Mbaise Catholic Crisis: Priests, CWO Dare Cardinal Onaiyekan… Say ‘You Can’t Stop Us From Holding CWO Day, Golden Jubilee’

The crisis rocking the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara Mbaise in Imo State continued as some women in the diocese, backed by the chaplain of the Diocesan Catholic Women Organisation(ADCWO), Very Rev. Fr. Chris Uka Akuchie, are daring the Apostolic Administrator of the diocese and Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Archdiocese, His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan to hold the ADCWO Day scheduled to take place on Saturday November 29.
This is despite the radio announcement by Cardinal Onaiyekan through the Vicar-General of the diocese, Rev. Fr. Clement Ebii, canceling the event as well as the Golden Jubilee celebration scheduled for Saturday December 20, 2014, because the events had not been authorized by the Apostolic Administrator. learnt that another reason for the cancellation was because all the priests and the women involved in the planning organization of the events are the people disobeying every order and directive from both the Pope and Cardinal Onaiyekan, especially when it involves the issue of Bishop Peter Okpalaeke.
It was also learnt that the priests and some of the leadership of the diocesan laity (especially Christian Men Organisation and CWO) have refused to acknowledge the leadership of Rev. Fr. Ebii as the Vicar-General of the Diocese because he is the person leading the support for the impeded Bishop Peter Okpalaeke, hence their refusal to seek Cardinal Onaiyekan’s permission to hold the event as they must be directed to meet with Ebii.
It would be recalled that Rt. Rev. Peter Okpalaeke was ordained bishop in 2012 and was posted to the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara. But the majority of the priests and the laity from the diocese rejected his posting saying he is not an indigene of Mbaise.
The priests cited marginalization as their reason, adding that Ahiara Diocese had over 1000 indigenous priests, most of who, they said, were more qualified to be bishops.
In a statement issued to counter Cardinal Onaiyekan’s radio announcement, the diocesan chaplain of the CWO, Fr. Akuchie urged the faithful to disregard the “malicious announcement” as according to him, it merely came from Fr. Ebii, whose motive, he said was to distract the  pastoral events in the diocese.
The priest, who described Fr. Ebii as Orchestrated agents of disunity and destruction in the diocese, insisted that the events would go on as planned and nobody was capable of stopping it.
According to Akuchie, contrary to Fr. Ebii’s false information, Cardinal Onaiyekan did in deed approve the CWO celebration and cautioned Fr. Ebii to desist from such distractions.
In the same vein, the president of the ADCWO, Mrs. Felicia Nwogu condemned the serial distraction emanating from Fr. Ebii, who she said was acting as an acolyte to the impeded Bishop Okpalaeke.
She said the women had already put everything in motion to have a smooth outing , saying that no priest working against the aspiration of Mbaise people would stop it from holding.
Mrs. Nwogu disclosed that the Cardinal approved of the events before they were made public in the diocesan diary, describing the people behind the purported cancellation as enemies of the diocese and the church.
She added that Fr. Ebii and his group were only acting in support of Bishop Okpalaeke just for their selfish gains and advised the women of the diocese to disregard the announcement from the “little group”.


  1. I am sorry for my mbaise people. A woman, a communicant, a model of the blessed virgin referring to a cardinal as agent of darkness is very unbecoming of Catholicism, mbaise should know when fighting for their right become a direct confrontation against God and his elect. The hallmark of a true church is that it must be

  2. Why do some media outfits revel in dishing out utter lies and gibberish to the public just to score cheap point, thereby fouling the information airwave? I am baffled at the way many of our media houses engage in junk journalism. Who said that cardinal onaiyekan did not approve the CWO day celebration. It is ad rem to point out here that every diocese has a diary and calendar of each year’s events. And before the diary is published, the local ordinary must go through it and give approval of all the programmes. Cardinal Onaiyekan had at the beginning of the year approved all the programmes and never gave any injunction contrary. Who is this Fr Ebii who arrogates to himself the status of acting ultra vires in church matters. When Chima Ahaneku and his gang of hoodlums broke into St Brigid’s church, on October 16th this year, the acephalous cleric produced a letter from this same Fr Ebii authorising him to commit the crime. On his own part, Fr Ebii claimed that Cardinal Onaiyekan gave him the order to act apropos. When the Cardinal was contacted, he denied Fr Ebii’s claim. What is actually wrong with both this media outfit and Fr Ebii? Why cant it do a thorough investigation before churning out thrash to the public.

  3. Should anyone be “sorry for my mbaise people.” The Catholic Church is a universal communion and so every thing concerning it should be treated not as personal. Therefore, what affects one church and its people affects all of us. I had the same opinion as you at the beginning, but a Rev. father from Ihiala gave me the brake-down about why Peter Okpaleke should not have been elected for Ahiara as:

    1. Every living Bishop elects 3-priests to replace him in case of death.

    2. The priests must have been approved by the diocesan College of consultors: (i.e. a group of priests selected from the diocesan Council). He told me Okpaleke’s name was not among the 3-priests reserved. Then, how come, I asked?

    2. The names of the 3-priest, he said are kept secret, until the Vatican, through the Nuncio announces the one chosen. He also said when the Nuncio called Archbishop Bishop Obinna of Owerri diocese to inform him that Okpaleke is to go to Mbaise, he said Obinna doubted the possibility and in his reaction, the Nuncio said: “…we’ll give it a try.” Now the world sees first hand what damage and shame a trial and error can bring. That’s how I see it now. Do you still blame Mbaise? We should blame the corrupt practice that magically brought Okpaleke into Ahiara.

    3. According to the priest, the Cannon Law, he educated me, states that for a priest to qualify as a bishop in a particular diocese, that priest (a) must have done Apostolic work in the diocese, (b) must have been a Seminarian in the diocese. Okpaleke, he said was crashed into Ahiara by Cardinal Arinze, whom he once served in Rome, with out regard for the provisions of the canon Law. He also pointed out that his own people had rejected him before Mbaise. Anyone who knows these facts and still believes that Mbaise people are nonentities to be fulled should think again. Mbaise has the right to choose one they think would work for them; not by force. So do not be deceived as I was; many ills are passing through the ordained priests and bishops.

    3. Lastly, it is not the first time bishops have been rejected, neither would it be the last time another would be rejected by the people. Maturity and discipline educates us that religion and belief are personal choices, not a thing that must be enforced on people. Something is wrong with the picture if we don’t defend the truth in the name of God, no matter who is involved.

  4. If I were Okpaleke. I would have pleaded with the pope or whosoever is representing him in Nigeria to relieve me of this burden so that the faithful of Mbaise can move on with their religious life. The drama in Mbaise is an eloquent proof that serious politics is also played in the church Mbaise is not the first diocese to protest this ( imanmadu) in the catholic church.


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