Okorocha Denies Rift with Catholic Church, Cautions Oshiomhole over Utterances

Rochas Okorocha

Amby Uneze in Owerri

The Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum and Governor of Imo State, Mr. Rochas Okorocha, has said that he had no issues with the Catholic Church in the state especially with the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Anthony Obinna as alleged by the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole recently, claiming that the bishop wanted a perfect leadership in the state which was not possible.

Okorocha responded through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo to the allegation by Oshiomhole who had rendered an apology to the cleric last week when he was defending the decision of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling party over the rejection of the nomination of Uche Nwosu, Okorocha’s son-in-law, as the governorship candidate of the party in the forthcoming election in the state.

Okorocha described the apology as uncalled for since there was no issue at stake with the clergy.

According to Okorocha, “we won’t toe the path of Oshiomhole. We recognise the fact that he is the National Chairman of a ruling party which President Muhammadu Buhari is the leader, and we would not therefore throw caution to the wind like he did, when he was abusing or attacking governors in his party as if he is the Publicity Secretary of any of the political parties in opposition.

“If he had asked question, he would have discovered that members of the Catholic Church in the state Cconstitute the bulk of Governor Okorocha’s supporters especially at the grassroots. They voted for him overwhelmingly in 2011 and 2015 respectively. And he has never taken their support for granted. He has shown gratitude in several ways which cannot be catalogued in this response, including making them majority in his cabinet.”

“And for Archbishop Obinna, the governor holds him in a very high esteem and has no personal problem with that outstanding man of God. But the truth is that the Archbishop perhaps expects the perfect leadership expected in heaven to be established in Imo State, which is not possible. And that could be the reason he had had issues with Col. Tanko Zubairu, Achike Udenwa and indeed Ikedi Ohakim.

“The Archbishop is the spiritual father of the governor. And the governor has never let him down. And Oshiomhole should find out from President Buhari whether Governor Okorocha took him to the Archbishop in 2015 when he came on campaign for a private meeting that lasted more than an hour.

“To us, that was a high demonstration of respect and regard. But guess what? Two days after, the newspaper owned by the Archbishop came up with a banner headline “Alhaji in Government House” and part of the story was that the governor was taking young Igbos to the North to be Islamised. All these were part of the campaigns to discourage Imo people from voting for him, APC and President Buhari. These are the issues.

“So, Oshiomhole’s apology was a badly tailored blackmail. And somewhat inciting. He is only trying to justify the blunder he contracted and dispatched Ahmed Gulak to commit in Owerri. And the man has put himself on trial. And that is the reason since that woeful and awful outing he has made more than nine claims to see how he could recover, but all to no avail. He murdered sleep and would remain awake.

“We want to remind Oshiomhole that he is the National Chairman of a ruling party. His actions and utterances should reflect the dignity such office carries. For instance, when Governor Okorocha spoke to the media after meeting with the president, one could see maturity in his speech. He didn’t start calling Oshiomhole names because calling names is meant for touts.

“As a matter of fact the National Chairman didn’t treat the concerned governors well no matter his reasons. He should not expect them to go home celebrating. In the circumstance, his utterances and actions should be responsive and reconciliatory, to a very large extent. And not a declaration of war”, he stated.