Abia APGA and Framing up of the Catholic ChurchBy Godwin Adindu

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The reports came in quick succession, announcing that the revered Catholic Church, may have abdicated its role of spiritual guidance to make a hurried foray into the landmine of politics. Not as an impartial arbiter but as a biased player and partisan ally, openly aligning with and firing from the frontlines for the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia State. It was a very well package dummy and sold very brilliantly that even the very elect and the very intelligent were almost deceived.
Some of the packaged lies:
“A group, Catholic Network of Nigeria (CNN) staged a protest weekend in Bende, Bende Local Govt Area of Abia State, calling for the change of the Justices of the Court of Appeal, Owerri, Imo State. According to the group which is sympathetic to the opposition All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), it has no confidence in Owerri Appeal Court Judges. The placards-carrying group comprising mainly of youths and women alleged that some judges at the Owerri Appeal Court are very close to the tribunal Judges that handled cases from Abia,” —- Vanguard, Mon, November 30, 2015, page 16.
And another: “A group known as Catholic Network of Nigeria has passed a vote of no confidence on the yet-to-be inaugurated Court of Appeal panel in Owerri that would handle the appeal by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Dr. Alex Otti against Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s victory. The group who staged a protest yesterday in Bende also called on the Chief Justice of the Federation, National Judicial Council and President Muhammadu Buhari to redeploy the appeal court judges at the Owerri Judicial Division. The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions such as, “Catholics are Against Injustice; The Church is Our Hope, etc”, Authority Newspaper, Fri, Nov. 27, page 10.
And now the rebuttal: “ PRESS RELEASE FROM THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF UMUAHIA – CHURCH AND SOCIETY: The attention of Catholic Diocese of Umuahia has been drawn to the publication in the Vanguard Newspaper of 30th November, 2015, page 16, on the purported protest in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State calling for change of the Appeal Court Judges in Owerri. For purposes of keeping records straight, we state as follows:
1. The Catholic Network of Nigeria does not exist in the Catholic Diocese of Umuahia.
2. The Catholic Diocese of Umuahia is not partisan and does not involve herself in any partisan political activity.
3. The purported protest as published in the Vanguard of 30th November Nov, 2015 page 16 did not take place in Corpus Christi Parish Bende and we do not know any catechist by name Ambrose Udensi.
4. Finally, we state categorically that the Catholic Diocese of Umuahia dissociates herself from the Catholic Network of Nigeria (CNN) and the purported group protest in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State calling for a change of Appeal Court Judges in Owrri.Signed: Rev. Fr. Dr. Paschal Okey Opara, Coordinator JDPC (Church and Society Department)”
In all intent and purposes, the aim of APGA in this latest plot is to incite the Catholic Church against the Abia State Government and destroy the existing cordial relationship between the church and the state . This is a dangerous trend that must be checkmated. But, before then, the questions arise: why would the men of APGA in Abia State get so desperate to the point of exchanging their souls and conscience to frame the church of God? Why would they treat God and the things of God with such disdain? Why framing and blackmailing no other group but the Catholic Church, the Mother of all churches and the leader of Christendom?
The question continues: Is it the necessity of a situation where all is fair, as in war and love? Are they driving the Machiavellian thesis of the end justifying the means? Must APGA apply all tactics, whether fair or foul, to win the war? Must they win this war against natural providence – against the cosmic order of cause and effect? Must Alex Otti be governor of Abi a State by blackmailing the Catholic Church? Why passing a vote of no confidence on a body that is not yet constituted? Why denigrating the judiciary and purporting same to be the will of the holy Catholic Church? Why such blasphemy all in the name of power struggle?
These questions, precisely, have bordered all men of goodwill in the last couple of days. Since after the Umuahia Catholic Diocese addressed the press last Wednesday and openly disowned the group and absolved the church of any complicity, it has become obvious that the group is a contraption by desperate politicians whose intentions is to use the revered name of the Catholic Church to settle political scores. The rebuttal by the Catholic Church clarified that the quoted reports in the two national dailies were certainly not the voice of the church, that somebody was on a mission of mischief to drag the name of the church to the mud.
But, by playing such a ruse, Abia APGA has taken ambition too far. Their aim is to pull the wool over the eyes of the discerning public. But, they could not have succeeded because the world know the Catholic Church to be a non-partisan organization that stands only for social justice, good governance and the progress of society. The Catholic Church respects the rule of law and as a responsible institution it cannot be instigated into denigrating the sanctity of the judiciary.
The church has an age-old and time-honoured reputation that desperate politicians of APGA in Abia State could not have smeared.
Indeed, the entire scenario calls from some emphasis. We must re-emphasize that the Catholic Church is a non-partisan organization that has interest only in ensuring an effective democratic government through prayers, admonition , counseling and voting for the right candidates during election period. The issue of politicians challenging election results in the legal courts of Nigeria has nothing to do with the Church as it is unlawful for the church to try to determine what the courts do. The Catholic Church as a responsible entity respects the sanctity of the judiciary. In the Catholic Church, the authority to pronounce the will of the church lies on the Bishop within a given Diocese of the church. It is clear that these faceless group are working on their own and outside of the authority of the Catholic Church.
Truthfully, those who are involved in this campaign of calumny have not represented the Catholic Church. They are working for their own selfish interest. But, we must warn that the name of the revered Catholic Church or any other religious body for that matter should not be used as an instrument of political propaganda. This could be very disastrous for the country. The church in Nigeria and all well-meaning Catholics all over the world must condemn this henious act in all its entirety and defend the sacred institution of God. We must also urge the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Appeal Court and the entire judiciary to ignore the ranting of this faceless group.
#Adindu is the Chief Press Secretary to the Abia Governor.

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