Reverend Fr. Egeolu: We didn’t need to destroy Ekeukwuto develop

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• Alleges that similar demolished structures ‘litter’ the State

• Says Ekeukwu will suffer the fate of similar demolitions

• Fumes that ‘evil’ will never go unpunished

• Prophesises that ‘innocent blood of Somtochukwu will reveal a lot of things

Reverend Father CammymarioEgeolu is a firebrand priest of the Catholic Church. He is the priest in charge of St Brenda’s Catholic Parish, Okwu in Ikeduru LGA. In this interview with COLLINS UGHALAA in Owerri, he speaks passionately about the demolition of EkeukwuOwerriby the State government. Excerpts:

Father, you have been an advocate of good governance and good life for the masses. But about two weeks now, Owerri has been on fire as a result of the forceful eviction of the traders at EkeukwuOwerri and the demolition of the market, leading to the death of some people while others were injured and hospitalized. What do you make of this development?

This is real catastrophe. It is real hooliganism playing out, very barbaric, indeed. I wonder what is pushing the governor (Okorocha). Such a (poor economic) situation in the country and the governor is busy inflicting more pain on the people? The way he is behaving you would think someone or something is beating the music for him somewhere. I am telling you that what is happening in Imo State is not ordinary. But, all those involved in this shedding of blood must pay dearly for it, like the biblical Cain.

From biblical perspective, even the blood of Abel continued to speak and cry to God and God intervened. I believe that the innocent blood of Somtochukwu will reveal a lot of things to Imolites. It is shocking. How could Governor Okorocha have forgotten so soon how he came to power in 2011?It’s obvious now that many were misled into voting for a man they never knew.

This man has inflicted pains on Imo people. We are in the village setting and ministering to people. Our pensioners are dying. Ask anyone, we are almost always burying old pensioners. Does the governor want to see old age at all? Is he happy watching those old people who have laboured for our State die?

Some of them are on drugs and diets and cannot maintain themselves because he won’t pay them.
Okorocha said he would conduct local government election. Till today, we have not seen anything. Deceit! But, I want to remind the governor that he took an oath before God and the Blessed Sacrament. And no matter what he does, the word of God cannot be broken, because whatsoever a man sows, that he will reap.

We are in a time such as the Israelites were and God had to send them Moses, to tell Pharoah to “let my people go”. I am one of those voices telling Rochas to “Let my people be…” We are tired of his tyrannical leadership and high-handedness. That is not the way to rule or lead.

This was a man of yesterday and now we have enriched him and we are now rags before him. Look at the common man in Imo,can he boast three-square meals a day? Do you know that since the market demolition, many have not eaten in their houses? Many people brought in their goods a few days to the demolition and the catastrophe struck. Imo people are lamenting, but the governor thinks our God is a deaf God. No, I don’t think He is a deaf God.

Look at the time He gave Pharoah until Pharoah did his last. Yes, the governor has inflicted pains on Imo people, but he is not going to go free.

Is that how to bring development? Look at Upper Iweka, Onitsha, look at what Peter Obi did there, and in the whole of Anambra State really, quietly, and he did not hurt as such. That is why Anambra people are celebrating him as a hero. It is very unfortunate the kind of legacy the governor wants to bequeath to the people.

You talked about 2011 and I recall that then the governor emerged with strong backing from the Catholic Church where you belong. Now, the Church is keeping quiet in the face of what you described as catastrophe. Is it a kind of conspiracy between the governor and the church? Or, is the church intimidated?

Nobody can intimidate the Church. I mean it. If for nothing else, I have been a voice crying in the wilderness against the high-handedness of the governor. But, the fact remains that whenever something happens the Church would sit down and analyse it.

Remember that in the Church, we are all under the tutelage of the Bishop. Irrespective of that, every priest has a prophetic calling. Every priest is a priest, prophet and king and operates under the prophetic guide of the Church. I spoke to a crowd on Saturday (26 August 2017) when the demolition happened. People wailed. I told them to hold on to God, but some people expressed fears about my safety.

But, if Jeremiah and Isaiah were here and this thing (demolition) happened, would they keep quiet? It was Jesus Christ who said: “Woe unto thee Pharisees”, “Woe unto thee Sadducees” and no wonder he came as a liberator and emancipator. So, I feel that the Church, not just the Catholic Church butthe global Church, should come out and talk.

These are our people. We cannot ask people to come for harvest, thanksgiving and bazaar etc, ask for their money, and now that their means of livelihood is destroyed and taken away by the predators, we are keeping quiet. Wow! For me, this is a sin.I for one will not keep quiet because the prophetic fire is burning and eating me up anytime I keep quiet. It is only when I speak out that I regain my sanity. It is a prophetic calling.

I don’t know why some people are keeping quiet, but when we kept quiet about the demolition of St. Michael’s Church, Akwakuma, I knew that things had gone wrong and will still go haywire. I knew danger was coming. Governor RochasOkorocha has no reverence, respect and sense of awe for God Almighty. He now believes he is the “god” of Imo State. God Almighty is Supreme, and I know that soonest, Imo people will rejoice and know that we have God in this land.

Who is Governor Okorocha to intimidate God? To say he has intimidated the Church means he has intimidated God. When General Abacha thought he had become a “god” in this land, the Pope came and pleaded with him and he said who was the Pope? Then, God came in. The blood of SomtochwukwuIbeanusi and the cry of the people have reached God. Soonest, Imo people will say, “Hurray! is this the way God works?”. I bet you, when God Almighty steps in to intervene,Ndiimoagaghiakochaakukoihechukwu mere ndi a…

Who would believe that uptill now, the governor has not visited the Ibeanusi family to say “sorry’? We are praying and we are going to watch the end of this drama. I pray many Imolites will survive him to tell the story to our children yet unborn.

Everybody looks up to the Archbishop as the spiritual father and director of the State. But he has been silent. It is also believed that the Archbishop was part of the critical mass that produced the governor in 2011. Is it not rather shocking that he has been silent in the face of this catastrophe?

I don’t know the mind of the Archbishop and am not speaking for him. But, we all know that he has been a voice to the voiceless and father of the fatherless. He has been so many things to so many people. People thought he was instrumental to the making of the governor. No. What happened was that the people wanted a change.

I have always asked the people to show me where the Bishop asked the people to vote for this candidate or that candidate. Rather, he has always asked the people to exercise their voting rights. “Get your voters card and if you think you don’t like this man, please, take a stand.” I have never heard where the Bishop said we should vote for APGA and not the PDP, or APC or Labour Party. Etc.

It is not true that the Bishop is not talking. Remember that in 2015, the Bishop called for a debate among all the governorship candidates. What happened? The same governor, some knights and members of the Catholic Church constituted themselves into thugs and attacked the Church property and insulted the seat of the Church, and the Bishop stayed away.

It was like the people asking the Bishop to leave them with this governor, and I can guess the Bishop saying; “Ok, you can have your man”.

It was like the Biblical scenario where God warned the Israelites about Saul but they insisted on having him until Saul started dealing with them and they started crying out heavily to God for intervention and God hearkened to their plea. But, I know that in due time as he is led by the spirit, you will hear him again. I know my Bishop and his prophetic vision for the poor and the needy in our midst. He is not keeping quiet at all.

But personally, I love what you called silence. It is for the people to see that when they are told not to do this or that, it is in their best interest. For instance, no priest is begging for food; we have no wife and children and when we speak, it is for the interest of the people. But, when you speak and the people join the bandwagon and turn against you, you allow them taste the other side. I think that is what is going on now, but in due time, you will hear and continue to hear from the Bishop as the spirit of the living God leads and directs him.

In 2011 the Catholic Church organized a “Black Mass” over the allegation that the former Governor assaulted a Rev. Father. People now ask whether the Catholic Church will not do so now.
OK. What they called a Black Mass, I don’t know whether that existed, there is nothing like “BLACK MASS “in the Church, but I know there was a Rosary procession, exposition of the blessed sacrament and the people prayed and poured out their hearts to God.

It did not only happen in Imo State. It happened across the metropolis and the nation at large because election was approaching. The Church has been in the habit of celebrating Mass and praying for Nigeria in distress. It is not our own initiative. For instance, I am under the guidance and tutelage of the Archbishop. If he calls the people to come out for prayers, they will. If he calls the priests to come out, they will.

I don’t want to take the initiative for him. He is the Bishop. But let me tell you: the people are praying, even when you think the Archbishop is silent. He is a father with a tender heart for the wounded children, he is praying. Prayers are going on and many intercessors are not sleeping as am talking to you.

I may agree that prayers are going on. But, to so many people it would seem as if God is not listening.

My brother, when God is silent you had better be careful. Remember that at some point, Moses asked God, “How long would we remain in this suffering?” but God kept quiet. The Bible said that as Moses was making efforts to rescue the people, God was hardening the heart of Pharaoh until he met his waterloo.

God handled Pharaoh in such a manner that people could not disturb themselves for his burial. The same way, if Okorocha does not change and apologise to the people, he will meet his waterloo. And it won’t be only him but also all those who support him in punishing the people also. Mark my words!
Talking about those that support him to punish the people, are you referring to his appointees and members of the State Assembly who have kept mute in the face of this crisis?

It is a shame to all the people in the State Assembly. We don’t have people there. Have you ever heard them say the governor should not do this or that? They are supposed to checkmate the excesses of the governor, but just look at the rascality in the land. Absolute power is what corrupts absolutely. That is what we are seeing. I am not talking about the appointees of government alone. They are just stooges. He would sack them upon any attempt to advise him. He has become a ruthless emperor.

It is unfortunate for Imo people. But, I am talking about people like the Commissioner of Police who aided the governor, even when the former CP had told the governor that the matter was in court. We have to respect the matter in court.

On what condition were the bandits brought to disturb the peace of the people? The way the bandits are being kept around is the same way Boko Haram started. Those hooligans carrying guns before the security people, are they licensed to carry guns? Are they part of the security system of the country? If the Commandant at 34 Artillery Brigade Obinze had advised the governor against the rampage, I don’t think the mayhem could have happened. Do we need to destroy EkeukwuOwerri for us to be developed? The ones he (the governor) destroyed, has he rebuilt them? Look at IMSU Junction, look at Amakohia; there are many abandoned projects everywhere. Is it then EkeukwuOwerri that he would complete?

What is the rationale in relocating the market? Is there any market where you don’t have bandits? EkeukwuOwerri is the ancestral market of OwerriNchiIse. He should have thought on how to modernize it than destroying it without a qualm of conscience. What kind man is he? We have to stand up and stop this rubbish.

Imo people should rise up and go on a revolution. That is how to stop this kind of man, because I think he is being hoodwinked into doing what he is doing.

Am still prophetically challenging and asking the following bodies in the State to rise up against this rampage of destructive mission. Where is the action and voice of Imo Labour Union, Christian Association of Nigeria, Nigeria Barr Association, IPOB, House of Assembly Members, humanrights activists? We need to arise, pray and revolt because our people are dying in torrents quietly and unceremoniously. The time is now or never. But one thing is sure, God Almighty will be victorious at last!

Father, what do you have to tell other men or women of God, especially those in the heart of the town where these things are happening that are keeping absolute silent?

Honestly, my revered journalist, any man of God not praying fervently or is keeping quiet at such a critical time should question his prophetic calling! This is time for the people to know whether they have Shepherd or not.

No good Shepherd will allow ‘predators ‘ to destroy or eat up his flocks and the Shepherd would say or do nothing. Let me ask: all these people dying of heartbreaks due to sudden destruction of their source of livelihood where will there souls be? Are they in a state of grace? Did the little boy Somtochwukwu die in a state of grace? Is this not a satanically programmed strategy to populate hell? People are dropping dead untimely in this state as never before.

Look at our pensioners dying in torrents. How many civil servants in Imo know what their salaries are? The “emperor” gives them any peanut he likes. Chai! Ndiimoanyindonu! Men of God should rise from their slumber. And any clergy supporting this evil in the land because of the crumbs being given to them should wait for God’s wrath soonest, trust God Almighty.

Q: But Father, some people are of the opinion that the Governor is destroying to bring development, what do u think of it?

Ans: Hiaa! Must he finish killing people strategically before he brings the development? If all the people are killed in order to bring development, who will enjoy the development? Crime rate is skyrocketing, depression that might lead to insanity is on the increase and the young ones are getting frustrated on daily bases. What are we talking about?

The hardship in the Land is excruciating coupled with “Rochas destructive panorama”. The unfortunate thing is that the poor ones are majorly hit by this tragedy pepertrated by Rochas and his cohorts. Only God almighty can save and deliver His people now I bet u.

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