Many people who do not understand the political peculiarity of Anambra state may tend to misunderstand the recent upsurge of press war between the Anglican Church in Anambra State and the Roman Catholic government of Willie Obiano. It is unfortunate that Christians are persecuted in the Northern Nigeria by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen respectively, yet we have a ‘Boko haram’ in the guise of a Christian denomination in Anambra state being sponsored by the Anambra state government against other Christian denominations.
THE BONE OF CONTENTION
For the past two months, the social media and internet are awash with the news of the religio-political menace in Anambra state consequent of the harsh decision of the governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano to eject the Anglicans from their place of worship at Bishop Crowther Memorial primary School located Behind Nkisi Palace hotel and beside Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Onitsha. The embattled place of worship no doubt is the property of the Anglican diocese on the Niger. The problem started recently in the tenure of former Governor Peter Obi who handed the mission schools over to their rightful owners during his tenure but when it got to Bishop Crowther Memorial Primary School, the state government refused to hand it over to the Anglican Church based on the uncertainty of its ownership and identity according to them. Consequently, a panel was set in 2012 under the said former governor Peter Obi to verify the original owners of the school. On 21st February 2012, the Anambra State Government inaugurated the Hon. Justice G. U. Ononuba Committee to handle the agitations arising from the Return of Schools Previously owned by the Church. The Committee submitted its report to the State Government on the 28th Day of December 2012. In their report on Bishop Crowther Memorial Primary School, the Committee stated as follows, “Evidence of the inquiry showed that Bishop Crowther Memorial Primary School is an Anglican School built in 1956. It should be given to Anglican Church.” (Page 43) Thus, Peter Obi refused to obey the investigative panel’s submission and consequently handed the same matter over to Governor Obiano who is championing the cause of religious bigotry in Anambra State.
THE TRUTH BEHIND THE SCENE
Many people did not actually know why former governor Peter Obi and incumbent Governor Obiano have refused vehemently to heed the report of the panel. The reason is simply because the embattled Anglican owned school is located beside the Roman Catholic Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, Valerian Okeke had once written to the then bishop on the Niger saying that he would not allow any ‘variant’ church to be located near the Basilica. The said archbishop was in actual sense the one engineering the wickedness meted out against other denominations in Anambra state using government apparatuses at his disposal including the alcoholic governor Obiano who is also a Roman Catholic. He is bent on causing religious mayhem in Anambra state using his manipulative and devious tendencies and must be stopped. To the best of my knowledge, Willie Obiano was maneuvered into the government house as the governor and not Archbishop Valerian Okeke and should therefore as a matter of urgency distance himself from his ungodly manipulation of the state governors. In essence, Archbishop Valerian of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Onitsha should be held accountable and responsible for denominationalism and religious partisanship in the state.
GOVERNOR OBIANO IS AN UNEDUCATED FIGHTER
The popular dictum that an uneducated fighter is useless is true of the Roman Catholic governor Obiano of Anambra state. Engaging the Anglican Church in a fight by willfully denying them their rightful property in order to satisfy the evil desires of Onitsha Roman Catholic archbishop and to score a religious point is a sheer folly and a misguided undertaking. The fact that you condescended so low and resorted to using thugs to fight the people that came to worship God in their place of worship on that fateful Sunday is reducing yourself to a laughable stock and raising questions in the minds of Ndi Anambra if actually you were not under the influence of alcohol. You are simply telling the world that you lack the executive capacity and legal impetus to use both the judiciary and executive arms of the government to implement and enforce order. This shows that you are fighting an unjust cause hence your use of touts and thugs. How can a governor use thugs to beat up the people he swore to protect their lives and properties inside the church to the extent of destroying some of their worship materials? That is an abomination that brings desecration.
Furthermore, it is childish and messy of you to launch a direct attack on the person of the revered Bishop on the Niger in your pseudo-epigraphic publication in the daily sun newspaper. The pseudonymous penman who identified himself as Zachaeus had already classified himself as one who is neither worthy to be seen nor heard in the society considering the character and the personality of the biblical Zachaeus. Note that Zachaeus was a publican [tax collector] who was used by the then Roman government to perpetrate evil against the people of God by collecting more than what he was told to collect just like the Anambra Roman Catholic government are using pseudonymous penmen in the national daily to perpetrate evil against the Anglicans and the enviable and ebullient See of the Mother of many infant Sees. He should have looked for a better name to answer than go by a name of a biblical character who was hated by his people for being used by the Roman government to work and perpetrate evil against the people of God. Surprisingly, the same Roman Catholic government used the same Zachaeus to work against the people of God in Anambra state. What a tragedy? He will definitely pay in folds like the biblical Zachaeus.
Finally, it is appalling and soul piercing that you mobilized nonentities, nuisances, touts, and motor park idiots to protest against the giant Bishop on the Niger. All your devices are too weak and porous to worry the lion-hearted Bishop on the Niger. How dare you think that people do not know the truth behind the scene and all your clandestine meetings with the Catholic archbishop of Onitsha? Using such class of people to incite Ndi Anambra to think otherwise of the Bishop on the Niger, a man of impeccable character who has refused to be bought with money and who is totally out to fight the minutest display of injustice in Anambra State is the greatest blasphemy and desecration ever displayed in your regime. Let it be known to you that we are not ready to stop until the last recovery is made of all that rightfully belong to us. We know that the battle line has been drawn between you [representing the Roman Catholic Government] and the Anglican Church in Anambra state. It is either you give us what belongs to us and acknowledge us as major stakeholders in Anambra State or you get ready to commit the second murder in the cathedral.
The peace of God remain with people that deserve His peace.
Obi Chindo wrote from Onitsha