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I underwent treatment for nose cancer - Chime

By The Citizen
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Confirming an earlier story by THE CITIZEN, the Enugu State governor, Mr. Sullivan Chime, on Monday night confessed publicly that he had a nose cancer.

In his first interview with journalist since he left Nigeria for over four months, the governor said he stayed abroad for too long in order to remove cancerous tumours from his neck and nose before they could spread.

Chime, who spoke to journalists in Enugu, said that he was not sick initially when he departed the country on September 19, 2012 but that his health altered as a result of the agony and trauma he went through in the course of removing the cancerous tumours in London.

In narrating how he stayed out of the country from September 19, 2012 to February 7, 2013, the governor said, 'In August last year, I was privileged to be one of those nominated by the Nigerian Governors' Forum to go to Germany to study their federalism, I was to represent the South-East zone; I had to use the opportunity of the trip to pass through London to do my medicals since it was the only opportunity I had to do that. After my medical, I was certified fit by the doctors, but I noticed that I had a little growth beneath my jaw. Ordinarily, nobody could see it but I felt it seriously and asked the doctors to do further investigation on it.

'I was later referred to a GP who after examining me said there was nothing wrong with me. I still asked for further investigation. I even made arrangement with them to help me set appointment for closer investigation. I left for Germany and had to still return to London to keep the appointment for proper screening of the growth. It was after the screening that it was discovered that the growth in question was cancerous. It was also discovered that the main tumour was behind my nose; it was simply called cancer of the nose.'

Chime said he indeed planned for a long trip and duly informed the Enugu State House of Assembly and made arrangement for the smooth running of the state.

He said, 'Cancer is such a thing that when you hear it, the person involved will even declare himself dead instantly. I was subjected to further scanning at the nose and neck and was told that it was curable, not manageable. When I asked how to go about it, I was told it had to be as early as possible before it spreads to other areas.

'Accordingly, I arranged for it to be done. I had to cancel further trips and agreed to be back to London in two weeks. Within the period, I came back to Nigeria and made arrangement for transmission. I wrote a letter to the Speaker, informing him of my decision to proceed on leave and sought his cooperation to work with my Deputy who will act as Governor.

'We even held two executive council meetings within the period where I informed members of my exco that I was proceeding on a long vacation. I left for Abuja the next day and attended the Governors' Forum meeting and the next day I left for London, settled in and saw the oncologist the next day.

The governor said the news of his rumoured death sometime last year indeed amused him. 'When I read in the papers that I had died in India, it was a source of entertainment. Each time we wanted to laugh, we looked for Nigeria papers online,' he said.

He however took exception to alleged attempts to liken his case with that of the late President Umaru Yar'adua who died of heart disease in 2010.

Chime said his case was 'never an emergency and it can never be likened to that of Yar'Adua.'

'While Yar'Adua travelled out sick. I travelled out a healthy man and let me also tell you that the attacks started about two weeks after I left' he added.

Meanwhile, he said he had informed the Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly that he had resumed his duties though he declared that he was not in perfect health yet.

'I was officially discharged, that's why I had to return. I'm still in the process of recovery and as such you don't expect me to start running tomorrow but I'm free to resume duties to ensure that activities are running on full speed,' the governor said.