Enugu State Deputy Governor, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi, on Wednesday slumped while testifying before the panel of enquiry that is investigating impeachable allegations levelled against him by the state House of Assembly.
The deputy governor had testified for about three hours in his own defence when he suddenly complained of dizziness and collapsed into his seat.
Onyebuchi’s wife, Nneka, and some of the deputy governor’s aides, who were present at the sitting, were said to have rushed to his aid and revived him before he was rushed to the hospital.
His lawyer, Ogochukwu Onyekwuluje, said, “What happened is that the deputy governor was giving evidence but at some point he developed dizziness and had to be rushed to the hospital.
“They have diagnosed blood pressure and a medical report has been brought, showing the state of his health.
“He suddenly developed a high blood pressure.”
The panel, which initially adjourned its sitting till 2pm as a result of the development, was unable to continue again for the day as reports from the hospital indicated that Onyebuchi had suffered from high blood pressure, and as a result, needed to rest.
Journalists were not in the courtroom when the incident occurred because the panel had barred the press from covering its proceedings.
Our correspondent learnt that Onyebuchi slumped barely about five minutes after the Chief of Staff to Governor Sullivan Chime, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, who is widely seen as Onyebuchi’s major adversary, entered the courtroom in company with the state’s Attorney-General, Mr. Anthony Ani, SAN.
Although Onyebuchi was accused of running an illegal poultry, and allegedly refused to represent the governor at official functions, there have been insinuations that his real offence had been his intention to contest the Enugu East Senatorial Zone seat, which is said to have been reserved for Nwobodo.
Nwobodo’s presence in the courtroom was in response to summons served on her on Tuesday by the panel.
As of the time of filing this report, Onyebuchi’s condition was said to have been stabilised, having received treatment at the undisclosed hospital but his lawyers were said to be hopeful that the panel would shelve its sittings until next week to give the embattled deputy governor enough time to recuperate.
The lawyers blamed their client’s failing health on the impeachment proceeding against him.
Onyekwuluje, who spoke to our correspondent, said that the impeachment proceeding had taken its toll on the deputy governor.
He said, “What we believe is that he suffered some temporary dizziness; when he started he complained that he was not feeling well and he was given a bottle of water.
“He was seated and was giving his evidence slowly when he complained that he was not seeing very well and was feeling dizzy; you can see him bending down.
“It was in the course of the evidence that the chief of staff walked in with the attorney-general.For the past one week he (Onyebuchi) has been coming here (before the panel), running around trying to defend himself.
“This must be as a result of the stress he was going through. He will not be fit to continue today (Wednesday), if the panel agrees we will probably come back on Monday.”
Onyebuchi had denied the allegations brought against him by the lawmakers.
Onyebuchi was specifically accused of running an illegal poultry in his official residence at the government house, in spite of a resolution of the house of Assembly, forbidding such action. He was also accused of refusal to represent Chime at official functions, despite directives from the governor instructing him to do so.