It took me this long to react to the ugly incident of some politicians molesting Archbishop Anthony Obinna because of I hate to eat raw yam just as I love to chew well my cooked yam before swallowing it. And having taken quality time to assess the sad incident, I am now in a good position to express my humble but candid opinion on it. And my verdict is that it is sacrilege for anybody to molest any anointed man of God, especially an archbishop. It is an injunction of God that nobody should touch or harm His anointed servants.
Having seen a large number of condemnations of that “Murder in the Cathedral” reenacted in Ngwoma, I find the position of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, who in addition to outright condemning the unholy act also went further to proffer a solution, advising the Imo State governor, his wife, his son-in-law and other dramatis personae, that in one or another inspired and influenced the sordid behavior in a church, to go and apologize to the senior cleric they insulted. Ihedioha was right too in seeing the act as a gross misdemeanor against the custodian of the catholic faithful in the entire Owerri Episcopal region.
And if I were among those people under whose influence Archbishop Anthony Obinna was comprehensively embarrassed and molested, I would heed the advice of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and choose a good time convenient for the highly respected religious leader and go to him, kneel down and beg him for forgiveness. Who knows by so doing God in heaven may show them mercy and spare them the punishment that befits their indecorous indecency.
This becomes germane and even most sacrosanct when it is taken into consideration that the culprits by culpable complicity are supposed to be practicing Catholics. Their desecration of the altar of God being tended by a catholic archbishop is a little near mortal sin, which confession only the Pope or the archbishop can hear. It suggests that after the public apology, the first family must individually go to the same Archbishop Obinna for the confession of their sin. At the end, they will be sanctioned appropriately, assigned due penance, absolved and ultimately declared forgiven before they will be sent away and urged to go and sin no more.
Our people have a saying “onye gburu dibia na agworo ya ogwu, ndi na eme ya nshi agwulaha?” When transliterated, it could mean do not bite the finger that feeds you or never hit your benefactor. The family of Owelle Rochas Okorocha did just that in that their show of shame at that Ngwoma church. By that singular misfortune of thugs of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that accompanied the Okorocha’s to a funeral church service mustered enough impetus and temerity to stand up and rush to an altar of the Most High God to attack (okay almost attack) an archbishop of such global significance as Most Reverend Dr. Anthony Obinna for whatsoever reason, they bit the finger that feed them. They shot their security man. They abused their cook. They angered their driver. In short they took a very bad decision.
By way of flashback, it may be pertinent here to recall that the Imo State Chief Executive Officer has the knack for displaying disrespect to constituted authority of both the traditional and religious institutions in the state. His recurrent insult and abuse of Archbishop Obinna is known to all. And to think that the same archbishop significantly aided his Rochas Okorocha’s coming into office in 2011! But is it nor Rochas character to fight that that provide him ladder to climb into Douglas House? Where is Senator Ifeanyi Araraume today? After Rochas conned him to collapse his Destiny Organization to ensure Rochas’ re-election in 2015, he told the press that Rochas promised to make him his successor in 2019. Today, how market? Where are Chief Martin Agbaso and his brother Sir Jude Agbaso, Chief Jerry Chukwueke, Dr. Vitalis Orikeze Ajumbe and a host of other people that helped him win a second term? Rochas has bitten all their fingers after they fed him with power. That’s Rochas for those who still struggle to assist him remain in power beyond the constitutional 2019 by his proxy of Uche Nwosu..
Anyhow, I still side Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha in reasoning that nothing whatsoever said by Archbishop Obinna on the altar should warrant physical attack visited at him. The purported clarification the archbishop that he was not beaten does not make any difference. It does not obliterate the truth that some people at the influence of some other people actually moved from their seats or so and dashed out with fury aiming to attack the archbishop had they not be debarred from doing that. Legally, intent is often as good as action. Therefore, like Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha advised, let Governor Okorocha and his family lead the Imo APC to go and apologize to Archbishop Obinna and the catholic community worldwide.
Perhaps, this incident is divine as it provides capacity to caution politicians from plying their trade in churches. It has caused more than good. It has cost many lives at various times. Ironically, some people are saying that clerics must stay out of politics. That’s nonsense. Are clerics not citizens that can vote and be voted for? How then can they stay out of politics? When a cleric votes for a politician, does INEC regard the votes as void? What we must advance is that politicians must stop going to churches during electioneering campaigns to woo electorate with all sorts of spurious promises that are seldom fulfilled. I am persuaded that if the politicians do not go to churches to seek votes, clerics will not express partisanship on the altar.
Conversely, the church must on a more serious note resist the lure to express support for any particular candidate in an election. They can only educate their members to perform the civic responsibility of voting during the election for candidates of their choices. The campaign for a bandwagon support or rejection by clerics to their congregation does not present the church in a good light. Meanwhile, let me continue my re-read of T.S Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral”. We will see again soon.