Ahiara Diocese, Let The Right Thing Be Done – By Great Njoku

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The crises that have engulfed the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara Mbaise

for over two years now have generated a lot of media interest and

articles most of which were not properly researched. I, like every

other devout Catholic have followed the development with great awe and

dismay, especially at our religious leaders who should have only been

concerned with fortifying and strengthening our spirituality.

Unfortunately, the reverse has become the case as a few of our priests

have decided to continue misleading their flock as regards the

bishopric appointment for the diocese. It is very unfortunate also

that the laity of the church have been balkanized into factions, the

anti Okpaleke and the Pro Okpaleke, through the lies and deceit of

some of the Priests. This is really bad and even worse as the Catholic

Church is being exposed to ridicule and scorn.

 

For the purpose of the above, I feel it is only proper to let whole

world  know the real truth and the right things to have been done in

this whole issue as the previous information to the public  have all

been biased, one sided and unresearched.

 

To start with the Ahiara Priests have continued to say they are not

fighting Fr. Okpaleke who was appointed  the Bishop of the Diocese to

succeed their former Bishop , the late Bishop Victor Chikwe not

because he is not from Mbaise as people were made to believe but that

they are opposed to the process that produced him as they do not

conform to the laid down rules and procedure of the Catholic church.

 

For instance, every Bishop must belong to the presbytorium he rules or must be

Incardinated in that Diocese. Here Okpaleke is not a priest of the

Ahiara Presbytorium and was not incardinated in it.

 

Again, nomination and appointment of a Bishop is done in utmost

secrecy and the announcement of any chosen Bishop not made through the

internet, but Okpaleke was announced on the internet.

 

Also, it is obligatory for every Bishop to submit three names of

likely successors to the Holy See, (Vatican) every three years. Am

sure Bishop Chikwe who presided over Ahiara Diocese for over 20 years

must have submitted over 20 names.  The questions most people now ask

are what happened to the names he had submitted. What could have

disqualified them and how did Okpaleke who is not an Ahiara Priest

make the list.

 

Those that ask these questions are those who know that the late Bishop

Chikwe as Meticulous and intelligent as he was couldn’t have submitted

faulty names to the Vatican. That is why they demand answers and

urgently too.

 

Another disturbing fact is that the majority of   both Mbaise clergy

and the laity do not want Okpaleke. A study by Cardinal Onaiyekan when

he first visited Ahiara as the supervising Bishop revealed that about

98% of the diocesan laity and about 93% of the clergy of the diocese

representing about 600 priests are against Okpaleke. It is only about

7% representing only 8 priests that want him to come. A clear case of

majority against minority which is a major yardstick in almost every

  1. Going by the above Okpaleke  if eventually imposed on the

people will be like a bride in a family that do not want her which

will be too unfortunate for both himself and the gospel. I am not sure

that those who want Okpaleke to come are aware of the biblical

injunction where God told his apostles to dust their feet and leave

every house hold where they were rejected. I think this would have

been the most noble thing to do so this insistence to impose Okpaleke

could mean different things to different people most of who are not

comfortable with it.

 

Now to the major players, cardinals Arinze, Cassuja, (the Papal Nuncio

to Nigeria)

Filioni of the Vatican, and Onaiyekan of the Abuja Archdiocese who

from facts, actions and pronouncements have shown their hands and

interest to install Okpaleke at all cost, come rain, come shine using

their power and offices at the Vatican which a lot Priests outside

Ahiara diocese, have condemned including Fr. Ejike Mbaka who has

released documentaries even on you-tube against the imposition of

Okpaleke on the Mbaise Diocese.

People who have followed this crises are not happy with these leaders

especially cardinal Arinze who is rumored to be engineering the whole

episode in his  quest to ensure that Anambra Colonizes the Catholic

church in the entire east and then the south later, probably. Yes,

what else can define the fact that the Awka axis where he is from has

over 6 (six) Bishops and Ahiara as big as it is not worthy to have one

even as it is reputed to be among the highest producers of priests

world over. Bear it in mind that most of these priests are  great

scholars and professionals.

 

From investigations, these leaders led by Arinze and Fillioni have

gone contrary to the directives of the pope who has always insisted on

the grassroots for every Bishopric appointment for the sake of

familiarity, ease of language and good knowledge of the peoples

culture and tradition. I am sure most of the letters and documents

they brandish never emanated from the desk of the pope himself, but

from the desk of Cardinal Fillioni who I should rather say is the Pope

Arinze uses to fight his case. But they seem to forget something, and

that is the fact that Okpaleke from all indication is not wanted by

the Mbaises who are crying out for this injustice and slight on them.

In this scenario, he will be so despised  to the extent that what

ever he does will be despised and condemned. This they should have

known will scatter  the church in Mbaise. Maybe that is what they want

to achieve. I don’t even appreciate Cardinal Onaiyekan for being the

executor of the plots to install Okpaleke. If he is not, then he

should not have been in a such a very strong partnership with the

eight pro-Okpaleke priests who do not enjoy a good relationship with

the diocese and its people as most of them have either been sacked or

suspended by their congregations, parishes and even the diocese. This

fact every Mbaise man is aware of and the implication is that the

people now see Onaiyekan as one who is adding salt to injury. I even

hear that Onaiyekan labeled these priests “questionable” when he came

so turning around now to work with them so closely as he does is not a

good development and lends credence to the fact that he has

compromised. A popular belief in Mbaise today is that these

pro-Okpaleke priests want Okpaleke at all cost to save their necks and

face as they have fallen out of favour with the Catholic church in the

 

This could be true, but they should know that evil hardly triumphs over good.

However, I want to fault the excuse of the pro Okpaleke’s who  accuse

the Ahiara priests of petitioning and agitating against initial likely

candidates which the priests have long denied, and even challenged

them to produce evidences to.  To me that excuse is very weak because

if petitions by Mbaise priests stopped the emergence of an Mbaise born

Bishop, then, the protests and agitations against Okpaleke by the

Mbaises would have also stopped him long ago.

 

Note the issue is not about an Mbaise born Bishop, it is all about a

bishop incardinated in the Ahiara Diocese. That is all they want so

let the right thing be done so that the people of Mbaise will not

believe the catholic church which they so much believe in belongs to A

FEW INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE THE RIGHT TO HIRE AND FIRE…

 

GREAT NJOKU

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1 Comment on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Bioseh August 12, 2014 at 9:15 pm -

    This is rubbish. The Church is not a democracy. You don’t get to vote for your priest or Bishop. They just get posted period. The Priests pushing this nonsense can not change the way the Church works.

    If they don’t like it, they can start their own church. Do not politicize our Universal Church. By the way Arinze is not from the same diocese as Okpaleke and the claim of Anambra domination of the Church is nothing but useless sensationalism.

    Guess who is the new Vice Chancellor of Unizik at Awka ? An Ahiara man stupid. Just appointed.