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ANNOUNCEMENT

PRESS STATEMENT: UNFORTUNATE DISRUPTION OF THE PUBLIC FORUM

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It is with regret that the Justice, Development, Peace and Caritas Commission (JDPC), under the auspices of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri and the leadership of the Archbishop of Owerri, His Grace, the Most Rev. Anthony J. V. Obinna, announces the disruption and consequent cancellation of the public interactive forum between the Imo State Electorate and the nine (9) Governorship Candidates of these parties ACCORD, ACD, APC, APGA, Labour, PDP, PPA, SDP and UPP.

 

The non-partisan and faith-based organized event is the third in the series, after the 2007 and 2011 editions. With the theme: “Towards Credible Elections and Respectful Leadership in Imo State, and focus on “My Candidate and My Vote”, the 2015 edition was scheduled for Wednesday, March 11th and to start at 10am at the Obiri Odenigo, Assumpta Cathedral premises. The public forum is part of the JDPC voter education for enhancing the electoral process. It is meant to offer an opportunity for Imo electorate and the Governorship Candidates to be able to assemble as a State family, beyond party divide, to interact on political issues in the State in view of the coming elections.

 

Thousands of the Imo Electorate, including special invitees like the INEC, NOA, Conference of All Political Parties, Law Enforcement Agencies, Traditional Rulers, had trooped to the arena for the forum. As the organizers were about to begin at about 9am, two women groups, one in Black purportedly pro-PDP and the other in a variety of attires including the CWO uniform apparently pro-APC, were engulfed in a confrontation. The organizers made successful attempts to control the women and the youths of notably three of the parties, including APGA, who had eventually joined in the ensuing disturbance, chanting their pro-party or anti-party songs and slogans, some brandishing party flyers and red cards and blowing whistles. Machetes were seized from some of the thugs by security agents.

 

As the organizers were trying to kick-start the forum, some members of the APC and Government officials, including the Chief J. Egiogu the Chief of Staff, Prof. A. Anwuka Secretary to the State Government, Chief Uche Nwosu, Dr. Ihejirika, Mr. K. Emelu, Engr. Chidi Ibe who are the Commissioners of Lands, Health, Youths and Information respectively, including Mr. Paddy Obinna the SA to the Governor on Arts and Culture, and many other aides, invaded the rostrum complaining, accusing and scolding the organizers and demanding stoppage of the event. Many more of their members jumped onto the rostrum and joined in scattering and destroying seats, tables, the lectern, public address system, video camera of the Assumpta Media and other decorations. They insulted the priests and other members of the organizing team, and particularly their assault on the external moderator of the forum from Abuja, whose eye-glasses were snatched off him and smashed. One of the aides physically hit the Assumpta Cathedral Administrator, Rev. Fr. G. Onyekwere, on the chest, who had intervened to shield the external moderator from further attack. All this is tantamount to total disrespect for fellow humans and a gross desecration of the Sacred Venue of the forum. Regrettably, most of these assaulters consider themselves Catholics.

 

This is a forum which every Candidate or voter has the option to attend or stay away from. There is no obligation whatsoever to attend. Disruption of the forum is not an option for anybody. This is why we find the action of whether the APGA, APC, the PDP or any of the other parties, unacceptable. In the light of the unfortunate occurrence, the JDPC condemns in the strongest terms the gross indiscipline displayed by members and supporters of the various political parties. The Commission is also highly disappointed with the violent behaviour of APC government officials present and their overt support of the equally violent behaviour of their members. The Commission regrets that by such unruly behaviours, Imo State is not ready yet for a credible and peaceful 2015 election. The smooth holding of the interactive forum would have helped Imo State considerably and lessened the political tension on the ground.

 

Nevertheless, we thank God that there was no loss of life. It could have been worse. We thank the Imo Electorate, public institutions, authorities and people of goodwill for their appreciation and show of support for the public forum of the JDPC. We realise that many people and parties are still yearning for the public forum. In spite of the unfortunate incidents, the JDPC will not relent in continuing to render services to our people, State and Nation, as Church contribution to improving the democratic process. Our people must cultivate the democratic spirit. This entails respect for the freedom of each person in the State/Nation to choose which party to support and which candidate to vote for, without acrimony and violence.

 

In the spirit of our election prayer, we humbly ask you God our merciful Father, “put your own spirit, the spirit of truth and peace, within us all, the INEC organizers of the elections, the Candidates seeking for votes, the voters themselves, those who count and record the votes and the eventual announcers of the election results. … All these we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!”

 


 

Rev. Fr. Dr. Casimir Nzeh                                                            Rev. Fr. I. M. Osuagwu

The JDPC Coordinator                                                                           JDPC Member

 

ANNOUNCEMENT

Mrs. Comfort Mbonu passes on

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Mrs. Comfort Mbonu passes on

The death has been announced of Mrs. Comfort Chikamnele Mbonu, wife of Mr. Ambrose Mbonu, a retired staff of Assumpta Secretariat, Owerri. She was aged 64.

Mrs. Mbonu was a renowned seamstress and popularly known as “Omenka” because of her professionalism in dress making.

A release signed by her family said her remains would be buried on Saturday September 12, 2020 after a funeral Mass at St. Anthony’s Catholic Parish Isiekenesi, Ideato South LGA, Imo State. She is survived by her husband, Mr. Ambrose Mbonu and children.

May her soul rest in peace.

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ANNOUNCEMENT

2020 FATHER’S DAY CELEBRATION HOLDS AUGUST 30

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2020 FATHER'S DAY CELEBRATION HOLDS AUGUST 30

This year’s rescheduled Father’s Day Celebration in Owerri Catholic Archdiocese will now take place in all the Parishes/Chaplaincies on Sunday, 30th August, 2020.

The President, Owerri Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Men Organization (OACCMO), Prince Faith Uche Iwuorisha, announced this to CMO members during their monthly general meeting held Saturday July 25. Prince Faith said he met with the Archbishop, Most Rev. Anthony J. V Obinna who approved the date to enable CMO members celebrate the Feast of their Patron Saint, Joseph in their various parishes.

“The event did not hold on 3rd May, 2020 as earlier scheduled due to Covid 19 pandemic lockdown and August 30 is the “D-day”, Prince Faith remarked.

He however called on parish executives to put in motion necessary machineries to ensure successful celebration and expressed his gratitude for the Archbishop’s fatherly consideration and approval of the date.

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ANNOUNCEMENT

Veteran journalist Nwariwe loses wife

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Veteran journalist Nwariwe loses wife

The death has been announced of Lolo Olivia Chizuru Nwariwe.

Late Lolo Olivia Nwariwe, wife of Chief Ifeanyi Nwariwe, a retired Deputy Director, News and Current Affairs of Imo Broadcasting Corporation, Owerri.

She was aged 59.

A release by the family said, her remains would be laid to rest on July 31, 2020 at Nwariwe compound, Umuezeala Uba Umuaka, Njaba LGA, after a funeral Mass at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Umuaka at 10am.

May her soul rest in peace.

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