The controversy surrounding the health status of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Abia State, Prof Uche Ikonne, took a new twist yesterday as the state Governor Okezie Ikpeazu confirmed that he is sick and indisposed but will bounce back soon.
However, an activist, Cmr Duke Enyinnaya Ako-Atulomah told LEADERSHIP that the health condition of the governorship candidate is worse than it’s been portrayed.
The whereabouts of Ikonne, a former vice chancellor of Abia State University, Uturu has been topical as he has been absent since the commencement of the campaigns ahead of the governorship election.
Speaking during a live programme on Flo FM, Umuahia, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu said Ikonne was also present in his house when a gala night was organised in honour of the G-5 Governors “till 2am when he managed to give a speech and then he took ill”.
“It is unfortunate that he is lately indisposed but I want to report some progress and the progress is that Prof. Ikonne is recovering gradually and progressively.“
According to him, “Ikonne has left the hospital and is going through convalescence. I am sure that he will be strong enough in the future to join us.”
However, Ako-Atulomah who spoke exclusively to LEADERSHIP said Ikonne’s health is worse than it is being portrayed by the governor, adding that the people of Abia are being lied to about the severity of the candidate’s health.
He said the PDP governorship candidate in Abia State was taken to a hospital in the United Kingdom where he was diagnosed as having a stroke.
Ako-Atulomah, who resides abroad, said Ikonne spent no less than three weeks in a hospital in Manchester. He said he saw the governorship candidate at the hospital which prompted Ikonne’s minders, who recognised him, to hurriedly move the candidate to another location.
While confirming that Ikonne’s health crisis began when the G-5 governors visited the state to flag off the PDP campaigns last year, the source said the candidate slumped in the course of the event and was rushed to the Federal Medical Center in Umuahia from where he was taken to what he called a spiritual center in Enugu.
He noted that upon realisation that the spiritual center couldn’t heal the candidate, his handlers hurriedly flew him to the UK for proper medical attention.
He said, “They took him to the Federal Medical Center in Umuahia. But the hospital couldn’t handle it so they took him to a spiritual home in Enugu.
“They did everything but were not seeing results in the spiritual home so they made plans for him to be flown abroad. When they brought him to the UK, they took him straight to a hospital in Manchester where he was diagnosed as having a stroke.
“Immediately one of them saw me at the hospital, they realised that their location had been exposed. So they moved him out of that hospital to an unknown place.”
He said an air ambulance was chartered to bring back Ikonne to Nigeria because no airline accepted to carry him because of his health condition.
“So they chartered an air ambulance and took him back to the spiritual home in Enugu. But the man rejected him because he was angry they didn’t have confidence in his abilities to heal him before.”
He added that upon rejection by the Enugu spiritual healer, the candidate was taken to Abuja and kept in a private residence before he was later taken to another healing center in one of the southern states.
He said, “As I speak to you, Ikonne is incapacitated. He cannot continue. They have been begging me not to talk. But I have told them that the only thing I want is for them to tell Abians the truth about Ikonne’s health situation.
“I am not happy that Ikonne is sick. We are not happy because they are playing politics with the man’s health situation and lying to the Abia people.
He further challenged Ikonne to address NdiAbia from anywhere he is, adding that if the candidate does so, “I will personally write a newspaper publication and apologise to him and start supporting him.”
Miffed at the attempts to cover up the health condition of the candidate, he said, “For the past two months nobody has seen the man and campaigns have been going on. The first lie that the governor told was that he missed his flight.
“I live here in the UK. We know most of the flights that leave the UK. If there is any delay we know. I have not seen any flight that has been delayed throughout that period until Ikonne left the UK.
“Also they lied that he came to the UK to organise a town hall meeting with Abians in diaspora. I belong to all the Abia groups in the UK. There is none I don’t belong to and whatsoever event that is being done as long as it has a connection with Abia, I will duly be invited. I have also called all the leaders and people that matter in all the Abia groups in the diaspora. Nobody has given any information that aligns with the lies they have been telling NdiAbia,” he said.
Reacting however, the Abia North zonal chairman and acting publicity secretary of the party, Elder Amah Abraham, confirmed to LEADERSHIP that Ikonne was treated abroad and has returned to the country.
He said at the moment Ikonne is receiving additional medical attention and recovering fast just as he has indicated interest to join the campaign which is approaching the peak.
According to Abraham, who expressed confidence in the electoral victory of the ruling party, it is by the members intervention that Ikonne has not joined the campaign team because they want him to be fully recovered.