•Ailing Reps Minority Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor
Amidst concerns and rumours over the whereabouts of the minority leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Leo Ogor, some of his colleagues have downplayed insinuations that the man is hospitalised. However, that is contrary to findings by Saturday Telegraph, which traced the lawmaker to a Switzerland hospital, where he is currently undergoing treatment for partial paralysis, popularly called stroke.
Information available at our disposal also has it that a speech therapist had been engaged to help the recuperating lawmaker get back to his normal voice, which was distorted after the affliction.
The politician, who had been conspicuously absent from plenary since the National Assembly (NASS) returned from recess is, nonetheless, said to be responding to treatment.
A family source, who spoke on the matter, explained that Ogor is in high spirits and may soon return if current efforts aimed at revitalising him work. “He in Switzerland as we speak, he is in the hospital and he is cooperating very well with the medical team. He is now undergoing speech therapy, if things work according to plans; he should not stay long in that country.”
When probed on the cause of the ailment, the family member noted that stroke is “usually associated with stress”, saying, he won’t rule out the possibility of political pressures and a probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“The man is jostling to return to the NASS and he plans to move up to the Senate. But the EFCC is trying to scuttle that for him, they are looking into his claims on constituency projects.
“He would surely get the Senate ticket if they don’t trouble him again, because his constituency loves him, they want him in the Senate. But the EFCC has asked him to come clean; they might not allow him to run. You know this is politics, he is in the opposition and they may want an APC man there in 2019, though PDP controls his state”, the source said.
The deputy minority whip, Hon. Binta Bello Maigari (PDP Gombe), who was among those that denied the news of the ailment, said there is nothing wrong with the opposition leader.
Maigari who spoke in an exclusive interview with Saturday Telegraph explained that the PDP caucus leader was only attending to some pressing family issues.
She also added that his absence on the floor of the House in recent times should not cause panic since like many lawmakers, Ogor has his private life and can travel too. “We are barely some weeks back from the annual recess and it is not only the minority leader that has been absent on the floor. There are other members who are not yet back too; some have gone for checkups; so his own case is not different.
“He is hale and hearty and I think he has some family problems, which he is trying to settle and once he is through with them he will be back”. Many lawmakers contacted declined to comment.
A two-time PDP legislator from the South-South who is close to Ogor spoke on condition of anonymity. He posed a couple of questions as to why the absence of the minority leader has become an issue.
“Why are you journalists always concerned about issues that are personal? It is true that our leader was not seen in the chambers last week and this week, but can’t he travel? And if he travels, must it be sickness.
“Even if he is sick, is he not human? President Buhari was away to London for almost half a year but nothing happened. If he is ill as you people are alleging, let us pray for him instead of making an issue out of it.
“But I am sure if anything is wrong with the leader, it would not have been a hidden matter”, he stated. One of the aides of the minority leader also denied that his principal is ill as being insinuated, noting that Ogor only travelled and this won’t be the first time that he would travel.
“I am sure it is oga’s opponents that are spreading these rumours. Nobody flew him out of the country; he walked on his legs when he was travelling, so which stroke are they talking about? “But I am telling you he is not sick. I am sure he will be back soon and all these rumours will be put to rest,” he reassured.