Key politicians in Anambra state on Saturday, June 17, 2017 carpeted Governor Willie Obiano for making ‘questionable’ claims at a special synod service in honour of Bishop Owen Nwokolo of the Basilica of St Andrew, Odoakpu, Onitsha, who was celebrating his 50th birthday.
The bishop was also launching his new book as well as an event center for the diocese.
The arrival of the governor at the middle of the service, nearly caused a stir when his supporters dressed in campaign outfits tried to gain access to the front seats reserved for dignitaries and members of the clergy but were prevented by church officials.
Obiano however drew the ire of some church members and other politicians when he turned what was supposed to be a goodwill message to the celebrating bishop to a campaign speech for which he held the stage for almost an hour.
There was murmuring in the congregation when Obiano among other things claimed that he had instituted free education in Anambra State and that the state was not experiencing the current economic recession in the country. Obiano further claimed that his administration has completely turned around the fortunes of the state adding that he was not ready to quit office until 2021, a statement which was applauded by his supporters.
It took the intervention of a priest to bring the governor back to the issue of the day.
Politicians at the event rejected Obiano’s claims and took turn to vilify him for using the church service for political campaign.
Challenging the governor, frontline contender in the November 18 governorship election in the state, Chief Osita Chidoka said it was wrong for the governor to use the altar for political campaign. He faulted Obiano’s decision to finance the proposed Anambra airport with inflated $2 billion loan from China saying such will mortgage the future of the state. Chidoka said the airport can be built with much more lesser amount. He added that the time has come for the resources of the state to be prudently managed for the welfare of the ordinary people in the state.
Also speaking, Hon Tony Nwoye, who represented business mogul; Arthur Eze expressed dismay that Obiano chose to use the altar for politics. He said the governor was not truthful and has a lot of question to answer on how he has been spending the funds meant for the development of the state.
Also challenging the governor were Senator Andy Uba and Hon. Charles Odedo who also pilloried the governor for demeaning the altar to further his political ambition. Senator Ubah said the governor should concentrate on the remaining seven months of his administration and forget about a second tenure which he said lies with God and the people.
Earlier, while giving his opening remarks, Chidoka, who was the Chairman of the occasion extolled the virtues of the bishop and prayed for God’s continued guidance in his ministry.
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