BY TONY EDIKE
ENUGU — NATIONAL Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, yesterday, explained that the former Biafran leader and Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, undergoing treatment for stroke in London, was not abandoned by his family, Anambra State governor, Mr. Peter Obi or the party.
Umeh said Ojukwu had been under excellent medical care since he took ill last December 1.
He stated that from the time Ojukwu was attacked by stroke till now, “he had been under generous support by his wife, Bianca; APGA and the governor of Anambra State.”
Umeh dismissed media reports insinuating that the Ikemba had been abandoned in an old peoples’ home in London as an act of mischief and blackmail.
At a briefing in Enugu on Ojukwu’s health, he said Ojukwu’s survival till date was because of God’s mercy as all the patients he met at the Intensive Care Unit of the London Clinic before and those admitted after him died from different ailments had died, adding that it was a great miracle.
APGA chairman said Governor Obi had promptly settled Ojukwu’s medical bills since he moved to the London hospital, explaining that he had enjoyed the best medical treatment overseas, having been placed under the care of medical experts in Nigeria and abroad.
He said: “Our attention has been drawn to several media articles, both on the internet and in some magazines, insinuating that the leader of APGA, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, has been abandoned in his ill-health. I wish to speak on this matter as the national chairman of APGA and, hereby, state without any equivocation that Dim Ojukwu has been under excellent medical care since he took ill December 1, 2010.”
“From the time he was attacked by stroke till the present day he has been under generous support by his wife, Bianca Ojukwu, the APGA and His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, Governor of Anambra State. When he first took ill on December 1, he was immediately looked after by two Professors of Medicine here in Enugu namely Professor Vincent Ike, a Consultant Cardiologists and Professor Augustine Nwabueze, a British-trained Consultant Neuro physician.
Under their close watch, Dim Ojukwu was managed with excellent medical knowledge within the first two weeks and when he slipped into coma on December 19, 2010 he was immediately moved to the UNTH Enugu where he was taken in by the Intensive Care Unit of the Teaching Hospital.
“Before he slipped into coma efforts were initiated and intensified to fly him abroad. We had to go through the process of getting visa and arranging Air Ambulance to evacuate him from Nigeria. When the situation was deteriorating, efforts were intensified in all these directions and successfully on December 23, Dim Ojukwu was flown to London by a German Air Ambulance that came directly from France to Enugu to take him. He was accompanied on that trip under very critical condition by his dear wife, Bianca Ojukwu and his Chief of Staff, Prince Bob Onyema. Two of them with the Ambulance Team left Enugu airport for London under very critical condition.
“In London, he was immediately admitted at the London Clinic where he was moved into the Intensive Care Unit, ICU. From December 2010 to March 2011, Ojukwu remained in the ICU of London Clinic. It was by the mercy of God that he went through that process and recovered consciousness and came out of ICU. There is no gainsaying that all the people he met at the ICU, I mean co-patients including those that came in after him all died except him to the Glory of God.
“When he recovered sufficiently at the London Clinic, he was moved to Wellington Hospital still in London where he stayed between March and May this year. There his recovery was intensely facilitated. When he improved substantially, he was again moved to Lydenhill Therapeutic Centre in Twyford which is very famous in the world for physiotherapy. All these three hospitals mentioned enjoy excellent facilities with very brilliant doctors and other professionals.
“At the Lynenhill centre, he had chest infection due to cough and he was quickly moved to Berkshire hospital that was nearby the Therapeutic Centre and he has since been there under excellent care and he is responding to treatment. All his medical bills from December 23 when he was moved to London and around these various hospitals, had been promptly paid by the Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi till date.”
Umeh further stated that Ojukwu’s wife, Bianca had been with him in London all through except on the occasional times she visited Nigeria to see her children and take care of the few house needs before going back to London and “as I speak with you today, she is still in London and I have spoken with her this morning.”
“Since Ojukwu’s movement to London I as the National Chairman of APGA and my wife have visited him in February and also visited him after the election in May where I went to brief him on the outcome of the elections.
The governor of Anambra State had also visited him. When I was in London, our new Governor of Imo State, His Excellency, Rochas Okorocha came on May 13 with his wife and I took them to the hospital where they saw Ojukwu.
“Other notable members of our party have also visited Ojukwu in London since then. The acting Nigerian High Commissioner to London, His Excellency, Ambassador Dozie Nwanna who hails from Awka, since Ojukwu’s arrival in London on December 23, became part of the daily routine for monitoring his health, first as the Nigerian High Commissioner to London and two, as an Igbo man including his wife,” he said.
According to Umeh, former Health Minister, Dr. Tim Menakaya, Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and so many other Igbos had visited Ojukwu in London, adding that at the London Clinic and Wellington hospital “Ojukwu is known as a General and excellent and qualified professionals took special interest in him and they said they have never had such a patient in their history going by the way people had been coming to see him, that he must be a famous man.”
He said that the situation had made several people to go into the internet to read about Ojukwu just as any nurse that was attached to him saw it as a privilege and would give him the best service.
The APGA leader declared that Ojukwu who would be 78 in November this year, had never lacked care to warrant the media outburst that he had been abandoned in old people’s home, describing the reports as premeditated acts of blackmail.
He insisted that Ojukwu had remained under exceptional care and love since throughout his indisposition, saying even though the stroke that inflicted him was a massive one, “it has been a difficult situation to manage but for the excellent facilities, the ingenuity of the medical personnel and the grace of God it would have been a different story today.
Umeh stated that it was needless talking about the cost of keeping Ojukwu alive because “no cost will be too much to bear to keep him alive” adding that cost was not a consideration in the way he was being managed. He, however, called on Nigerians and Ndigbo to continue to pray for Ojukwu’s quick recovery.