In what appears a rendition of his relationship with the Catholic Church, Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha has said what he has done for the Catholic Church, no other State Governor whether military or civilian in the State had done so.
The Governor and the Catholic Church In Imo State have a strained relationship which dates back to 2015. The relationship worsened when the Archbishop of Owerri Catholic Diocese, Archbishop Obinna attacked the Governor’s choice of his son in law and Chief of Staff as his successor.
The Archbishop in his Easter message said he is not afraid of arrest.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemedo, the Governor said he has continued to show amazing love and unbridled respect to the Owerri Catholic Archbishop, AJV Obinna.
Reacting to allegations made by APC chieftain and Director General of Voice of Nigeria, Chief Osita Okechukwu against him that he is piting the Catholic Church against the APC, Okorocha in the statement said Mr. Okechukwu is one of those who have the erroneous feeling that the only way they can grow in APC is attacking or pulling him down.
He recalled his role in the 2015 elections, stating that Okechukwu managed to get 15,000 votes in his home State of Enugu.
The Statement reads in part “Don’t forget that President Buhari got only 14,157 votes in Enugu State where the DG comes from, and got 133,253 in Imo not minding that Imo was the target of the PDP-led Federal Government’s onslaught in the 2015 election with thousands of soldiers and other security agencies besieging the state.
“If the governor didn’t mean well, he would not have taken President Buhari to the Archbishop. But two days after that visit, the LEADER Newspaper owned by the Archbishop had a banner headline, “Alhaji in Government House”. The name “Okoro-Hausa” also came from the same source.
“And if the campaign of the PDP and a section of the Church that Buhari and Rochas would Islamise the South-East if APC wins didn’t get to Enugu State it means the presence of the party in the State was never considered a threat. But in Imo, that was the major campaign. Mr. Okechukwu won’t understand because he was contended with his much talked about relationship with the President” the statement stated.
He recalled that he was made to take an oath at Assumpta Cathedral during the 2015 campaign that would not help Islamise Nigeria and that he is not a member of Ogboni.
” And he did. Yet the attacks intensified. When the debate for guber aspirants organized by the Diocese was disrupted they said it was Rochas who had not even arrived the venue when the thugs clashed”
He wondered why some APC chieftains have taken it upon themselves to attack him unnecessarily, stating that recently he donated a N100 million naria to the Catholic Church in Okigwe.
“Meanwhile, the governor has donated N 100million on behalf of the State Government to Okigwe Catholic Diocese to assist in the completion of their Cathedral, and assured that the government would continue to play the needed role to see the Cathedral completed, advising that the Diocese should begin the building of a University” the statement stated.