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  • Parishioners Boo Catholic Priests For Campaigning For PDP Governorship Candidate
  •  There were rowdy sessions in many Catholic parishes in the Enugu metropolis, on Sunday as parishioners booed their parish priests for openly campaigning for the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Peter Mbah against other candidates.

    The parishioners who chided their priests and vigorously opposed the campaign for a particular candidate using the altar of God reminded them that there is no market where Catholic faithful buy food cheaper than those from other faith.

    They also reminded their priests that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, whose tenure will end in May 2023, is a member of the faith but could not pay pensions and retirees their gratuities.

    They asked what the church leadership had done to ensure his government paid senior citizens.

    They reminded their spiritual leaders that PDP had held power in the state for the past 24 years yet they could not provide even potable water to residents of the Enugu metropolis despite several foreign grants and annual budgetary provisions.

    However, the booing was visibly noted at the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Catholic Church, Mbanugo, Coal Camp, where the church service, was turned into a shouting match when the parish priest, Rev Fr Raphael Chukwu openly campaigned for Peter Mbah.

    The priest who was trying to encourage the faithful to vote for Mbah during the forthcoming governorship election, criticised the candidate of the Labour Party, Hon Chijioke Edeoga, saying, "He is older than Peter Mbah, it's not his turn to become governor, he is not a Catholic faithful and Peter is a Catholic and many more."

    A congregant who spoke on condition of anonymity told SaharaReporters that following the comparison made by the priest, the congregants started shouting, "Stop the campaign, this is church service time, not campaign time. You and Bishop will vomit the millions given to you because Mbah will not win.

    “Why are you turning the church service into a campaign? Look at how poor your faith in Christ is. Stop instigating us against other denomination."

    According to the source, efforts to make the angry faithful listen to him were in vain. According to the source, when he said ‘Praise be to Lord Jesus Christ,’ there was no response. He reportedly quietly went to the sanctuary and many congregants left the church in anger.

    It was further gathered that the church was divided in the middle of the service as he said that the Bishop had instructed them to tell parishioners to vote for Mbah based on the documents forwarded to them by the Independent National Electoral Commission, requesting that they should campaign for Peter Mbah.

    There are four leading governorship candidates contesting for Saturday's governorship and House of Assembly polls. They are - Peter Mbah of the PDP, Chijioke Edeoga of Labour Party, Frank Nweke Jr of the All Progressive Grand Alliance and Uchenna Nnaji of the All Progressive Congress.

    SaharaReporters reports that the same scenario played out at Holy Ghost Cathedral parish Blessed Sacrament among others.

    A priest who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity said the campaign was directed by the Bishop, Most Rev Callistus Onaga to all the Catholic priests to encourage their parishioners to vote for Mbah.

    "The truth of the matter is that the Catholic Church in Enugu has adopted Peter Mbah as its candidate in this governorship election. Unfortunately, most of our parishioners are not buying into that argument because they are the ones suffering the bad leadership in the state for the last 24 years.

    "Our parishioners have lost hope in PDP. All the political positions in the state are held by people with questionable characters. The criteria for getting government appointment under the present government which is led by a Catholic faithful is if you belong to a cult."

    The priest added, "We are just servants and you cannot disobey your Bishop but some of us have told him (bishop) that the people know the candidate they want as their governor because the church is also suffering from the bad leadership in the state.

    “Under the current administration that is led by a Catholic, more than four priests were killed and several others kidnapped. What people need is good leadership that will make life better for them."

    Meanwhile, efforts to get an official reaction from the Catholic Diocese of Enugu were unsuccessful as the Communication Director, Rev Fr Aneke could not be reached for comments.

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