Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has described the incident at the funeral church service for the late Justice Chikwudifu Oputa, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Oguta, where he was not allowed to speak as a conspiracy of Abuja based politicians against him.
It would be recalled that the son of the late eminent jurist, Charles ‘Charly Boy’ Oputa, had reportedly stormed out of the venue of the service with his siblings over what he termed ‘politicization’ of the funeral service by the Imo governor.
But in his reaction to the embarrassing incident, Gov. Okorocha, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Sam Onwuemeodo yesterday, said “It is highly regrettable that the son of the late Justice, Mr Charles Emeka Oputa, aka, Charly Boy threw caution to the wind and turned the church service into a political theater that saw him acting or playing out the script he drafted in Abuja with some Imo politicians who have remained cowed by the overwhelming popularity of Governor Rochas Okorocha”.
While expressing surprise at the sudden turn of events, the statement said “the Imo State governor had worked together with Mr Charly Boy both when the late Justice was sick, until the time he died and the preparation for the burial which also encouraged the state governor to make substantial financial input and also organized a special day of tribute for the late Justice at the expense of state government with Charly Boy also present with other members of the family.
“This is why the sudden change of character of Charly Boy at the church service, in which case, he insisted that the governor would not talk as protocol demanded could not be understood, except that he was acting out the script handed over to him by some of the gubernatorial aspirants from the state who might have been rattled by the thunderous ovation that greeted the governor by the crowd when he was first introduced”.
The state government further explained that “at a function like that, protocol had demanded that the host governor must talk before any other speaker. But Senator Pius Anyim representing the President was first called to talk. Ideally, as a representative of the president, there was no way Senator Anyim would not have talked at the event. But protocol would have seen the governor talking first to welcome the invitees to the service as the host governor.
“Perhaps afraid of the popularity of governor Okorocha among the Imo populace that has always made them to hail him where ever and whenever he talks, the few politicians from the state in Abuja who are desperate to capture power in the state in 2015, saw a willing tool in Charly Boy for them to ensure that the governor would not talk at the event.
“We condemn that ugly incident. And also wish to advise politicians from the state to stop heating the polity over power since God is the giver of power. In 2015, God will decide who will govern Imo State and when God decides that, there is nothing anybody can do about it”, the statement concluded.