BY CHIDI NKWOPARA, OWERRI.
Governor Rochas Okorocha has again come under fire as a fiery Catholic cleric, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, has accused him of giving a N50 million dud cheque to the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace, Dr. Anthony J.V. Obinna.
Mbaka told the congregation that Okorocha allegedly gave the dud cheque when the Archbishop wanted to re-roof Maria Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri, that was leaking a the time.
“A lot of funny things are happening in Imo State now. Workers are sacked with impunity. Governor Okorocha gave the Archbishop a N50 million cheque that bounced and this is supposed to be a Catholic”, Rev. Fr. Mbaka said.
He recalled with grief how Catholics and all Christians rose with anger when a story rented the air that Chief Ikedi Ohakim flogged a Catholic priest.
“I recall vividly that not long after I released a song to that effect, I invited the priest at the centre of the alleged beating, Rev. Fr. Eustace Okorie, and sought to know he truth from him. He denied that Ohakim flogged him and since this is the true position, I must also tell the world that Ohakim never dehumanized a priest”, Mbaka said.
Reacting to the allegation, Governor Okorocha’s media aide, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo said Imo State Government never gave Archbishop Obinna N50 million dud cheque.
“Let us simply aver and solemnly too, that the claim is not only false, but spurious and curious in many respects. There is no iota of truth in the wild allegation. You can call it an unholy blackmail, taking into account the person behind it”, Onwuemeodo said.
He challenged Rev. Fr. Mbaka to go beyond his claim and provide the proofs since cheques are not invisible objects, adding that “since the false claim on the N50m dud cheque didn’t come from the Archbishop of Owerri Archdiocese or from any of the priests in the Archdiocese, it becomes reasonable for us to make do with our candid denial”.
Onwuemeodo further stated that with this latest blackmail, Nigerians of goodwill would now begin to appreciate the orchestrated and politically motivated lies being unleashed against Governor Rochas Okorocha’s government by those vividly desperate to take over power from him in 2015.
“Fr. Mbaka is not a priest in Imo State, talk more being a clergy in the Owerri Archdiocese of the Catholic Church where highly respected and a very decent priest, Archbishop Obinna superintends. You then ask yourself what is the interest of Rev. Fr. Mbaka”, Onwuemeodo said.