From Angela Nkwo-Akpolu, Owerri
But for the quick intervention of priests and Knights, the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, would have been brutalized by thugs suspected to be working for the Imo State government.
The thugs, led by notable politicians in the state, were among the sympathisers who had gathered for the funeral mass of Mrs. Mbata, mother of Chief Alex Mbata, the Pro-Chancellor of the Imo State University (IMSU) at Ngwoma Obube, Owerri North Local Government Area over the weekend.
During the homily, Archbishop Obinna had condemned what he described as a�?poor governancea�? in the state and had berated the leadership style of Governor Rochas Okorocha, particularly the accuracy of information dished out through the social media by the state government.
The remarks did not go down well with the governora��s supporters, who almost beat up the Archbishop.
While lamenting what he described as excruciating suffering of the ordinary people and poor governance in the state, the Catholic cleric said people hired to get endorsements for the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship ticket for Chief Uche Nwosu, Governor Okorochaa��s son in-law and Chief of Staff, a�?should be careful and allow the electorate freely decide who should govern thema�?.
He had urged the congregation to obtain their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) as such remained the only legitimate instrument for determining the political leadership for their state in 2019.
Archbishop Obinna also made other remarks considered uncomplimentary to the government of Imo State, even as he commended Chief Mbata for singlehandedly constructing a 10 kilometre road for his community.
Our correspondent reported that at the end of the Archbishopa��s remarks, another speaker who was presumed to be a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), lampooned Governor Okorochaa��s Rescue Mission Government, which was said to have infuriated some of the associates of the state government, who rushed to the alter and snatched the microphone dressed the cleric down.
Specifically, the General Manager of Imo State Environmental Transformation Commission (ENTRACO), Mr. Jeff Nwoha and others tried to stop the presumed PDP politician from speaking by dragging the microphone, leading to the commotion.
Sensing danger, Archbishop Obinna retreated to his seat at the altar, while Nwoha and the other persons engaged in a thug-of-war with the concelebrating priests and Knights in attendance.
Wife of Governor Okorocha, Nkechi and Chief Nwosu attended the funeral mass but did not move an inch or say anything while all these happened.
Their calmness sparked off avalanche of criticisms against the state government which was accused of sponsoring the crisis.
When contacted to explain what prompted him to do what he did, Chief Nwoha ignored calls put through to him and every other effort subsequently made to get his side of this matter failed.
Archbishop Obinna had last month honoured former governor Ikedi Ohakim, and the move was described as meddling in the mucky waters of politics by the Imo State government operatives.
From Angela Nkwo-Akpolu, Owerri