On Wednesday December 14, 2016, the Imo State Chief Executive, Owelle Rochas Okorocha took out time to take swipe on the Owerri Metropolitan Prelate of the Catholic Ecclesiastical Province, Archbishop Anthony J.V. Obinna for expressing his concern on the plight of his flock, the children of God who have been under subjugation over the years especially the elder statesmen and women who have been condemned to imminent death through hunger and starvation occasioned by non-payment of their monthly emoluments, spanning between 12 to 33 months arrears of pension.
The Governor in his capacity had threatened to pull the Archbishop down as he did to the now scattered All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the ladder through which he came to limelight and power. The question remains, What is the offence of Archbishop Obinna and what is the grouse of Owelle Rochas Okorocha against the shepherd of God’s flock and a citizen of Nigeria?
Religion as an institution of man has all the legal and moral rights to exist while the church as a corporate citizen cannot extricate itself from politics and government administration.
This is so because political actions or government’s policies affect members of the church and its leaders who are also citizens of the state. It is a known historical fact that from prehistoric time that religion, church and government are inter-twined and as a matter of truth, religion has had the upper hand. Temporal powers had always derived authority from spiritual powers. The clergy crowned the king and not vice versa.
It has always been pride, arrogance, selfishness and greed that have forced leaders like Governor Okorocha to challenge and attempt to usurp the powers and authority of spiritual leaders. He has once boasted to be both the political and spiritual leader of Imo State hence his less regards to those with spiritual authorities in the state. Okorocha having ascended the throne has forgotten and kicked off the base ladder through which he ascended — the church and the masses. Yesterday, it was my people, my people, today it is kill them, burn them, take their land, stop their business, seize their wages – people die! People die!! People die!!!
What is the sin of Archbishop Obinna— speaking out against the injustice, maltreatment and gradual genocide of elder statesmen of Imo State through hatred, starvation, hunger and denials of fundamental human rights of existence. Sadism at work, beating a child and gagging his mouth from crying.
The recent action or policy of Governor Okorocha and his government on Imo pensioners is ‘mass murder’ with the blood of the dying aged men and women crying to heavens for vengeance, and God’s real agents can no longer shut their mouths and watch this abomination take place. Pension and gratuity in modern government had existed and operated in civilized societies hundreds of years before the birth of Okorocha. As a matter of fact, these are part of the wages of the workers held in trust by government allowed by the constitution to be repaid gradually to the worker when he becomes feeble, weak and unable to fend for himself. It is life saving insurance. Any deduction by anybody for whatever reason is stealing.
The public ought to avail themselves of the recent document produced by this administration and issued to the pensioners to sign their death warrant. Imagine where government owes a retiree 30 months of pension arrears and now wants to pay him for 12 months, then government computes the total wage to this 12 months may be at N14,000 a month, may be about N17,000 then government says it will pay 40% of the total for 12 months, which when computed amounts to N70,000. The retirees are now subjected to sign on oath a guarantee that he has forfeited the rest to Rochas, that he will never, now or in future, demand for the balance of 60% of 12 months pay nor the full payment of the other 18 months. This is justice and equity in the eyes of Governor Okorocha and anyone who shouts foul over this mass massacre becomes his enemy. If we can decorate walls, streets and trees at a cost of N600million Christmas funfare; we can as well use same amount to save lives.
All the legal draught men and administration that drafted the formula and designed this grand program of the governor will never live to see old age nor ever live to enjoy pensions.
That attack on Archbishop Obinna is unnecessary, uncalled for, an antithesis to religion, a challenge to God’s institution and a mark of devil’s action in the antichrist. Let Imo Governor and his cohorts retrace their steps on the march to the genocide of the gerunds of our age. These men deserve our sympathy and their wages for labour done in the past. Leave Archbishop A.J.V. Obinna alone, he has a right to politics of the day.
(“Culled from Community Watch Dog” Editorial of December 20-23, 2016 edition)