By Ambrose Agu
Finally, thank God Almighty, our Governor His Excellency Sullivan Iheanacho Chime, is now in Enugu. He arrived Enugu, by flight at about 2:30PM in the afternoon, today, Friday, 8th February, 2013. From the airport he was driven to his home at the Governor’s Lodge were he personally received friends, family and well-wishers. Gov Sullivan Chime is back to the Coal City. He is not in London, or Abuja, or Benin, or Kafanchan or any such place. I repeat he has returned to Enugu.
I was at the Enugu International Airport earlier today for Governor Chime’s arrival. I and my team arrived at the airport around 12 Noon, and immediately it was no longer the airport I thought I knew very well. First, security was as tight as I have ever seen! Police, Army, NSDC, DSS, uniformed, plainclothes etc, they were everywhere. To get a parking spot was almost impossible. There were cars everywhere. Absolutely no space left. We had to drive into and out of the parking lot and started driving away from the airport before we could get a spot to park, almost towards the entrance gate to the airport. We alighted from the vehicle and walked down towards the airport building. There were thousands and thousands of people everywhere. I mean, to walk in a straight line was impossible because there were people everywhere. We eventually made it into the VIP Arrival Lounge. Everybody that was anybody in Enugu politics was in that VIP Arrival Lounge. We all just waited and talked excitedly. The atmosphere was charged. The mood was cheerful. All manner of music was competing with each other from giant speakers placed on top of flat bed trucks parked outside. And we waited.
Sometime after 2PM, a plane appeared on the horizon and the whole airport went crazy. Everybody began positioning themselves to catch a good look. Security officials were doing their best to keep people behind the line but it was a herculean task. Then we watched in excitement as the plane landed, taxied on the tarmac and then started approaching the arrival gateway. The excitement was so thick you could almost touch it. Then we watched as the plane stopped. Then the door of the plane opened.
About three or four people exited the plane, but nobody cared about them really. Then suddenly the unmistakable tall figure emerged from the plane door. Sure enough it was His Excellency Sullivan Iheanacho Chime, Governor of Enugu State. Bespectacled, he stood in front of the door for a few seconds taking in the scene (the scene of home sweet home). Then the man began to walk down the steps of the plane (with his own two feet) bearing a wide smile on his face.
Then bedlam. absolute, positive bedlam. The crowd went totally insane. Like a TSUNAMI it swept away the security cordon like it was made out of paper. I thought to myself this is the much-talked about TSUNAMI! The crowd rushed to the plane. I maneuvered myself very close. The crowd now surrounded him. Many security personnel found themselves flat on the tarmac, unable to match the tenacity and doggedness of the surging crowd. Everybody wanted to see Gov Sullivan Chime and there was no denying them. By now he had removed his spectacles, ascended completely from the plane and was standing on the tarmac with this huge crowd surrounding him. He was shaking hands, waving at people, calling out the names of people he recognized. I went closer to him. He saw me and reached over and shook my hand with a firm grip. Then he began to make his way to his vehicle. He walked and weaved through the dogged and determined crowd that was tighter than the Baltimore Ravens’ defense. As he proceeded he was shaking hands, waving, calling out names. Many of his close relatives could not even get very close to him as the crowd ( security or no security) was just too powerful and too hungry for Sullivan to observe any niceties.
As he walked through the crowd I looked at him steadily. He looked fine. I looked at his face. It looked fine, same handsome face, no change. This was Sullivan Chime pure and simple. There were no additions or subtractions. This was the good ole’ Governor Sullivan Iheanacho Chime. I was very happy. In the meantime the fence that separated the VIP area from the remainder of the airport was promptly taken apart by the surging crowd and more people rushed in towards the tarmac at Sullivan. Luckily by then he had already made it to his vehicle. With his door opened, he stood for a moment surveyed the crowd from left to right, waved again, and then into his vehicle he went. Thereafter his convoy swept majestically, triumphantly out of the airport onwards to Government House.
But this time the convoy bore a different look. Regular Enugu folks had all piled up behind Sullivan’s convoy. Private cars, taxi’s, old cars, new cars, Keke –Napeps, anything that could keep pace with the fast moving convoy joined in. It was a real peoples’ convoy, a dramatic demonstration of real love and popular support. It stretched from the airport and almost went beyond Nair Triangle. All roads now led to the Government house.
At the Government House, there was also an intimidating crowd already there waiting patiently for Gov Chime. Canopies were everywhere. My team and I eventually arrived at the Governor’s Lodge. We waited outside a bit, but as soon as I was told that the Gov had started seeing people, I went straight into the Lodge to the Grand Reception Room. Of course security was Fort Knox. Two or three minutes later, I was ushered into the Room. The room was already full with so many VIP’s. I exchanged pleasantries as I waited my turn to see His Excellency. As I waited I saw the First lady walking around as delighted and as excited and as happy as ever. The closest thing to the happiness and delight that she exuded is that which you see on a child’s face after they have just hugged a parent who they have not seen and have missed all day. I was very happy for her.
Soon it was my turn to see His Excellency. I went to His Excellency. He grabbed my hand and shook it, same firm grip, same vigorous shake. I welcomed him back. We spoke for a few minutes. Now I was literally face to face with him. I could see his face and neck. There was no hat, no scarf, and no spectacles. I looked at his face and neck. No mark, nothing irregular. In fact he looked very fresh, very healthy and at ease with himself. He smiled often and spoke normally. There was nothing wrong with his face or neck, and there was nothing wrong with his voice. This was the same Gov Chime I have always known. I was happy. Eventually I had to leave him so other people can also meet with him. By the way he eventually privately met possibly hundreds of people (Igwes, government officials, out-of-state VIP’s, politicians, labour representatives, executives from the press, and clergy etc). I circulated around the room for some time and made small talk. Eventually I left with a group of friends very satisfied with everything that had transpired today.
As I left, I was convinced of one thing. I know I am not a doctor and I am only speaking from my most recent experience with Gov Chime which I have just narrated above, but honestly it was clear to me that any talk of “incapacitated” is just too absurd that only a fool would bandy it. In my opinion and based on what I saw and perceived, let me say that having sighted, and spoken with, and briefly interacted with Gov Sullivan Chime today, I am stunned by what I saw. It was the exact opposite of the picture of an “incapacitated” Chime that the political opposition in Enugu has been dishonestly selling to the general public. I now confirm and re-confirm that Governors Amaechi, Akpabio, and Suswam were right all along. Senator Ken Nnamani was also right. Governor Theodore Orji was also right. Ambrose Agu was also right all along. Gov Sullivan Chime is clearly capable of governing Enugu State alone. Any talk of “incapacitated” is mere pointless, idle talk.
As far as pictures, I do not even think that ENSG needs to bother releasing a so-called “official picture”. I am sure many pictures will be published by the press in the coming days. But based on what I saw, Gov Chime is fine. He is still the same. The handsome look is still the same. Nothing changed, really. Sullivan Chime is still Sullivan Chime,
Out in the streets of Enugu is beyond description. As I write this I can still hear the fireworks that people are setting off everywhere as if it were New Years day. Our local “mkponani” is still thundering and reverberating every 30 minutes or so (and it is not from Government House). Street parties are everywhere. Young men are walking around without their shirts on, singing. It is a city-wide celebration down here in the Coal City. We thank God Almighty for everything. He (not man) is indeed the Author and Finisher of our fates. Glory be to God. Long live Governor Sullivan Chime. Long live the good people of Enugu State.
Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria