The Chief of Staff to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Mr. Chijioke Nwakodo, is dead.
Nwakodo, 56, died in a London hospital on Thursday evening, his younger brother, Mr. Obidike Nwakodo, told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Friday in Umuahia.
He added that the news of his brother’s death was communicated to the family on Thursday evening.
Nwakodo said that arrangements were on to formally convey the message of his death to the governor.
NAN learnt that Nwakodo, a father of two, was appointed Chief of Staff to the governor on June 3, 2015. The politician/businessman was born on March 29, 1961.
He was a one-time chairman of Umuahia North Local Government Area between 1999 and 2002. His supporters nicknamed him “Zero allocation”.
The deceased also served as the chief economic adviser to former Governor Theodore Orji.
When NAN visited his residence, his younger brother, Obidike, was seen receiving calls from sympathisers who trickled into the house of the deceased to confirm his death and to offer sympathy.
It may be recalled that the whereabouts of Mr. Chijioke Nwakodo was once a subject of public concerns.
On November 4, 2016, a popular Lagos-based news magazine had published a report entitled, “Where is Abia Gov’s Chief of Staff?”
Here’s the story: The sudden disappearance of Gov. Ikpeazu’s Chief of Staff, Chief Chijioke Nwakodo, has become a source of worry to many in the state, especially in his clan, Ibeku ancient kingdom.
The silence on his whereabouts has given room to many conflicting stories. For over five months, this former chairman of Umuahia North Local Government Area has not been in his present office as Chief of Staff to Governor Victor Okezie Ikpeazu. Several stories have been making the rounds in the state.
A source close to his office said that before his disappearance, the Chief of Staff came to office one morning full of life and vibrant in his usual nature. He, after exchanging pleasantries with some visitors waiting for him, went into his office, sat down and shortly after, he fell down from the chair, complaining of a severe waist pain.
Another source in government house said he slumped while sitting on his chair, screaming about his waist; while another said he did not slump immediately but stood up from the chair, holding his waist before he slumped.
According to this last source, he was rushed to an undisclosed hospital. Since then to date, he has not resumed office and his whereabouts unknown to many.
While some government officials say he is receiving treatment in Lagos, some of his kinsmen say he was flown to India, some said he is in London, while others say he went aboard to visit his wife. With about five months gone, no one has come out to make a categorical statement of his whereabouts. The latest rumour from his home town is that Chief Chijioke Nwakodo is no more.
Some of them were quoted as saying they believed the story; if not, why is it that barely two months after the absence of the Chief of Staff, the Governor appointed his Adviser on Security Matters, Chief Ukpai Agwu Ukpai, as Deputy Chief of Staff? His kinsmen are not helping matters; some said he is alive, others argued that their political generalissimo is dead.
One of his cousins, a major transporter and Labour Leader in Abia State, Chief Sunny Nwakodo, however said in a phone call that Chief Chijioke Nwakodo, popularly known as the Major, has recovered and will soon be back.
A phone call to Chief Chijioke Nwakodo was not picked but rang and rang out, nobody picked the call.
In Ndume Community where the Chief of Staff comes from, the people are still in the dark over the whereabouts of their son, Nwakodo, and the state of his health.