Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 24 May 2017 | 1,326 times
Two religious groups under the umbrella of International Centre of Igbo Clergy (ICIC) and Anambra Unite Against Denominational Discrimination, Tuesday accused Governor Willie Obiano of denominational discrimination since he took over the seat of power in 2014.
The groups said they would not want to see Obiano return for a second term in office as they will deploy everything within their power to stop him from winning the November 18 governorship election in the state.
Addressing Journalists in Awka, the President of ICIC, Apostle Jeff Onyeamalu and Chief Anthony Chigbo, who spoke on behalf of the groups, advised all political parties that would present candidates for this year’s governorship election, to ensure that only people with liberal orientation were nominated.
While noting that non Catholics cannot afford to have Obiano return for a second term in office, the group noted that their desire is for the next Governor to be fair to all, irrespective of the denomination they belonged.
The groups, however, said they did not have any candidate in mind, adding that their main concern was to give the entire Anambra people equal opportunity that would help engender peace and unity in the state.
Speaking through an open letter to Obiano, the group said, “Without prejudice, the cries of non-Roman Catholics and liberal Roman Catholics in Anambra State have reached its apogee and only a rational, equitable, just and fair understanding of Roman Catholic brothers and sisters of conscience will see the immediate need for remedy.
“In 2013, when Anambra voters cast their votes for you, they were exercising their civic responsibility and right based on your pedigree as a technocrat with enviable track record. Anambra voters trusted you for who you are and your potential to leave the state better than you met it, not dominated by your Christian religious sect – Roman Catholicism.
“To God be the glory, you have been found wanting and have shirked from your executive constitutional responsibility to do justice to all men, irrespective of their creed.
“A cursory look at your political appointments reveals gross injustice, marginalisation, discrimination and callous disposition towards non – Roman Catholic denomination. The statistics are so shocking that we decided to attach it as an annexure so that you may not only be convinced of the justice of our case, but also that you may convict yourself and quietly withdraw from the race.
“We are not insinuating that you are the cause, but indeed, we are of the opinion that you have failed to recognise and appreciate the voting power and capacity of non-Roman Catholics that entrusted you with their votes without denominational prejudices.
“Since 2003, except for an interregnum of 90 days, Roman Catholics have held executive power in Anambra State, that is, 14 uninterrupted years in a stretch.
“If you are permitted to do another four-year term, it will translate into 18 years. Power corrupts, but absolute power not only corrupts absolutely, it also leads to impunity.
“That is the reason why in the space of a little less than 14 years, knowingly or unknowingly, there is incontrovertible evidence of Roman Catholicization of every position of authority in Anambra State to the gross exclusion and disadvantage of non-Catholics.
“Denominational domination is a subtle form of neo-colonialism that has institutionalized itself in the political and economic space of Anambra State.
“We are not oblivious of the fact that power is not given, but taken; it is fought for, and that we are ready to fight if you do not heed our timely warning to quit on account of equity, fairness, and good conscience.
“Consequently, we are presently engaged in sensitising, mobilising, organising, and collating data based information of eligible non – Roman Catholic and liberal Roman Catholic registered voters domiciled in Anambra State.
“The results thus far are both overwhelming and confounding as they are shocking to find that Roman Catholicism, with all the might of your government, shall be most damningly crushed at the forthcoming election.
“And never again shall our people be so secretly manipulated by a few against the overall interest of the majority.”
Reacting to the group’s statement, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Legislative Matters, Prince Oliver Okpala said: “I sincerely doubt if these men are actually men of God who should work in consonance with Biblical injunctions of loving your neighbour as yourself, that men should not judge and that judgment is that of the omnipotent God Almighty.
“In a nutshell, they are politicians in cassock, their statements should be treated as statement coming from politicians in religious disguise because they have taken side and talking like people coming from the opposition.
“The question of election is a constitutional privilege and right of every Nigeria and citizen; they have no right to ask Obiano not to exercise his right. No person has the right to decide.”
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