The Enugu State government has debunked speculations that governor Sullivan Chime has died.
Some newspapers (not PREMIUM TIMES) had reported Saturday that the governor had died in an Indian hospital on Saturday, after prolonged illness.
Speculations became especially rife after Mr. Chime left the state for months without any explanation for the people he governs. His whereabouts remains unknown.
But the state Commissioner for Information, Chucks Ugwuoke, said in a statement Sunday that reports of the governor’s death was unfounded and malicious.
He said the governor was doing well and would soon return to the state from his vacation.
The Enugu assembly speaker, Eugene Odo, had said the prolonged absence of Gov. Sullivan Chime from the state is normal and constitutional.
Mr Odo told the News Agency of Nigeria the constitution is very silent on the number of days a governor or president could be absent from duty.
According to him, there is nothing in the constitution that stipulates the number of times a governor could be absent from office.
He noted that the constitution envisaged the possibility of a governor or president staying away from office, which led to the provision for the deputy governor or vice president who ordinarily stands-in for the former.
The speaker said, “The governor transmitted a letter before proceeding on vacation and the letter was accordingly read on the floor of the House as against the various speculations written in the media on which of course I’m not ready to join issues with anybody.
“So that is it. As regards what you are saying about the limit or number of days expected to stay, the constitution is very silent on that, so there is nothing in the constitution that stipulates the number of times the governor could be absent.
“But as it is in Enugu State, a letter was transmitted to the House where upon the House was asked to give necessary cooperation to the deputy governor, who is now acting as the governor.
“And accordingly, the deputy governor, who is now the acting governor has been acting; so the law presumes that once the governor is not there, the acting should be there, so that there will not be a vacuum in government and of course that is what is happening in Enugu State.’’
He urged the people of the state to cooperate with the acting governor to provide democracy dividends and protect lives and property since the state does not belong to any individual alone.
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