Monday, August 26, 2013

I Was Amused Reading My Obituaries - Governor Chime

AS he strode to a more relaxing seat from the exalted one where he signs the executive decisions that run Enugu State, Governor Sullivan Iheanacho Chime set the mood for the interview at the Lion Building, Enugu, his official quarters.

He sat just a metre away. Our feet could have been touching if he did not cross his in a regal posture that he varied as the interview ran. His towering presence made one instantly think of a basketball professional in other climes. He was snug. He seemed to have put aside the trappings of office for the thrills of this encounter.

The handshake was firm, not beyond a clench that could have suggested bellicosity. He was in high spirits, discussing his health with unpractised frankness. “I was amused reading the reports about me, especially the several obituaries,” he said, as he went on talking about his recovery.

A long queue of guests was waiting for him. He was to conclude the day’s business by 4am and was back at work after a few hours’ sleep. It is a routine he maintains. Enugu, the challenges of re-inventing a 101-year-old city, and his joy at the opening of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport radiated as he accounted for his six years in office.
With two years to the end of his administration, Governor Chime talked as if he was writing his handing over notes. He bantered and countered as we talked Enugu politics, the opposition andhis position on 2015 and the race to succeed him.

“It may be interesting to know if those who opposed the building of the mall at Polo Park are not among the regular shoppers,” he joked about the fiery army of opposition, whose voices are drowning in the flood of plaudits over his performance.

A lawyer by training, but a practical politician dedicated to the people, he said the matter of Nsukka (Enugu North) producing the next governor was not a promise, but an agreement that equity and justice support. “It did not have to be written, such things are never written,” he said.

What follows is Governor Chime, mostly in his own words…


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