While he was away, there was speculation that he was receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment in a London hospital. The governor admitted that he was ill, and that after he found that he had cancer of the nose, he had to find a way to get it treated.
His admission has portrayed a number of government officials in Enugu State as “peddlers of falsehood“. This is because while Governor Chime was away, they had continuously denied that his absence was due to medical reasons.
Chime revealed to the News Agency of Nigeria the events that led to his diagnosis and treatment:
“In August last year, I was privileged to be one of those nominated by the Nigeria 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 medicals, 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 further investigate 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.
“Cancer is such 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 has 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. By Monday, I commenced treatment. Cancer is a deadly disease and the cure is also deadly. It’s not like Panadol, not drugs we buy off the counter. You go through different stages. The treatment altogether lasted for 12 weeks and throughout the treatment, I was an out-patient. I was never admitted in any hospital in London. During the period of the treatment, I had challenges and these are challenges I will not even wish my enemy to go through; it’s not easy to imagine.
“The treatment ended on December 14 and the period of recovery commenced. I was asked to stay away from office for six months but by late January when we went to review my state, they were shocked with my recovery rate which showed that the tumour had gone. I was almost declared cancer free. I will be required to be going there from time to time, but I can assure you that they succeeded in curing the disease.”