“Fake news, half-baked truths”: Nigerian Diocese on Claims Clergy Endorsed Candidate

Bishop Solomon Amanchukwu Amatu with members of the Clergy of Okigwe Diocese. Credit: Okigwe Diocese

The Catholic Diocese of Okigwe in Nigeria has dismissed reports that Catholic Clergy and Religious have endorsed a candidate for the Gubernatorial election for the country’s Imo State scheduled to take place on November 11.

In a disclaimer issued Monday, October 23, the Chancellor of the Nigerian Diocese makes reference to an October 13 report in the Sun Newspaper claiming that Catholic Priests and Sisters of Okigwe Diocese had endorsed the incumbent Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, for re-election.

“Our attention has been drawn to a write-up by some politicians in The Sun newspaper and other newspapers, claiming an endorsement of one candidate by the Clergy and Religious of the Catholic Diocese of Okigwe,” Fr. Princewill Iwuanyanwu says.

Fr. Iwuanyanwu adds, “For the avoidance of doubt and in the interest of disabusing the minds of innocent people of good will who have been fed with fake news and half-baked truths, be it known that the Clergy and Religious of the Catholic Diocese of Okigwe did not endorse any candidate for the upcoming Imo Gubernatorial election of 11 November, 2023.”

“The Catholic Church does not indulge in partisan politics,” the Chancellor of Okigwe Diocese emphasizes. 


In the October 13 report, The Sun Newspaper indicates that “at a prayer session in Chief Chukwu’s home, the Catholic Priests and the Reverend Sisters from Okigwe were in agreement that Governor Uzodimma has acquitted himself well and deserves to be returned to the office in November 11 to continue with the good work he has been doing in Imo State.”

“No less than 1000 of the priests and Reverend Sisters turned up for the exercise,” the report reads in part, and continues, “Chief Chukwu had remained a pillar of support to both the Catholic and Anglican Communion in Okigwe zone where he comes from and has continued to use his resources for the benefit of both faiths.”

In the October 23 disclaimer, Fr. Iwuanyanwu recounts, “The truth was that Priests and religious from the Catholic Diocese of Okigwe and other neighboring dioceses alongside a number of Anglican clergymen were invited to a thanksgiving Ceremony by Chief Sir Tony Chukwu.” 

“The Governor of Imo State and his entourage were also in attendance. After the Thanksgiving Mass, the Governor requested to have an audience with the priests, religious and Anglican clergymen who were present and he addressed them on the state of affairs in the state. Afterwards, there were few questions from the audience on some of the challenges confronting the state, which he responded to before the audience dispersed,” the Catholic Church leader recounts

The Chancellor of Okigwe Diocese further says, “Let it be known that some aides and media houses for reasons best known to them can frame up things to deceive the general public.”

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“How the issue of endorsement and praying for the re-election of the Governor came about remains unimaginable and such unfounded accusation is unacceptable to the priests and religious of the Catholic Diocese of Okigwe,” Fr. Iwuanyanwu says.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.