Governor Rochas Okorocha has expressed confidence that Catholics in Imo state will vote for his choice of gubernatorial candidate in 2019. Vanguard reports that Okorocha made this statement on Monday, March 19, through his chief press secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo.
The governor said he has not offended the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Anthony J. V. Obinna and expressed confidence that 95 percent of members of Owerri Catholic Diocese are his strong supporters, including the elder brother to Archbishop, Paddy Obinna. “In 2019, no doubt, the members of the Diocese will also vote for the governor’s choice for the governorship because they know the truth of this whole story. They know that the governor has never in any way offended the Archbishop or the Diocese.
“In 2011 and 2015 respectively, Governor Okorocha and his Party APC won overwhelmingly in Owerri Municipal where most members of Owerri Catholic Diocese reside. And more than 95 percent of members of the Diocese including the Archbishop’s Senior brother and a frontline Politician in the State, Sir Paddy Obinna have remained as we write, strong supporters of the governor and the Rescue Mission administration.”
“We also want to use this opportunity to appeal to THE LEADER newspaper owned by the Diocese to stop damaging the reputation of the Archbishop by publishing falsehood and blackmails as if it is an opposition medium.”
It was reported that Catholic archdiocese of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province said it “will not bury it’s head in the sand like an ostrich, while things go wrong in Imo state, no matter the volume of threat and intimidation” from the government of Imo state. The archdiocese also promised to hold Governor Okorocha responsible, if anything happens to his grace, Archbishop Anthony Obinna, or any of those he works with, Vanguard reports.
The church believed that the press conference addressed by Okorocha’s liaison officer, Edward Ihejirika and special adviser on electoral matters, Steve Asinobi, in Abuja, was a “a declaration of war on the Archbishop and the Catholic Church.”
According to the archdiocese, the duo not only accused the archbishop of “blackmail and intimidation”, but also warned that the Okorocha administration would “not handle him (Archbishop Obinna) with kid gloves, as was done by the Ikedi Ohakim government.”