What a wonderful day the Lord has made! And what a great joy for us to have Your Eminence in our midst as the Apostolic Administrator of our beloved Diocese of Ahiara, Mbaise! We say thank you for accepting to be our Apostolic Administrator. We therefore ask Your Eminence to convey our deepest gratitude, love and loyalty to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, for his solicitude and kindness towards our diocese.
But how did we become this blessed and privileged for the Holy Father to send the most distinguished cleric in Nigeria to come down to us and take charge of our troubled diocese and despairing spirit? Are we that special in the eyes of God and the Holy Father as to be blessed with a personality as great as His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, as the Apostolic Administrator of our diocese? This is surely a clear case of God lifting up the lowliest from the dung-heap and placing them on a throne. What a great miracle!
In appreciation of the wonderful event of July 3rd 2013, we have continued to sing the song of our Blessed Mother Mary, Mother of the Church, and the patroness of our diocese: “Our souls magnify the Lord; our spirits rejoice in God our Saviour; for He has looked upon the lowliness of His humble servants…” Your Eminence, our souls are today overflowing with joy, for God Almighty looked down on the lowliness, poverty, rural nature and wretchedness of our beloved diocese to win for us the attention of the Holy Father, Pope Francis at this crucial point in time.
It is important to let Your Eminence know from the start about the great havoc the controversial choice of Bishop Ebere Peter Okpalaeke as the Bishop of Ahiara Diocese had wreaked in the spirituality and psyche of the great Catholics of Ahiara Diocese. It was an ill-advised choice that succeeded only in multiplying and compounding the great pains we had been feeling over the sudden death of our beloved first bishop, Most Rev. Victor Adibe Chikwe. The unwelcomed appointment of Bishop Okpaleke for Ahiara Diocese succeeded in extending our mourning over our late bishop for a considerable length of time. It was indeed a nightmare that defied the understanding of even the most loyal Catholic in Mbaise.
Finding ourselves in such a terrible situation, Mbaise people across the world lifted up their voices in prayer for God’s intervention. Your Eminence’s presence in our midst on this day is a clear demonstration that God Almighty has listened and acted promptly on the prayers of His poor children from Mbaise. For us, the good Lord through the Holy Father sent Your Eminence on a rescue mission to our diocese to act as the present-day Joshua who will lead Mbaise Catholics across the River Jordan to the promised land of Justice, Charity and Fair-play. We believe that the Holy Father’s recent address to the Nuncios regarding the criteria for selecting a bishop has made your work easier and more direct.
All that Mbaise Catholics are asking for is justice, fair-play and due process. Let what is due to a people be given to them. Let no people use their privileged positions in the Catholic Church as a cover and leverage to foster modern-day colonization and domination of their brothers and sisters. Let the new commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ reign again in the Catholic Church in Igboland. This is both our plea and our prayer.
For us, the Catholics of Ahiara Diocese Mbaise, Your Eminence’s appointment makes it abundantly clear to us that nothing can separate Mbaise people from the love of God; not even the death of our beloved Bishop, Most Rev. Victor Adibe Chikwe, nor the injustice and slander meted to us by our detractors.
In the person of Your Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, the Holy Spirit through our beloved Holy Father, Pope Francis, made a great choice of a fair-minded Apostolic Administrator. In the past several years, Your Eminence has been exhibiting sterling qualities of objectivity, impartiality and single-mindedness. It has never been said of Your Eminence that you could compromise justice or condone issues of injustice. Rather, Your Eminence has always been seen as a far-looking visionary who is imbued with a deep faith and brotherly solicitude for all. In Your Eminence, we see a Daniel that has come to judge our case justly and truthfully. We will therefore expect nothing less from Your Eminence.
This is why we are overly excited that the Holy Spirit and the Holy Father chose your Eminence to come down to Ahiara Diocese and shepherd us as our administrator till the time it will please the good Lord to bless us with a Bishop, who, in the words of His Holiness, Pope Francis, is a Pastor ‘close to the people, … a Father and Brother’. It is on this note that we say: Welcome, Your Eminence, to the great Mbaise Land! Welcome to the land of orthodox and uncompromising Catholicism. Welcome to the land of Parents, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews as well as relatives of many Nigerian missionary priests and religious working across the world as ambassadors of both the universal church and the local church of Nigeria.
It might also interest Your Eminence to know that you have arrived in the land of the unquenchable fountain of religious vocations. This is the land that produced the great religious woman leader and administrator who would go on to become the First African and black Superior General of a religious congregation in the person of the late Mother Gertrude Waturuocha of the Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus.
It is important to remind Your Eminence that you have come to the land that produced such great spiritual leaders as late Msgr. Edward Ahaji, who was considered the John Baptist Mary Vianney of his time, and our very amiable late Bishop Victor Adibe Chikwe, who proved himself while he lived to be one of the most successful bishops in the history of Igbo Catholicism.
We cannot forget to let Your Eminence know that you are in the land of late Msgr. Ignatius Mmereole Okoroanyanwu, who, as a young priest assisted by Fr. Theo Nwalo, accepted the heavy burden of the war-ravaged Owerri Diocese, then the biggest diocese in Africa from the hands of Bishop J.B. Whelan and other expelled Irish Missionaries, and ably carried her through the hard and most painful post-civil war months, right into the safe hands of Bishop Mark Unegbu when the later become ordained as the second Bishop of Owerri Diocese in September of 1970.
It should be mentioned too, that you are in the Diocese that has produced two Rectors who presently served the two major seminaries of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province and a former Rector of St. Joseph’s Major Seminary Ikot Ekpene; and many others who had been and still members of staff of higher ecclesiastical Institutions in Nigeria.
Welcome to the land of a vibrant Lay Faithful who, with a torch of faith from home, have lit the light of true Catholic spirituality and advanced the course of evangelization in many parts of Nigeria. Welcome to the homeland of Vivian Uchechi Ogu, our local Saint Maria Goretti, who died a Martyr in defence of her purity in Benin City on November 15th 2009.
These, show Your Eminence that you are in the land of very dedicated Catholics and accomplished clergy and religious men and women who have a long history of success in the discharge of their ecclesiastical duties. This is the type of people the Holy Spirit and the Holy Father have sent Your Eminence to come and work with in Ahiara Diocese. As you have declared, Your Eminence that you are coming to our diocese with a clear and an open mind, we assure you of total cooperation and allegiance. We understand the historic nature of Your Eminence’s assignment in our diocese. We promise to make it a period that will be always remembered and celebrated in the annals of our beloved diocese.
We have you in constant prayer. May Our Blessed Mother, Mater Ecclesiae, enfold you into her protective hands as you strive to bring to us peace, joy and happiness which we once enjoyed but have eluded us for some time now. May the good Lord who chose Your Eminence for this special apostolate in Ahiara Diocese help bring it to a successful conclusion. Amen.
___________________________Rt. Rev. Msgr. Theo Nwalo Former Diocesan Administrator Ahiara Diocese Prof. Paschal E. Okorie Former Chairman, Ahiara Diocesan Pastoral Council Nze Sylvester Agommuo CMO Ahiara Diocese Mr. Godwin Onyeananam CMO Ahiara Mbaise Chief Mrs. Felicia Nworgu CWO Ahiara Mbaise Lady Cecilia Emecheta CWO, Ahiara Mbaise
Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital
The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.
The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.
Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.
“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”
Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”
The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.
Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.
Lessons from the Melee in Mali
Just a couple of days ago, former president of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, penned an assuring message on his successful mediation trips – leading the ECOWAS fact-finding and resolution team to Mali. The ink is still wet on that page when we however, woke up to the news of a coup in Mali. Whether it is Gambia, Guinea, Sudan, name them, Africa seems to be on the back foot when it comes to democratic gains. Is this a recurring narrative?
Mali should be another stark reminder to other African governments especially Nigeria that when an ineffective, out of touch and repressive government is about to come to an end, it always happens suddenly, not gradually. The tempo always builds up but from the inside, presenting a false calm exterior. Then like a landslide, it unexpectedly gives; the whole mountain comes crumbling as can be seen happening right now in Mali.
Seething resentments towards kleptocratic African governments always showcase themselves at the fall. African governments are miles behind, regarding the yearnings of their people and just like it happened in the ’60’s and ’70’s during our independence and subsequent coups and counter coups, Africa – led by its yearning youths connected globally through technology and the internet –is again bursting at the seams for legitimacy, effective leadership, direction and global integration.
The elitist old folks at the helm, unable to catch up and belligerent towards inclusive prosperity and development, are using their incumbent powers and minions to thwart the wishes of the people but for how long?
After the World War II, the world is again witnessing an unprecedented degree of untold suffering and death at peacetime, as a result of human disaster, but in Africa. It seems like the world rebuilt itself and moved on without us. How did we get here? How did we get left behind? First we started the blame game with the effect of slave trade, then the shackles of colonialism, yet Eastern countries have come out of both and are prosperous regardless.
China and the rest of the block are another testament that most of our arguments though with their merits, don’t hold water in their entirety. We are the makers of our destinies.
The origin of Mali’s problems, like every other Africa country, is government sectarianism – where a people in power skew electoral outcomes to favor themselves and their minions. This always led to widespread corruption, mismanagement of the economy, worsening security situations and exacerbating communal violence consequently.
For Mali, it started on June 5 when thousands of people went on street protest against the hijacked outcome of the parliamentary elections which took place on March 25. It turned deadly and 11 people were killed. As it is, regional security is threatened, at a time when COVID-19 and economic positions of these countries, indeed the whole world, are in tatters.
Whether it is Nigeria, Congo, Somalia, Kenya, name it, the problem is the same. When responsibility is alienated from governance, it breeds impunity which leads to corruption.
Like cancer, this corruption feeds and sustains itself by permeating all democratic institutions in its bid to replicate, validate and perpetuate itself, thus adulterating the electoral process which ultimately leads to political disintegration with the people seen as the enemy.
Our present crop of leaders has worked constitutions and political structures to such an extent that they sit home and predict electoral and judicial outcomes to the last digit.
This begs the question, is democracy working for Africa and if it doesn’t, what works? At times like this, we as Africans, should look inwards and take stock of how far we have come with the advent of constitutional democracy, where we have lost it and what should be done. The Chinese have found their formula, the Russians too. We too must find our path to an all inclusive, sustainable and prosperous future.
By Iboro Otu
BAN ON THE CANAANLAND ADORATION (ALIAS E-DEY WORK) MINISTRY AND WITHDRAWAL OF FACULTY FROM REV. FR. MAGNUS EBERE SDV
To the Clergy, Religious and Laity of
Dear people of God!
Compliments of the season: peace and joy!
As bishop, it is my duty to uphold authentic gospel values, sound Catholic traditions in worship and defend the teaching of the Catholic Church on faith and morals. It is also my responsibility to ensure that it is transmitted to the faithful in its purity and integrity in my area of pastoral jurisdiction.
Having established that there are serious abuses in the administration of the sacraments and sacramentals in the Canaanland Adoration Ministry a.k.a E-Dey Work as well as many other practices in the Adoration Ministry which are contrary to the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church, I withdrew the Faculties of the Diocese of Ahiara from Fr. Magnus Ebere a priest of the Society of Divine Vocation (SDV), who started the Adoration Ministry without the required permission from an ecclesiastical authority. Consequently, he can no longer legitimately carry out priestly ministry such as preaching, celebration of the Mass, hearing confessions and administration of the other Sacraments and Sacramentals in the Diocese of Ahiara.
Nevertheless, Fr. Magnus has continued his private Ministry at his Centre in Onicha Ezinihitte in the Diocese of Ahiara in gross disobedience to me the bishop and also his Superior General in Rome who has also directed him to stop his Adoration Ministry. I hereby state that the Catholic Church has nothing to do with his Ministry. Accordingly, the faithful of Ahiara Catholic Diocese and other Dioceses are hereby warned to desist from attending the Ministry of a defiant priest, who has no respect for Church authority and Church law. Those who attend his private Ministry do so at their own spiritual peril.
God bless you!
Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji
Apostolic Administrator of Ahiara Diocese
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