Archbishop Obinna and emerging political dynamics in Imo

He is a clergyman- the Archbishop of Owerri Catholic Diocese. Archbishop AJV Obinna is the spiritual father of all Catholics in Imo State. And this is why he earns enormous respect and recognition from all Catholic faithful who constitute more than half of the Imo population.

He has stood out as a firm believer in justice and equity. When Col. Tanko Zubairu was Imo State military administrator and wanted to remove the Alvan Ikoku College of Education and Federal College of Agriculture, Umuagwo from their locations, the Archbishop led the campaign to oppose such plans. His efforts succeeded when the then government reversed its stance.

AJV Obinna has always stood on the side of the masses, a kind of a pro-people advocate and this is why when he begins to intercede on issues of governance in the State, it really puts a check on the excesses of public office holders navigating the ship of governance.

He had gone ahead to introduce upright voting and other forms of sensitization campaigns to enlighten the electorate on the need to be active players in the election process of the state. In other words he gave voice not only to Catholics but to the entire people of the state to have a huge say on who becomes their leader. This is why many Imolites attribute the ascension of Governor Rochas Okorocha to power in 2011 to the Archbishop who has been severally accused of showing preference for the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.

Okorocha was APGA candidate in 2011 and because news spread like wild fire that the then PDP Governor Ikedi Ohakim had assaulted a catholic priest, it became a huge factor that led to the fall of Ohakim’s reign as Imo State governor. That underscored the power of the Catholic community and the enormous influence the Archbishop wields in the political arena of Imo State even though he is no politician.

In 2011, a public debate was organized by the Catholic Church where all governorship aspirants gathered at Odenigbo pavilion at Assumpta Cathedral to unveil their plans for the state when elected governor. Okorocha took advantage of the debate to earn the approval of the masses who seemed impressed with his oratory skills as a genuine prerequisite to be elected governor.

However, the tide seems to have changed as the Archbishop is visibly displeased with some of the anti-people policies of the present administration- policies that has hit so hard on the common man in the state. And he must have waited for Okorocha which was his preference for his son in law as his successor.

Archbishop Obinna in his Easter message described it as “incestous democracy” which should be rejected. He said the time has come for Imolites to rise up and free themselves from bondage. After he was allegedly assaulted at a funeral at a Catholic Church in Ngwoma, he has been vocal against the Okorocha government mainly on the choice of a son-in-law taking over from a father in-law.

The Archbishop had told newsmen in his office” I did not endorse Uche Nwosu’s candidature. It is against equity. He came here and I advised him to look at the temptation of the governorship before him.

“His governorship ambition is not his original idea. It is Okorocha’s idea to have his son in-law as governor and his daughter as first lady. It is incestuous democracy. The report that I endorsed him is irresponsible.

“Seriously speaking, I have no intention of endorsing his governorship ambition. This is my principled stance. Does it mean there is no other person in Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe Zones that can be governor?”

His persistence on the subject matter had earned reprisals from the Imo State Government who accused him of planning to install an APGA Governor in 2019.

“It has become obvious that the Archbishop has intensified his disdain or hatred for APC, President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Okorocha this time because of the 2019 election” Sam Onwuemeodo, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Okorocha wrote in a statement.

Certainly, the Archbishop has become a focal point in the emerging political dynamics that is shaping the journey to 2019 polls in Imo State.

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