Ailing Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State may be “smuggled” into the country on December 31, the SUNDAY PUNCH learnt on Friday.

Chime left the country on September 19 for medical treatment but the state government had continued to insist that he was only on vacation.

The six weeks leave of absence Chime applied for ended on November 2.

It was gathered that the state government muted the idea to bring Chime back in order to stop the state House of Assembly from initiating an impeachment process against him.

To make the journey back to Nigeria easy and without any discomfort for the governor who, had reportedly been bedridden since September 20, 2012, a reliable source at the Enugu State Government House stated that Chime was moved from an undisclosed hospital in New Delhi, India to another in London on Wednesday.

Pleading anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, the source said, “Chime, from what his wife said, is receiving treatment for leukaemia (cancer of the blood) and other diseases. There are plans to bring him home this year before the lawmakers make any move.”

Meanwhile, members of the Enugu State House of Assembly are weighing the option of impeaching Chime, among other considerations, if he fails to return to the country by January 2, 2012.

They commenced this move after the acting Governor, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi, presented the state 2013 budget last Friday.

Speaking to our correspondent in confidence, some of the lawmakers stated that the decision to commence impeachment process against Chime if he failed to return by January 2 would be the right step in the overall interest of the state.

One of the lawmakers, from Enugu East, said, “I think most of my colleagues are now convinced that we must act now to save us from this unwarranted embarrassment. We are concerned about the health challenges of the governor, but the state must move on.

“Another option, if we must give the governor a soft landing, is to empower the acting governor to function as a substantive governor.”

“If we do this, it would adequately fill the vacuum that Chime’s absence is currently creating.”

- The Punch