The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has condemned the poor handling of the reported illness of Gov. Sullivan Chime of Enugu state, saying it fits into the growing pattern of shrouding the health problems of elected officials in secrecy, and again calls attention to the need to do things properly to advance the nation’s democracy rather than personal interests.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Ahaji Lai Mohammed, the party also criticized the choreographed visit to Gov. Chime in London by a
delegation of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), which was apparently designed to reinforce the line being peddled by Gov. Chime’s supporters rather than keep the people of the state better informed of the true situation of things.
It said there is no doubt that the reason behind all the shenanigans is the desperation by public office holders to hold on to power at all costs, even when it is clear that their health has failed to such a level that they are better off stepping down so they can attend to their health problems.
”We do not have details of what is wrong with Gov. Chime and honestly that is not the reason behind our intervention. Our concern is that the conspiracy of silence being perpetrated by the state governors who are reported to have taken ill and abandoned their duty posts, as well as their
supporters especially the NGF, does not serve the interest of our democracy.
”In the case of Gov. Chime, how can a man who is purportedly on vacation disappear for over 135 days and the people who voted him into office are not expected to ask questions? Does
the constitution provide for such a long ‘vacation’ without consequences? Is Gov. Chime’s deputy, whom he reportedly handed over to, given enough latitude to adequately preside over the affairs of the state. If not, how has this affected governance in the state? And to what extent have the people of the state been denied the dividends of democracy by this unnecessary controversy?
”These are the issues that should be of interest to all lovers of democracy, not the antics of some Governors who are frittering away taxpayers money by gallivanting to London to see Gov.
Chime and thereafter releasing a picture showing a ‘hale and hearty’ Gov. Chime, dressed-up like a Soviet-era spook, which has now generated even more controversy.
”The governors said Chime is recovering well but did not say from what illness. They say he is in good shape but have not said why he has been away from his duty post for so long. If he is so
hale and hearty as they claim, let him come home and end the endless controversy over his illness. In any case, who made the governors the spokespersons for the people of Enugu state? Are they the ones who voted him into office? Do they really care how this whole controversy has
affected governance in Enugu state? Is this the way democracy is run in other climes?” ACN queried.
The party said since any human being can take ill anytime, no one, especially public office holders, should be ashamed to admit his or her illness through a full disclosure and, if necessary, cede full power to those constitutionally empowered to take over.
”Nigeria and its democracy have yet to recover from the secrecy thrown around the illness of late President Umaru Yar’Adua and the anti-democratic antics of his ‘kitchen cabinet’. It is time we stopped this practice that only serves the purpose of those who are hell bent on clinging to power, not considering the interest of the people who voted them into office,” it said.