Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has described the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole’s recent apology, on his behalf, to the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Anthony Obinna, as a cheap blackmail.
Governor Okorocha said he has no problem, whatsoever, with the Catholic Church and wondered how Oshiomhole came up with the apology.
Okorocha, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, said: “The National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, was reported in the media to have apologised to the Catholic Church in Imo State and the Archbishop of Owerri Catholic Diocese, Bishop Anthony Obinna, for whatever ‘Sin’ Governor Okorocha must have committed against them. The APC national chairman did not mention the sins that warranted the apology. He kept his audience guessing.
“In responding to that deliberate blackmail, 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. We would not, therefore, throw caution to the wind like he did, when he abused or attacked governors in his party as if he was the publicity secretary of any of the political parties in opposition.
“If he had asked questions, he would have discovered that members of the Catholic Church in the state constitute the bulk of Governor Okorocha’s supporters, especially at the grassroots. They voted for him overwhelmingly in 2011 and 2015. 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 high esteem and has no personal problem with the outstanding man of God. But, the truth is that the archbishop, perhaps, expects the perfect leadership expected in heaven to be established in Imo, which is not possible. And that could be the reason he 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. 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 Igbo 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.”