By Francis Ekpone & Uchenna Ezeadigwe
Anambra state governor, Chief Willie Obiano has blamed religious fanatics and mischief makers for the recent purported face-off between his government and the Anglican church in the state, assuring his commitment to peace and cordial relationship with all Christian denominations.
Obiano, who disclosed this at the Cathedral Church of Saint Faith, Awka during a Eucharistic Service to mark the commencement of the 2018 Press Week of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Anambra State Council also stressed that it was wrong for Christians to discriminate against themselves.
The governor, who was represented by the state commissioner for information and public enlightenment, Mr. C-Don Adinuba charged all Christians irrespective of religious linings or denomination to be united and leave in peace.
“In the past four years, Anambra has become the most peaceful state and most united in Nigeria. Our governor doesn’t discriminate against any denomination.
“When the former vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, late Dr. Alex Ekwueme died, state government celebrated him regardless of the fact that he was in opposition and his daughter, Lady Chidi Ekwueme-Onyemelukwe contested against our party, APGA.
“This is to demonstrate further that Governor Obiano is a non-denominational and detrabalised governor. The Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev Nicolas Okoh knows this and the Anglican Bishop of Awka, Rt. Rev Alexander Ibezim understands our practice and principles and that is why they are happy with the governor,” he said.
In a remark, the Vicar of the Cathedral, Venerable Sam Okonkwo, admitted Obiano’s roles in sustaining peace in the state, adding that the church and government work in partnership for the good of the citizens.
“The church will continue to support the government not minding some challenges. It is impossible for everyone to be chorusing one’s goodness. What matters is living a good life that can lead us all to heaven”
He said that the work of journalists was of great importance to the society and appreciated the union for starting their annual event with a thanksgiving service.
Speaking with newsmen after the service, the Chairman of NUJ, Anambra State Council, Comrade Emma Ifesinachi, noted that the programme was focused on hate speech to help in taming the issue ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The theme of the 2018 press week is; Party politics, hate speech and the media
Comrade Ifesinachi, however, called on all practising journalists to desist from hate speech as it affects the nation’s development. “The general election is around the corner and, in this year’s theme, we decided to tailor our activities on the event that is about to unfold. That is why we are coming up with the theme.
“Hate speech can create problems in any society, so we want to draw our attention to the implications of promoting hate speech and advise our members to stick to the ethics of our profession and, in doing that, we should bring in some element of information management and, by so doing, we now foster the unity and the progress of this country”.
‘We are major stakeholders in the project of Nigeria; therefore, in the course of discharging our professional responsibilities, we should bear in mind that our services have great impact on the populace and to ensure that whatever we dish out will not create negative implication to the nation” he added.
Earlier in his sermon, Reverend Cannon Charles Chukwurah urged federal government to make adequate monetary provision for the funding of national security which he said would help in replacing obsolete weapons at the disposal of the military.