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Fr. Mbaka Vs Rochas: Owerri Archdiocese clears the air, says no dud cheque



The Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri has reacted to the raging controversy between Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, Spiritual Director, Adoration Ministry, Enugu Nigeria (AMEN) and Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State over N50m donation to Owerri Archdiocese by the State Government.


Fr. Mbaka, was alleged to have descended heavily on Governor Okorocha, for allegedly issuing N50m “dud” cheque to Owerri Archdiocese “even after voting massively for him in the 2011 governorship election”.


Worried by the controversy, the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, which was severally mentioned in the media war, decided to clear the air on the issue.


The Leader confirmed that the cheque donated to the Archdiocese for the rehabilitation of Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri did not bounce as alleged by Fr. Mbaka.


The Vicar General of Owerri Archdiocese, Fr. Patrick Ibole regretted the controversy and said Fr. Ejike Mbaka is not a priest of the Archdiocese and should have no business on such matters. He said he should restrict his operations to Enugu and not instigate bad feelings in Owerri. “Fr. Mbaka doesn’t have the facts and should not talk about what he doesn’t know.”


Earlier in a press release, the Director of Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu had said that the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri would like to believe that Fr. Mbaka might not have made “this care-free statement”.


Fr. Nwachukwu said, “Fr. Mbaka is not a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri and has no right to wade into this strict Archdiocesan affair.


“Moreso, he is not the Vicar-General, the Secretary or Chancellor nor the spokesman of the Archdiocese.


“We regret the statement and consider the apparent controversy as unfortunate.

“Owerri Archdiocese will not be a party to any statement that negates peace and love or heats the polity of the land”.


The release made it clear that “the Archdiocese has no apology for this messy situation rather takes a distance from the apparent cold war between the Imo State Government and Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka”.


Fr. Mbaka was quoted as saying that he was misled then into believing that Governor Ohakim flogged a Catholic priest; that all efforts he made to get Ohakim’s side of the story then was unsuccessful as his aides did not allow him access to the governor.


Fr. Mbaka, who was seen blessing former Governor Ohakim and his wife, said, “After the blackmail and falsehood that Ohakim assaulted a Catholic priest, the man who benefited from the whole thing is now dealing with the people as well as destroying the state.  Even our Archbishop in Owerri is now crying”.


“Could you imagine that our cathedral in Owerri is almost collapsing and what this man (Rochas) could do was to give the church a N50 million bounced cheque?  As I am speaking now, Rochas is dealing with the people.  Infact, that man is not a blessing to Ndi Imo and I wonder the kingdom where he came from…”


Reacting to the “dud cheque allegation” the Imo State Government said that the allegation was not only false, but spurious and curious in many respects, as there is no iota of truth in it.


In a press release issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Sam Onwuemeodo the government averred that the claim is not only false, but spurious and curious in many respects. “It is important to also state that since the false claim on the N50m dud cheque didn’t come from the Archbishop of Owerri Archdiocese, Most Rev Anthony Obinna, or from any of the priests in the Archdiocese; it becomes reasonable for us to make do with our candid denial. But honestly it hurts and calls for a lot of concern when a priest, a well known one for that matter begins to feed innocent flocks with induced lies.”



USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas



USAID averts 25,000 unwanted pregnancies in Ebonyi, Kogi

…Umuagwo Varsity of Agric kicks-off October

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun Covid-19 testing in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, “in a bid to reduce the impact of community spread of the virus in the rural areas of the state.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba disclosed this in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday.

Chief Emelumba said so far, the USAID officials have carried out reasonable number of testing in Njaba LGA and reported that all those tested came out negative and that the council prayed that the result from other Local Government Areas will be the same.

He announced that the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the take off of the Imo State University for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo in October this year.

According to him, the approval underscores the efforts which the Imo State Government ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma has made towards the establishment of a second university for the state.

Recently, the NUC panel was in Imo State to carry out the necessary verification exercises on the state facilities, human and physical infrastructures.

Mr. Declan Emelumba, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, Commissioner for Health Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, informed that the Executive Council is happy that something new is happening in the Education Sector of the State.

Emelumba said that the Imo State University of Science and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo will take off by October when other universities would be resuming for a new academic session.

In the same vein, the Council has approved the immediate relocation of Faculty of Engineering Imo State University Owerri to its permanent site at Okigwe, stressing that Government has put all processes and facilities on ground to ensure the immediate take–off of the faculty.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital



Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council



Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has inaugurated a new Governing Council, for the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri.

At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, August 31, the governor named Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University.

Other members of the Council include: Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Tony Ezenna, Prof. (Ven.) Chinedu Nebo, Sir. Louis Ezeigwe, Chief Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Dr. (Mrs.) Uwandu Uzoma, Ugoeze Victoria Adaku Ekezie, Prof. Adaobi Obasi (Vice Chancellor) and others.

Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma said the choice of the members is to infuse fresh air into the university because “It is in dire need to bounce back to reckoning.”
He added that the choice of the members was because they have carved a niche for themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and that they have earned solid reputation as men and women of substance in their individual trade, indices that qualified them for the appointment.

He challenged the members to bring their reputation to bear on the University, bearing in mind the task for good quality scholarship in Imo State University as well as service to humanity.

The Governor urged the members to deploy their individual accomplishments, excellence, expertise, passion for service as effectively as necessary to actualize the dream of his administration of having a highly reputable University comparable to the best Universities in the World.

He also requested the Council to “restore in words and deeds the motto of Imo State University, which is Excellence in Service”.

“Imo State University currently is a classical example of a failed University,” Governor Uzodimma said but strongly believed that “with a star studded Governing Council such as the one inaugurated there is no doubt that Imo is on the track to realize the dreams of her founding fathers.”

He further enjoined the Council members to quickly hit the ground running and come up with policies and programmes that will reassure Imo people that the University that made them proud 20 years back is on track as he assured them of Government partnership in this regard.

In an acceptance speech, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman, Most Rev. Ugorji who is the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia thanked the Governor for the absolute confidence reposed in them by giving them the assignment and acknowledged that though the task is daunting he has a strong belief that with the calibre of members of the Council and support of the management, staff and students the University will be returned to a centre of excellence which was the dream of the founding fathers.

He said that Imo State University deserves the best and that he and his members as inaugurated will work acidulously to ensure that the target of the governor in making Imo State University one of the best universities in Africa is realised.

He congratulated fellow members and promised that God’s willing, they will not fail the government and people of Imo State.

Present at the inauguration were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, and other members of the expanded State Executive Council.

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