Governor Rochas Okorocha has made an about-turn on the decision to rename the famous Assumpta Avenue to Muhammadu Buhari Road following the tension and criticism which greeted his unpopular decision.
“Assumpta Avenue is symbolic for both religious and historic reasons in Imo State, and these facts are not lost on the government and people of Imo State. All inconveniences occasioned by the initial oversight or error of wrongly installing a Street sign, suggesting a renaming of the street is highly regretted,” the state commissioner for information, Professor Nnamdi Obiaraeri, said.
Despite the government’s regrets it appears the battle line has been drawn between the governor and the influential Catholic Church in the state which has stepped up its criticism of Okorocha in recent times.
The Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical province, Dr. Anthony Obinna said Catholics are not celebrating the reversal, and wondered why Okorocha seeks to destroy everything that predated his administration.
“Catholics were already putting heads together to face the unwarranted and most uncharitable frontal attack on the Church, when he retraced his locus. His misdeed had already reached the ends of the earth before he did the needful,” Archbishop Obinna said.
Several residents of Owerri who have been speaking on the incident criticised Okorocha for trying to play God. An Owerri lawyer, Chikaodi Igbokwe, said the governor’s offence was worse than “slapping a reverend father”, referring to the allegation which turned Catholics against former governor Ihedi Ohakim. “After that rumour gained ground, nothing could save that government.,” he said.
A Catholic knight, McDonald Ebere said, “This is the beginning of the end and there shall be no end until the beginning ends”.
Some Catholics declared three days of fasting “for God to manifest His power in Imo State, and deliver His children from the evil leadership of Governor Rochas Okorocha. Strict adherence to this call will go a long way to salvage Imo State.”