Every September of each year remains a remarkable one for the Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical province of the Catholic Church, Archbishop Anthony John Valentine.
Obinna was consecrated the Bishop of Owerri Diocese on Sept 4 1993 after he was appointed by July of that year. But this year’s edition is remarkable considering that it is his 25 years as the Chief Shepherd of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese.
The fiery cleric who in most cases has become a thorn in the flesh of the political class has worn for himself accolades in the society, not only from the laity and clerics of the Catholic but even beyond because of his profound love to kick against bad governance and policies targeted at diminishing populists interests.
Apart from raising the moral fiber of the society through spiritual works, Obinna has been a great agitator for the abolishment of Osu Caste system in Igboland.
In several fora where he had opportunities to preach, the Emekuku-Owerri North born priest has not failed to kick against injustice and race discrimination.
Beginning from the military era, Obinna was vocal against the “Khaki boys” opposition to the enthronement of democracy rule. He was branded not just a NADECO Chieftain but the spiritual leader of the pro democracy group who agitated against the Gen Sani Abacha military junta opposed to the return of democracy to Nigeria.
At a time during the struggle, the Archbishop of Owerri Diocese who joined the march against Abacha by the pro democracy advocates was almost detained and incarcerated for his involvement.
The advent of democracy did not shut his mouth or close his eyes to ills perpetrated by civilian administrators. One outstanding preacher who have stood against any mischievous rule by elected persons in the State has always been the Archbishop.
Trumpeta can recall that during the Achike Udenwa era, Obinna picked on him for certain lapses leading to the former governor, who is a Catholic avoiding church programs conducted in Assumpta Cathedral, the Bishop’s abode.
Before then, the Archbishop pioneered the fight against mounting the Ikenga statute at the popular Govt House Roundabout.
The Ikedi Ohakim era also renewed Obinna’s quest to speak for the people. Trumpeta can reveal that the circumstances surrounding Ohakim not getting a second term can be attributed to the Bishop’s interest disapproval arising from the purported clash the former governor had with a priest.
Governor Rochas Okorocha has also had a fair share of Obinna’s unbiased dosage of kicks against mal administration. The litany of the Bishop’s preaching’s target at the governor’s Rescue Mission may have forced his administration to keep off even as near brushes involving the Bishop and agents of the state government on two occasions cannot be overlooked.
And who is Anthony John Valentine (AJV) Obinna, many Catholic faithful refer to Amarachi Born on June 26 1946 to late Mr and Mrs Micheal Obinna of Emekuku, Owerri, Obinna was ordained a priest of the Catholic Church on 9th April 1972, graduating that year from the Bigard Memorial Seminary and the Pontifical Urban University Rome, with a First Class Honours Bachelors degree in Divinity (B.D).