Mr Obiano was intercepted by law enforcement at the airport in Lagos as he tried to board a flight to the United States.
That development triggered speculations that the former governor tried to evade arrest and possible prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which had in late 2021 placed him on its watchlist.
But speaking exclusively to PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday, Mr Obiano, through his lawyer, Patrick Ikwueto (a Senior Advocate of Nigeria), said he was not fleeing Nigeria. He said he was rather hurrying to keep a doctor’s appointment to treat a “semi fatal condition”.
“He was not running away,” Mr Ikwueto said. “Why will he run away when his family is here and he has a lot to do here? The fact is that he (Obiano) has a medical condition for which he had a prior appointment to see his Specialist Doctor for treatment at Spring Creek Urology Specialists LLC, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
“By the nature of his ailment, he has been undergoing treatment at the said Specialist Hospital since June 2021 and had an appointment earlier scheduled for the final stage of Specialist Radiography for eight (8) weeks – which will take place immediately upon his arrival at the Facility in Houston, Texas, U.S.A; and thereafter, after four days. Subsequent treatments are scheduled every day for a period of eight (8) weeks.”
Mr Ikwueto said the former governor had since mid last year received treatment at the U.S. medical facility every three months.
“The last time he was there was December 2021 and became due for another round of treatment this March shortly before he handed over to Soludo,” the lawyer said.
Mr Ikwueto declined to disclose the exact ailment Mr Obiano is treating but PREMIUM TIMES learnt the former governor was diagnosed with prostate cancer early last year.
“He (Obiano) was lucky that the disease was detected on time. It was still at an early stage when he was diagnosed last year,” said a source familiar with the former governor’s medical condition. He asked not to be named because he had no permission to discuss “private and confidential matters” concerning Mr Obiano.