. begs agitators to sheathe their sword and allow Anambra people make their choice
By CHUKS EKE
The Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of the Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace, Most Rev Valerian Okeke, has charged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC not to compromise their standards during the November 6 governorship election in Anambra state.
Archbishop Okeke who spoke during the celebration of his 68th birthday anniversary and 40 years of priesthood at Onitsha Correctional Centre, said all eyes are on INEC to deliver its mandate to the people, particularly at this critical period of our national life.
“I am not saying that they have compromised before but what I mean is that they should not listen to any political party or candidate that may approach them for one kind of favouritism or the other because of the volatile nature of this particular election”.
In his message entitled: “Turning your Challenges into Blessings and Opportunities”,’ Okeke sought an end to killings and bloodshed in Anambra state, an end to hatred and divisive tendencies, while he asked politicians to work for the good of the society, especially during challenging times like now, even as he urged all agitators to sheathe their sword and allow the election to take place as scheduled.
The Archbishop also urged the prison inmates to develop themselves for future productivity, just as he encouraged indigenes to remember the historic peace for which Anambra, as a pace setter, was known.
Archbishop Okeke expressed deep passion for a new Anambra transformed into a progressive family of peoples, characterised by love, peace and harmony., even as he frowned that the state has been enmeshed in violence and general insecurity in the countdown to the November 6 election race.
Baring his mind with deep faith, active hope and profound passion at the birthday Mass, the Archbishop condemned what he described as all forms of destructive and desperate activities and called for the dethronement of politics of bitterness, politics of bloodletting, politics of division and favouritism, politics of exclusion, politics of excuses, politics of back-stabbing and politics of enmity.
“I am appealing for the enthronement of the politics of family harmony, brotherliness, cooperation, development and peace, and indeed politics without bitterness in the electioneering campaigns”.
Okeke proposed politics of societal transformation that will accentuate the greatness of Anambra and place it as a cynosure of admiration.
He expressed desires for a state that will be the consolation and motivation of Ndigbo; a state where politicians would take welfare of citizens as priority; a state where politics would be devoid of violence, bloodletting and bitterness. While charging the ruling class to embrace brotherliness and to denounce violence, Okeke insisted that Anambra should be devoid of “do-or-die attitude and by-fire-or-by-force disposition.”
According to him, “no kingdom divided against itself can stand and in no way should Anambra be counted in the generation of brother-killing Cain. He said a state richly endowed with human and natural resources as Anambra was positioned by God to be “primus inter pares,” the light, by performance, not merely by name”.
Present with the Archbishop at the Onitsha Correctional Center were the ruling class, including Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, and his Wife, Ebelechukwu; Former Governor Peter Obi; gubernatorial candidates of various political parties in Anambra State, including Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo (ADC), Prof Charles Soludo and his Deputy, Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim (APGA), Mr & Mrs Valentine Chineto Ozigbo (PDP), Dr Obiora Okonkwo (ZLP), Chief Primus Odili, Anambra State Chief of Staff, Ozonkpu Victor Oye and Senator Victor Umeh, current and former National Chairmen of APGA, respectively.