At a burial service on Saturday in Owerri North local government area of Imo state, the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, AJV Obinna, strongly criticised the Imo state government and openly asked the congregation to vote against the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019.
As he spoke, supporters of different parties, especially the PDP and APC took the microphone in turns to speak in support of the Archbishop’s position or condemn him. The situation almost turned violent.
Among the members of the congregation was the wife of the Imo governor, Nkechi Okorocha, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Acho Ihim and the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Uche Nwosu (who is the son-in-law of the governor and has been endorsed for reelection by his father-in-law.)
Despite the criticisms by Archbishop Obinna, the government entourage remained calm, according to most reports from the service. However, other reports soon surfaced that Nwosu, the chief of staff, reportedly ordered an assult on the Archbishop.
Okorocha defends his beloved son-in-law
Worried about the accusations taking root, Gov. Okorocha has put out a statement absolving Nwosu of any blame. He said his son-in-law never assaulted or ordered an assault on Obinna.
Speaking in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo in Owerri, the governor said the news that his son-in-law supervised the assault on the archbishop by members of All Progressives Congress was a “blackmail being orchestrated by the opposition.”
Okorocha said the opposition had seen his son-in-law as the aspirant to beat in the race to the State House, and now uses the church against the “project.”
He boasted that his son-in-law’s governorship aspiration has been endorsed by God and 24 out of the 27 LGAs in the state.
Okorocha said, “We say this for posterity sake. Imo people, including youths, students, men and women have “thrown their unalloyed support behind” the youthful Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu, for the 2019 governorship in the state.
“He has become the subject matter as long as that issue is concerned, with APC officials and leaders from 24 out of the 27 local governments in the state having already endorsed him for the 2019 Imo guber.
“Now, seeing Uche Nwosu as the guy to beat in the 2019 election, they now think that there is no other way to stop him than through unwarranted blackmail.
“That is the reason such a quintessential gentleman and an embodiment of decency should be associated with whatever that transpired at the event in question.”