Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Amid rumoured reports that Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, is ill and flown abroad for medical attention, some aides of the governor yesterday denounced the reports, saying the governor was neither ill nor gone overseas for medical attention.
When THISDAY contacted the governor’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Charles Aniagwu, yesterday for his reaction on the state of health of his boss, he described the reports as “simply a baseless rumour which some online media have as usual feasted on without verification.”
Aniagwu said he actually left the governor’s office (Governor’s Lodge) earlier while “His Excellency was busy treating the files I brought to him and other files on his table,” saying he had no idea what the source of the rumour about Okowa’s poor state of health.
THISDAY checks with other close aides of the governor at the Government House, Asaba, were similar to the explanation given by the Aniagwu.
They stressed that the fact that Okowa was said by the reports to have been flown abroad after he allegedly slumped in the office last Wednesday really exposed the falsehood in the report.
They maintained that the governor was neither “seriously ill” nor travelled out of the state even since the time he was allegedly flown abroad, according to the social media stories.
Moreover, THISDAY noted that the governor’s wife, Mrs. Edith Okowa, was one of the dignitaries at the grand finale of the Chevron Arts Competition and exhibition for Nigerian secondary schools held in Asaba last Thursday, where she played a major role in the presentation of speeches and prizes to the winners.
It is doubtful if the governor’s wife could be so busy about several official assignments while her husband, the governor was seriously I’ll and even flown abroad as the rumour mill claimed.
THISDAY could ascertain from the checks yesterday, that Okowa, who is a medical doctor, was still in Asaba, the state capital, contrary to the rumours.
Further checks revealed that the rumour of Okowa’s sudden medical trip abroad might not be unconnected with his reported “minor injury” he sustained from “some broken wall tiles” in the governor’s lodge.
The governor reportedly sustained the minor injuries on his leg from the broken tiles that peeled off the wall of his bathroom last week.
Okowa was said to have subsequently stayed away from most public functions, with his deputy, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro representing him at such occasions, including the Teachers’ Day celebration of October 5 at the Cenotaph, Asaba.
Otuaro also represented Okowa at aforementioned Chevron Arts Competition final ceremony as well as the ceremony marking the commencement of the 2016/2017 legal year of the state judiciary held in Asaba on Monday.
Okowa’s absence from public functions probably fuelled speculations about the state of his health with a section of the media going to town with the news that the governor was not only seriously ill but flown abroad for medical attention, a story that was widely echoed especially in the social media and online newspapers.