Chairman of Enugu State Christian Pilgrim Board and Bishop of the Enugu Anglican Communion, Emmanuel Chukwuma is not happy with the way the family of the Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime, has been handling issues, relating to the present state of the governor’s health. In his view, the governor’s immediate family should be blamed for the present call for the application of the Doctrine of Necessity in the state.
In this interview, the cleric also said since no human was insulated from falling sick, it was wrong for the governor’s family to shroud his health status or whereabouts to the citizens of the state, especially the spiritual fathers.
Many people have expressed concern over the continued silence in the Enugu Lion Building over the health status of Governor Sullivan Chime. Some are even calling on the state Assembly to apply the Doctrine of Necessity. What is your view?
My reaction is that the whole scenario is very unfortunate. There is quite a lot of deceit right in the entire issue. I must say that I, Bishop Chukwuma, am one of those behind the installation of Sullivan Chime as the Governor of Enugu State. I gave him support and I was the only bishop, who blessed him. No other bishop blessed him when he was coming into government. Even his Catholic bishops rejected him because of how he was brought in by the former Governor, Dr Chimaroke (Nnamani). I was the only bishop and I’m still praying for him. But the family of the governor has to be blamed for all that is happening now because they are not sincere and open on the matter. When the late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was sick, his family was open to let us know he was sick. And I personally visited Ojukwu at the hospital in London. One of my visits was at the London Clinic while the other was at the Wallington Hospital. And I was able to see him and pray for him. But up till now, nobody has told me where my governor is, which hospital he is; they are hiding it. But we are praying. All I know is that he is not dead. I even received Christmas greeting card and gifts from the Government House sent by him. Okay! But what is the state of his health, nobody is telling us.
I’m quite sure that he probably has some health challenges, which are normal to every human being. But there is no reason people should hide it. Rather, we should be told the details of the whole thing so that we can intensify our prayers for him. Many of us have set up prayer warriors for him because he has been a very hardworking governor. He has made the Coal City to become one of the best states with good road networks in the entire country. And we want him to come back and complete the work.
But they should stop deceiving us. They should let us know what state he is in for us to be able to pray for him. And nobody should be afraid to say the truth. I’m still looking for a way to find out where he is so I can visit him and pray for him. So, people in government should try to be honest. The House of Assembly should be honest too, even as I thank them for their non-chaotic stance since the present impasse in the state. I think they are just trying to be loyal and allowing the government to run even when the governor is not around. But the citizens of the state should be made to know the health status of their governor to douse tension and rumour mongering. Some people say he is dead and others say he is alive. But I know he is not dead with the information I have gotten. But I want to know which hospital he is in so, I can visit him.
Now that pressure is mounting heavily on the legislators, do you think they should yield to pressure and apply the Doctrine of Necessity should the governor’s family continue to shroud everything about his health in secrecy, and he fails to return?
Well, the constitution should not be put aside. That is why I said you could deceive me, but you cannot deceive God. It is time that the Speaker and his House of Assembly members should begin to really find out, just like the Senate did during the time of (the late president) Yar’Adua. They have to urgently find out the true situation of things and allow the law to take its course where necessary.
I do not think we should continue to deceive ourselves, otherwise that would amount to setting a very bad precedence. The government of anywhere is not a personal or family property. You come, you go and the government, which belongs to all of us remains. And so, there is nothing wrong in saying the governor is sick. We’ll give him time to recover. After all, the Governor of Cross River State is sick and he is recuperating. There is an acting governor duly allowed to take absolute charge of the affairs of that state’s governance. The Governor of Kogi State had an accident and they showed where he was on crutches, just like they did not hide the air crash that involved the Governor of Taraba State.
They keep saying that our governor went on accumulated leave. But he has outstayed, giving room for all sorts of rumour and apprehension in the state and now, the call for the application of the Doctrine of Necessity. As for me, I want him to come back healthy. But his family has mismanaged the whole issue.
Why would the family hide his health status from you, who are one of the spiritual leaders in the state and one who has always stood by him and his family prayerfully and otherwise?
I think it is selfishness and greed and I do not care whoever they are. I do not fear them because I know what they were before they came into government. It is a pity that Governor Chime has allowed this to happen but I want to let you know that those doing that in that family, they were nothing before now.
They should know that we the spiritual leaders have our own powers. I told you that even Dim Odimegwu Ojukwu’s family humbly informed me about his health challenges and I sponsored myself to London to see him and pray for him.
Why shouldn’t I be allowed, at least, as the Chairman of the CAN in the South-east and the Chairman of the Enugu State Pilgrims Board and the oldest bishop, by consecration in Enugu State; why shouldn’t I be allowed to see my governor? Even the catholic bishop does not know anything about his present state of health. Isn’t that unfair? The family is not being fair to us. And we see that as selfishness, wickedness and greed on their part. What are they hiding? I’m angry! But I’m praying that the governor should come back, by God’s grace, in good health and finish up his term.