Following rumours making the rounds in Nasarawa State that Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura has died while receiving treatment abroad, his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Yakubu Lamai, has denied such rumours, saying they are “malicious and callous”.
According to the rumors, the governor had slumped at the Government House, Lafia, during official hours and had to be flown to an undisclosed hospital abroad for allegedly suffering from kidney ailment.
However, on Tuesday, the rumour mill went agog with the unsubstantiated news that Mr. Al-Makura, who is seeking re-election for a second term on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had passed on.
The mood around Lafia, the state capital, was somber yesterday as residents were seen discussing the rumoured death of the governor in groups, while some were frantically making phone calls to senior government officials to confirm the rumour.
However, in a press statement issued yesterday evening, Mr Lamai said, “Our attention has been drawn to rumours being peddled mostly online and by the word of mouth that the health of His Excellency, Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, is at risk or in question.
“We wish to use this medium to assure the citizens of Nasarawa State and confirm with clarity that Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura is alive, hale and hearty and in excellent health.
The statement said the rumours may not be unconnected with the electioneering campaigns when some publicity strategists deploy every available means of getting at their opponents.
“We recognise that this is election campaign period and publicity strategists are likely to use every available tool to gain public attention including peddling unfounded rumours about the governor’s health”, the statement reads in part.
The statement, which pointed out that Gov. Al-Makura was not new to political campaigns, called for steadfastness from the citizens of the state, even as it appealed to all and sundry to focus on making the ongoing campaigns and forthcoming elections issues-based.