Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Second Republic Vice President, Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, is alive and stable, the family has announced.
A section of the social media had reported that the octogenarian had passed on in a London hospital in the early hours of yesterday. The rumour of his death had spread like wild fire in Enugu as residents continued to reach out to journalists to confirm the â€œsad newsâ€.
The elder-statesman had reportedly collapsed almost two weeks ago at his residence located at the Independence layout, Enugu, and was admitted at the Intensive Care Unit of Memfys Hospital for Neurosurgery near Trans Ekulu, Enugu.
The family dismissed the rumour of his death as â€œwickedâ€, noting that the former vice president was already recovering and has not been flown abroad yet as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement yesterday by the family spokesman, Mr. Uche Ezechukwu, the Ekwueme family said: â€œThe wicked rumour making the rounds about the deterioration of the condition of Alex Ekwueme is totally untrue.
â€œThe truth is that the elder statesman is alive and well. His condition is not only stabilising but improving considerably.
â€œIn fact, the former VP has moved from a stage of unconsciousness to a state whereby he now receives visitors, sits up and eats.
Relatedly, the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province of Anglican Church, Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma has dismissed reports that ailing former Vice President, Chief Alex Ekwueme has passed on.
Archbishop Chukwuma spoke yesterday afternoon after visiting Ekwueme at the Memphys Hospital of Neurosurgery Enugu where he spent some time with him.
The former Vice President is one of the Archbishopâ€™s parishioners at Cathedral of the Good Shepherd Independence Layout Enugu.
At about 2.25pm, the top Anglican cleric came out of the hospital ward.
Before leaving the hospital, Chukwuma told journalists that there was no iota of truth in the rumour about the former vice presidentâ€™s death.
He said efforts were in top gear to fly him abroad as soon as possible.
â€œThe rumour making the rounds is not true. I can tell you as we speak that arrangements are being finalized by the federal government to get an air ambulance to fly him abroad. He will be flown abroad as soon as the federal government gets an air ambulanceâ€ Chukwuma said.
â€œIt is also important to inform that Ekwueme is yet to be taken abroad, as the necessary documentation and preliminaries are on course and arrangements are being completed.
â€œAny statement I make on the elder statesman are impeccable and have full authentication of the family,â€ Ezechukwu said in the statement.
When THISDAY visited the Memfys hospital yesterday, nothing suggested that Ekwueme had either passed on or flown abroad, as his security detail was seen within the hospital premises.
When contacted, a close relative to the former Vice President who spoke on grounds of anonymity said â€œ Thatâ€™s a wicked rumour.
â€œWhat do you want me to confirm, rumour? No now. If anything happens, God forbid, you will be in the know,â€ he said.
In the same vein, the Personal Assistant to Ekwueme, Osita Okwor, declined comment, saying he was not the right communication channel.