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By News Express on 14/02/2013

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For three long months they lied to their people and the entire world about the health status of their principal, insisting that he was sound and only holidaying abroad. Less than a week after the man’s return, the lies of officials of the Enugu State Government finally fee apart as Governor Sullivan Iheanacho Chime finally confessed that his 140-day state abroad was used principally to obtain treatment for nose and throat cancer.

He told selected journalists in Enugu, South-East Nigeria: “I got to London, did my medicals and was certified fit. I was given a clean bill of health. I am a very observant person and I noticed that I had a little growth on my neck that was not visible to anybody. I pointed it out to my doctor; he touched it and said he did not think it was anything serious, but I should investigate it. I thought they would have seen anything when they were doing the general scanning and screening but nothing was found, so I just singled it out and asked them to investigate it.

“I was referred to a doctor, who after investigating it and asking questions (of course there were no pains, no symptoms, no disturbance from anywhere), said as far as he was concerned there was nothing wrong with it but he would also ask me to investigate it further. Because I was almost running short of time, I made arrangements with them to help me set up an appointment for closer examination of the growth. So the next day, I left for Germany to join my colleagues. On the trip was my Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr. Jude Akubuilo and my Senior Special Assistant (SSA) Investment; they were already in Germany waiting for me, so I joined them.

“After about a week, when they had set up the arrangement, I left Germany, went to London and did the proper screening. They did the biopsy and all that. In the process, it was discovered that the growth was cancerous. During further examination it was discovered that the main tumour was behind my nose, it actually turned out to be what they called nasopharyngeal cancer (cancer of the nose). At that stage, we all know that when people hear the word cancer, the first thing is to declare the person dead. They subjected me to further scanning to know if it had spread, so luckily it had not spread, it was just in those two areas – my nose and neck. They said the good news was that it was curable. That was when I became interested and they said as soon as I was ready, they would commence treatment.”

Chime, who returned home to a heroic welcome last week Friday (February 8), said he had to come back to Nigeria and temporarily transfer power to his deputy, Sunday Onyebuchi before returning to London. His words:

“I got to London and settled in and the next day Friday I went to see the Oncologist who had already made arrangements for treatments to begin. And on Monday, I started treatment. I don’t think any of you has had such an experience.

“Cancer is a deadly disease and the cure is also deadly, the cure for cancer is not like taking Panadol. The cure for cancer is not these drugs we buy off the counter. By the time you go through chemotherapy and radiotherapy, you will be a changed person. So I started treatment. 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. During the period of treatment, I personally had challenges with the treatment because as I said, except you see somebody that has taken that kind of treatment, it is not easy to imagine.”

 He disclosed that “the medical treatment officially ended on December 10,” adding: “Of course, when treatment ends, that is when the real thing starts. What the doctors said when I had commenced treatment was that I should stay off work for six months. That was their recommendation, but by the first week of January when my case went up for review, they were shocked at the recovery rate. The scan showed that the tumour and nose fluid had disappeared completely, not even a scar was left behind and although I won’t like to use the expression that they have declared me cancer free, but that was exactly what happened.

“Cancer is cancer and one will be required to go there from time to time for check up to make sure it does not raise its ugly head again. But as things are now, they have succeeded in curing that disease that was detected in September 2012.”

Chime however defended the lies by his lieutenants and his silence despite the political crisis that arose from his long absence from Enugu.  “I do not see why we should owe anybody any apologies. The important thing is complying with the law and making sure that as governor, you ensured that the ship of governance remained on course and not that you did not abandon your people. I found all those attacks a little bit mischievous and actually exposed the ignorance of some of our people. I was officially discharged (not on admission) and I am still in the process of recovering. No one should expect to see me tomorrow running but I am fitter now to resume my official duties; I am fit enough to ensure that government is on course with the assistance of my co-pilots,” he said.

He said it was “unfortunate and wrong” for anyone to try to compare his situation with that of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. His argument: “Yar’Adua traveled sick; I didn’t travel sick. Cancer is something that you may have, and you still look normal and act normal. I was not grounded because of the sickness. I was the person that decided on when to attack it. I actually chose the period because I looked at the timetable between now and end of my tenure and I said that was the only window I had because at the end of this year, we will be talking about council election. I decided on when to attack it.”

Stressing that he has nothing for which to apologise, the governor declared during the media briefing held Monday night: “I am back and I am back. But I will say that but for any ailment or cancer, if I have the opportunity of doing this again, I will like to repeat it. I have no regrets whatsoever. I believe I did the right thing and the comments people dished out were based on either ignorance or plain mischief. I have no business telling you my story; it is not your business.”

Photo: Governor Chime.

Source News Express

Posted 14/02/2013 11:00:36 AM


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