Church Endorsement: An Emerging political culture in Anambra State

It's sunday morning, that means i must attend my favorite 5.30 am mass at the st. Anthony of Padua parish in nkpor, a suburb of the market city of Onitsha, home to the largest market in west africa. The igboland, southeast Nigeria is a catholic stronghold as a majority of people in this parts are catholics. This is further supported by the fact that the only basilica in Nigeria is the Basilica of the most holy trinity, the Cathedral of the archdiocese of Onitsha.

The mass was solemn as usual and was said in the traditional igbo language. towards the end of the mass, i was flipping through the weekly bulletin and i saw something that caught my attention. Senator Andy Uba had booked an intention in this mass "for God's guidance and protection in his endeavors" it reads. i was surprised and confused. Why?

I never knew the erstwhile governor of Anambra state was a catholic. this was actually the least of my worries. If he is actually catholic and wished to booked for a special intention in a  mass, he should have done it in his home parish in Uga where he hails from or in Awka where he mostly resides whenever he is in anambra state. Why is he booking this intention in this modest parish so far from home.

then it struck me. Anambra gubernatorial elections will hold in 2014 and the race is heating up. Is this a Strategy to win the church's endorsement? Afterall the incumbent governor won the 2003 elections on the back of massive church backing and endorsement. Is this what Senator Andy Uba is after?

On going through the intentions for the other masses, Senator Andy Uba's intention was literally in almost all of them. And have been appearing in the bulletin for more than a month now. Now it makes sense, St. Anthony of Padua parish is arguably the most populous parish in the archdiocese of Onitsha. And celebrate more than 10 masses every sunday (some concurrently) in other to cover its large number of parishioners. it's second only to the basilica of the most holy trinity and St. mary's, inland town Onitsha in terms of finance.

If Senator Andy Uba can win the support of the Parish, he must have won a sizable chunk of the influential Archdiocese of Onitsha. And what better way to win their support than being one of them or rather pretending to be one of them.

It's still possible there is no hidden agenda in the good senator's mass bookings. if that is the case i apologize. but if not, i commend the good senator and his team on a very thoughtful campaign strategy. but I'll advise them to thread carefully cos deceit is a two edged sword.