting governor.   The following day, I left for Abuja, which was a Wednesday and again attended the meeting of the governor’s forum that night.”

He continued: “I got to London and settled in and the following day, Friday, I went to see the oncologist who had already made arrangements for treatment to begin and on Monday, I started treatment. I don’t think any of you has had an experience. Cancer is a deadly disease and the cure is also deadly. The cure for cancer is not Panadol, the cure for cancer is not these drugs you buy off the counter. By the time you go through chemotherapy and radiotherapy, you will be a changed person. So, I started treatment, and the treatment altogether lasted for 12 weeks. Throughout the period of my treatment, I was an out- patient. I was never admitted in any hospital, all my treatment I took as an out-patient. During the period of treatment, I personally had challenges with the treatment because like I said, except you see somebody that has taken that kind of treatment, it is not easy to imagine. So, when I started reading in the papers how I went to India, how I died at so-so place, to us, it was a kind of entertainment. Anytime we felt like being entertained, we call up the Nigerian papers and we will be laughing.

“So, it was a lot of entertainment to us but what became worrisome was the deliberate and sustained attempt to undermine the government of Enugu State. Over the years, if you people have been following events especially when we addressed our people, yes, we have invested a lot of money in infrastructure and other spheres of life but I have always said that one thing we would like to leave behind is a workable system, that had always been topmost on our agenda because when we came in, yes, I was part of the last administration but unfortunately when we came in, there was no system in place, not even a bad one.

“So, we felt there was this need to have a system in place because that is the only way you can encourage continuity because in this place, a governor comes and he will want to chart his own course but if you have a system in place, if a governor comes in, he will build on what is existing. This was a kind of opportunity to put to test the system we have put in. Everything kept on happening as if the governor was not on leave, nobody talked about strike, nobody talked about non- payment of salaries, no contractor agitated over payment of fees, everything and life continued to be normal. It was like we had increased activities in my absence and I can say that I can beat my chest to thank the deputy governor who led the team and who ensured that the system worked in my absence. I am happy that we have almost attained that height and when we will be leaving in a few years, we will be glad we have built a system and it is a good thing to notice that we didn’t have problems in spite of all attempts made by our brothers and sisters to undermine us.”

Chime said that reports trailing his long absence were either misplaced or born out of mischief, stressing that he was not given an opportunity to tell his own side of the story.

He added, however, that he had taken it all in good faith, while thanking all those who identified with the state during his leave as well as expressing appreciation to the people and his officials for not letting the state derail while he was away.

He said he would from time to time return to London for check-up to ensure that the disease did not come up again, stressing that the ailment would have been detected if there were good medical facilities in the state

Source: The Gaurdian

Author: nmmin

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