By Chinonso Alozie
OWERRI—IMO State Governor, Rochas Okorocha yesterday, said Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Anthony J. V. Obinna cannot install a governor of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA extraction in the state in 2019, as he failed to do so in 2015 when he first attempted.
Okorocha also asked the archbishop to apologise to him over comments made against his administration.
The governor through a release by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Sam Onwuemeodo in Owerri claimed that Obinna had alleged that anybody who didn’t listen to the lone voice of the governor risks arrest and imprisonment.
Governor Okorocha said he considered the comment as a blackmail of his person and government, which the archbishop attacked, hidding under an Easter message.
In the release, Okorocha challenged Obinna to justify the statement credited to him (Obinna), or apologize to his government if he cannot justify his comment.
The statement read: “We have read the latest accusation by Archbishop Anthony Obinna of the Catholic Diocese of Owerri against Governor Rochas Okorocha and we shall continue to show our respect for the Archbishop. But one fact remains sacrosanct, he cannot install a governor of APGA extraction in 2019 because he could not also do that in 2015 when he first tried it.
“The Archbishop had hidden under his Easter Message Press Conference to continue his onslaught on the governor and his Rescue Mission government, making it the tenth time in less than two months the Church leader had descended on the governor and the administration.
“Of all the allegations the Archbishop made against the governor, the most unfortunate was the one he said that Governor Okorocha is the only voice which everyone has to listen to and obey, otherwise, arrests and imprisonments would follow. This is the height of blackmail.
“We wish to challenge the Archbishop to mention just one person the governor or government has arrested for any reason including criticizing him or anybody the governor has imprisoned since he came on board as governor in 2011.
“Where the Archbishop fails to do this, we ask with every sense of politeness that he corrects that false claim and if he deems it worth-doing, apologize to the governor.
“Of all the governors that had governed the state both military and civilian, Okorocha stands out to be the most tolerant and accommodating. We stand to be challenged on this assertion.
“The overwhelming love of Imo people for the governor means more to us than the weak voice of the opposition in the state made up of few politicians.
“It has become obvious that the Archbishop has intensified his disdain or hatred for APC, President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Okorocha this time because of the 2019 election. And the Archbishop should know that most people have become fed up with his repeated unprovoked and unwarranted attacks on the governor and his government, using every platform and every event available to him. We do not think that the Archbishop should be doing that for the benefit of a particular political party or certain politicians.
“Our happiness is that majority of the members of his Diocese do not share the same views with him.”
No going back on endorsement of Nwosu—Speaker
Meantime, reactions have continued to greet the endorsement of the governor’s son-in-law, Mr. Uche Nwosu, by 20 Imo lawmakers just as the Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Mr. Acho Ihim yesterday said there was no going back on the endorsement.
While some described it as an unacceptable action, some said it was a step aimed at empowering politically the younger generation in the state.
Others argued that the Speaker should be impeached while some opined that for 20 lawmakers to have endorsed Nwosu out of 27 lawmakers, the people of the state had spoken.
The Speaker, Mr. Ihim, bragged that, “It means that the entire Imo people have declared their support and as representatives of our people, we took this decision after an extensive consultations with our constituents.”
He said: “We, the 20 Imo lawmakers support unequivocally the governorship aspiration of Ugwumba Uche Nwosu. We therefore call on all Imolites everywhere to ensure that this aspiration comes to fruition.”