His Grace Anthony Obinna, the Archbishop of Owerri, has no apology for saying that Imo State needs a seasoned administrator to govern it and not Uche Nwosu. “What we need is a democratically elected Governor and not a handpicked successor”. The Archbishop also has no regrets in saying that Governor Okorocha cannot succeed himself and that pushing for his son-in-law, Ugwunba Uche Nwosu, to replace him is an indirect way of doing that, which is unacceptable. That was basically the beginning of what caused the fracas at a funeral mass at St Michael’s Catholic Church, Ngwoma, Saturday 3rd of March. Party supporters loyal to Governor Okorocha and Uche Nwosu, his son-in-law, caused mayhem and pandemonium at that funeral Mass, following the Archbishop’s comment and two responses apparently from an APC and PDP supporter. Then hell was let loose.
Speaking to the congregation which included Uche Nwosu and the Governor’s wife, Nkechi, His Grace condemned the idea of imposing a candidate on the people, and urged the faithful to register and arm themselves with their voter’s card, for next year’s election. “You cannot impose anyone on the people. Your vote will decide. We have become miserable. Imo is now an empty basket. Rebuilding Imo State and restoring its dignity is a challenge. Get your voter’s card. Let us vote for mature, responsible citizens who will serve the people not dominate them,” the Archbishop said. His Grace also said, “Imo needs a seasoned technocrat who will right the wrongs and correct several anomalies and hardship inflicted on the people by the present administration and not the Governor’s stooge who lacks the experience and maturity needed for such exalted office. It is wrong to impose his son-in-law. Imo needs a seasoned administrator, not Uche!” The Archbishop emphasised that the Governor could not replace himself and imposing his son-in-law on the people was wrong. He strongly advised the people to register, get their permanent voter’s cards (PVC) and prepare to use their votes to get their desired candidate.
The Archbishop’s advice follows a decision of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) for the church to help end people’s apathy towards voting by encouraging the faithful to register and be prepared to exercise their civic responsibility. While the Archbishop was speaking at the mass, two other men who raised their hands were allowed to speak. One of them, obviously a supporter of Governor Okorocha, defended the Governor saying he was doing well. The second speaker, however, spoke against the Governor, saying that there was much poverty and pain in the land, demanding a change of government in the next election. It was at that point that APC supporters went berserk. The Bishop was not physically assaulted but he was insulted.
Meanwhile, a communiqué issued by the Restoration Coalition, a group from the All Progressive Party (APC), Imerienwe in Ngor Okpala, L.G.A, condemned what they called the “clandestine endorsements”, indiscriminate adoption and wanton “anointments” of certain elements in the APC. “It is quite disturbing that these endorsements obtained by blackmail, coercion and intimidation are taking place in the hallowed orbit of the Imo State Government House under the watch of the Governor. We are embarrassed because this theatre of absurdity, as we have confirmed, has the full backing and financial muscles of Imo State Government as the person being endorsed, one Chief Uche Nwosu, his son-in-law, is also his serving chief of staff. As a matter of fact, this is an anomaly and points to a dangerous and destructive party politics of APC in Imo State,” the Coalition also said.