By Tony Edike
ENUGU—Deputy Governor of Enugu State, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi, slumped yesterday while testifying before
the impeachment panel probing allegations of misconduct leveled against him by the State House of Assembly.
He was rushed out of the court hall for medical attention at about 11.38 am by his wife, Mrs. Nneka Ada Onyebuchi, his children and some of his aides.
The deputy governor had arrived the court in company of his lawyers yesterday morning and began his evidence at 9.30 am but three hours five minutes later, he reportedly collapsed and his wife and others present rushed forward to rescue him.
One of the defence counsels, Mr. Peter Eze, said the deputy governor collapsed five minutes after the Chief of Staff, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, and the state Attorney General, Mr. Anthony Ani, SAN, came into the court.
Eze said the deputy governor was immediately rushed to the hospital, while the proceeding was stood down till 2pm.
Onyebuchi’s lead counsel, Mr. Chris Aghanwa was said to have informed the panel when it resumed sitting that the former governor suffered from postural hypotension. He said that the Deputy Governor was first rushed to one Dr. Akunyili of St. Leo Hospital who could not handle it and invited one Dr. G. C. Anisiuba, a Consultant Physician and Cardiologist who attended to him. The doctor then issued a medical report “which reveals that he had postural hypotension for which he is now receiving medication.” Aghanwa, tendered the medical report and informed the panel that his client could not continue with his evidence yesterday.
Deputy Gov’s aides testify
The panel had on Tuesday listened to the testimonies of the deputy governor’s aides and personal staff who gave account of what they knew regarding the poultry at the deputy governor’s lodge and the alleged refusal to represent the governor at two events.
The embattled deputy governor’s lawyers had at the resumed sitting of the panel on Tuesday, complained about the problems they encountered in serving the subpoena issued by the panel summoning the Chief of Staff to the governor, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, and seven other persons to give evidence in the matter.
One of the lawyers told newsmen after the sitting Tuesday that three police officers attached to the deputy governor who were among those summoned, were prevented from appearing before the panel by their superior officer at Government House.
The panel, however, refused to grant the deputy governor’s application that the press be permitted to witness his own evidence given yesterday so the world would be informed of what he had to say and the questions he had to answer.
The defence counsel, however, opened the defence of the deputy governor on Tuesday with the testimony of the his first witness, Adaobi Obiefuna-Ezenwa, who resided in the deputy governor’s lodge between 2008 and 2010.
The witness told the panel that the deputy governor started living in his official residence in 2008 and that towards the end of that year, they started a poultry at the residence.
She said there was a poultry attendant, while she was in charge of cleaning the poultry every morning.
According to her, she feeds the birds while a veterinary doctor was in charge of vaccination.
The witness also explained that “the normal routine then was every morning the poultry attendant, Chinwe Ezugwu, will clean the poultry and feed the birds, and then the veterinary doctor comes at interval to give vaccination and drugs as the case may be.”
She stated that at the time she entered the deputy governor’s lodge, there was a poultry structure already in existence.
The witness also said she had a 1st Degree in Crops Science from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and a Masters Degree in Business Administration (Management) from UNEC and that she was a marketer for the poultry section.
Two other witnesses, Timothy Ngba-Ekon and Chika Nwoko, also testified and told the Panel that they worked at the Deputy Governor’s Lodge as poultry attendants, explaining that their work was to sanitise the poultry. They said they cleaned the poultry twice daily and that they never suffered any illness as a result of the presence of the poultry farm in the Deputy Governor’s Lodge.
According to them, they were on duty on January 27, 2014, when people who identified themselves as staff of the Ministry of Enugu Capital Territory came with buses and trucks into the Deputy Governor’s Lodge and took away about 3,000 birds, the eggs and other accessories in the poultry.
They said that when the ECTDA officials were carting away the birds the deputy governor did not hold anybody or prevent any body from doing what they were doing.
The cook to the Deputy Governor, Mrs Chinyere Ogbuke also testified informing the Panel that she and her children live at the Boys Quarters in the Deputy Governor’s Lodge and has never perceived any odour emanating from the poultry house because it was always cleaned by poultry attendants.
On the allegation that the Deputy Governor refused to attend the meeting of the South East Governor’s Forum on July 6, this year, the security man at his private residence told the Panel that he was never given any manifest on the night of July 5th 2014 by Barrister Emeka Asogwa, the Chief of Protocol.
He stated that Emeka Asogwa, visited the house of the Deputy Governor in the night of 5th July 2014 and spoke with the Deputy Governor on the phone before he was allowed to enter the premises.
Samuel Odo, the driver to the Deputy Governor testified and told the Panel that he drove the Deputy Governor to Onitsha for the flag-off of the second Niger Bridge on 13th March 2014 and that they arrived the venue at about 10 am.
It will be recalled that the AIT had televised the video recording to the Onitsha event where the Deputy Governor was seen sitting beside his Anambra State counterpart, Dr. Nkem Okeke.