Former Minister of Information, John Odey, told PREMIUM TIMES some minutes ago that Mr. Imoke arrived Lagos from the United States this evening and is being expected in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, on Saturday.
“I can confirm that the governor has returned,” Mr. Odey, one of Mr. Imoke’s closest political associates, said with glee. “We are all here waiting to receive him. We have been in touch with him while he was undergoing treatment. But we are more than excited to have him back.”
PREMIUM TIMES recalls that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had on January 29 expressed happiness over what it described as the remarkable recovery of the governor.
The Party’s National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said in a statement the party received the news of the governor’s recovery with great joy, adding that he was being expected back to his duties soon.
“We have just received news of the remarkable recovery of the Governor of Cross Rivers State, Liyel Imoke and we are very happy. We expect that he will be back to his office very soon to continue the good works he has been doing in his state,” Mr. Metuh said at the time.
The party spokesperson also commended the leadership of the party at various levels in the state for holding fort and ensuring smooth running of government affairs in the absence of the governor.
The state Commissioner for Information, Akin Ricketts, had also on December 15 issued a statement to debunk speculations that the governor was dead.
He said then the governor was recuperating.
Mr. Rickett said the governor officially wrote to the state House of Assembly early December transferring power to his deputy, Efiok Cobham, to enable him proceed on a two-month accumulated leave.
The governor’s Chief Press Secretary and Special Assistant on Media, Christian Ita, had in a statement on December 6 explained that Mr. Imoke was away on medical grounds.
The statement did not disclose the ailment but explained that Mr. Imoke started a two-month accumulated leave on December 7.
According to the statement, Mr. Imoke had informed the State House of Assembly through a letter to the Speaker, Larry Odey, that Mr. Cobham will act for the duration of the leave in line with the provisions of the constitution.