It must be one of the most popular myths ever.
As preparations for the 2011 elections went into top gear and politicking took the centre state, a report surfaced on the social media that Chief Ikedi Ohakim, the then governor of Imo State who was seeking re-election, had committed a sacrilege: stripping and flogging a Catholic priest.
According to the report, which later made its way to the mainstream media, in the evening of Sunday, August 8, 2010, Rev. Father Eustace Okorie was arrested by Ohakim’s security aides for blocking the governor’s convoy.
He was then taken to Ohakim, who ordered him detained, stripped naked and beaten.
The Catholic Church, a very powerful political bloc in south-eastern Nigeria, rose in unison against Ohakim and asked its members to vote him out.
Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, the charismatic preacher, leader of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu, and the most popular priest in the south-east, led the campaign against Ohakim.
A song was composed against Ohakim, which was rendered at Mbaka’s crusades and at church gatherings, asking people not to vote for someone who has beaten a reverend father.
Ohakim, who was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), eventually lost his re-election bid, as Owelle Rochas Okorocha of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) benefited from the protest vote.
In a video that is now going viral, Mbaka has openly recanted, saying Okorie has confessed to him that nothing of such ever happened.
Mbaka said: “Some things which when done publicly but happen to be lies should also be publicly recanted.
“When Ohakim was accused of beating up a priest, the whole Roman Catholic Church was outraged and that was his doom.”
He said Ohakim swore before the “blessed sacrament” that it was a false allegation, but by then it was too late to undo the political damage done.
Mbaka said he later called the reverend father in question who confessed to him that the incident never happened.
“I don’t need one kobo from Ohakim to say the truth. My God is the King of kings. And our prophetic message is unbribeable,” he said.