NATIONAL Publicity Secretary of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, and the Save Enugu Group (SEG) have dismissed as fake the picture said to have been taken by Governor Sullivan Chime with some governors, who paid him a sympathy visit in London recently.
Okechukwu told The Guardian: “Neither the handlers of the governor have been fair to the good people of Enugu State nor is the governor himself, for all the speculation was avoidable. If Chime can stand on his feet, why don’t he return or talk to us through video tape?”
On the circulation of Chime’s picture with Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom State), Gabriel Suswam (Benue State) and Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers State), who were said to have paid him a sympathy visit in London, Okechukwu said though he was not a security expert to determine the genuineness of the picture, it has raised more questions than it was intended to answer.
“The rumour mill is once more awash with questions: if he can stand up and smile and take picture, why can’t he talk to us? Is it not an old picture taken in another trip abroad?” he asked.
While noting that most state governors are globe trotters, Okechukwu said “it is possible the picture is an old one” since, according to him, it is possible as well that they might have “visited our brother and Governor Danbaba Suntai, because nothing prevents them from going anywhere with public funds, which they see as their personal patrimony.”
He expressed regrets that as a senior lawyer, Chime did not draw lessons from the controversy that surrounded the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s last days.
Also, the Save Enugu Group (SEG) has dismissed the photograph as fake. It said the picture, which has the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, Amaechi, governors Suswam and Akpabio with Chime, was circulated to media houses on Tuesday by the Enugu State Government.
However, in a statement yesterday, the co-ordinators of SEG disputed the picture, describing it as “a classic replay of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s song, Government magic. According to the group, it was no doubt a panic response by the Enugu State Government “to meet our two weeks deadline to reveal the location and health status of our governor.”
The statement signed by Chief Maxi Okwu, Willy Ezeugwu and Victor Chiagozie Ezeh, stated: “We have come to the conclusion that the picture posted by the Enugu State Government as having been taken on Tuesday, January 22, 2013, is fake and tells a lie about itself.
“Some of the governors shown on that picture could not have been in London on that day unless they have the gift of bi-location. Secondly and more seriously, if Governor Chime is as fit as shown, what is he still doing away from his duty post for over four months? We choose to believe that our hard working governor is not that irresponsible.
“Again, the telephone conversation reported by Vanguard Newspaper has done great injury to that paper. Many of us will remember the Yar’Adua phantom interview with BBC. Is this a replay? We challenge them to play the audio. We all recall the dramatic telephone conversation between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the late Yar’Adua at a campaign rally in 2007 of ‘Umoru, are you dead?’”
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