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Bishop Okpaleke Ordained for Ahiara



Bishop Okpaleke receiving the Crossier from Most Rev. A.J.V. Obinna, the Principal Consecrator

Bishop Okpaleke receiving the Crossier from Most Rev. A.J.V. Obinna, the Principal Consecrator

Msgr. Peter Okpaleke was on Tuesday May 21, consecrated Bishop of Ahiara Diocese amidst tight security.

The Episcopal Ordination which was earlier scheduled to take place at Mater Ecclesiae Cathedral Ahiara was suddenly shifted to the Seat of Wisdom Seminary Owerri for security reasons. However, the ceremony was peaceful and successful as there was no report of any breach of peace.

The Most. Rev. Anthony Obinna, the Archbishop of Owerri and Metropolitan of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province presided over the ceremony assisted by over 40 Catholic bishops including the Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Most Rev. Augustine Kasujja, His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan, the Cardinal Archbishop of Abuja and the Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos and President Catholic Bishops Conference of  Nigeria (CBCN).

The consecration began with the reading of the Decree of Appointment of Msgr. Peter Okpaleke as Bishop of Ahiara on December 7, 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI.

The Decree read by the Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Kasujja reads in part: “Since provision must be made for the Cathedral See of Ahiara, vacant since death of its Bishop, Victor Chikwe of happy memory, We, discharging the most grave duty as Supreme Pontiff, of all the Lord’s flock, having received the opinion of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, consider you (Okpaleke), beloved son, endowed with the required qualities and skilled in ecclesiastical matters in Canon Law, suitable to lead it. Therefore, by virtue of our Supreme Apostolic authority, we appoint you to be Bishop of Ahiara, with all its rights and obligations.”

Preaching the homily, the Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, Catholic bishop of Umuahia traced the history of the Catholic Church in Ahiara Diocese, how Ahiara people welcomed the faith with great enthusiasm, generosity and commitment and remained faithful in the face of difficulties, challenges and trials.

He noted that the fruits of their fidelity were seen in the flourishing of vocation to the priesthood and Religious life in Mbaise Land and in the rapid increase in the number of lay faithful.

Bishop Ugorji noted the contributions of Most Rev. V.A. Chikwe, pioneer bishop of Ahiara Diocese. He recalled that for over two years, after the death of Bishop Chikwe, the faithful of Ahiara Diocese have been praying God to send them a shepherd after His own heart.

“On 7th December 2012, Msgr. Peter Ebere Okpaleke was appointed bishop-elect of Ahiara Diocese by Pope Benedict XVI,” Bishop Ugorji recalled, adding that, “he was not chosen for personal aggrandizement but for the service of the flock entrusted to his care.”

Reflecting on the readings, Bishop Ugorji said that Christians who fan the embers of hatred, disaffection and antagonism do a great disservice to the church and her mission to unite all people, stressing that, “ethnocentrism, clannishness and inclusiveness have no place in the church of Christ”

Making reference to what he called unsubstantiated allegations that are presently tearing some communities apart, Ugorji said it has become necessary to make it clear that no Cardinal, no Archbishop or Bishop, no Episcopal Conference, either National or Provincial can appoint a Bishop.

“It is the Holy Father, who has the final say in the appointment and posting of bishops in the Catholic Church”, Bishop Ugorji pointed out, adding that Church law has no consideration for place of origin in the appointment of bishops”.

Accepting Papal appointments and posting of bishops, he continued “is a demonstration of filial respect for the Sacred Authority of the Holy Father. Outright rejection of a Papal appointment, accompanied by offensive write-ups in the media, peddling of malicious rumours, making inflammatory statements to incite unsuspecting Christians to disobedience is to say the least disrespectful and inciteful of Church authority. Openly, flouting the highest ecclesiae authority shocks the sensibility of Catholics and scandalizes non-Catholics.”

He appealed to those who feel aggrieved by the appointment of Bishop Okpaleke to cool their temper. “Now, it is time to get rid of anger; as children of God your anger should not go beyond sunset.” He urged them to heed the appeal of the Holy Father, and receive their new Bishop with generous heart.

Making reference to the Bible, the bishop said we must not molest the stranger, “for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” We, the Igbo people, are everywhere in the World and if you go to the moon; if there are people there, you will find the Igbos. So, we cannot afford to reject other people, not to talk of rejecting a fellow Igbo man”.

He reminded the people of Christ’s exhortation to the apostles when he said, “who ever listen” to you listen’s to me, who ever rejects you, rejects me and whoever rejects me, rejects the one who sent me.”

“Most Rev. Peter Okpaleke has been sent to you, accept him, listen to him, co-operate with him to build up God’s Kingdom in Ahiara Diocese,” Bishop Ugorji forth pleaded.

In his post-Ordination address, Bishop Okpaleke said everybody was aware of the opposition to his ordination from certain quarters, adding that the venue of the ordination (Seat of Wisdom Seminary Owerri) also confirmed that “the dust has not completely settled.”

Turning to the people of Ahiara, Bishop Okpaleke said that the turbulence of the last months and even the unsettledness of the situation now should not leave us gloomy, dejected or fearful.

He observed that Ahiara people love God and God will surely, through the events of the past months, strength us all in faith, hope and love.

“God, in His inscrutable will, has given us to each other. As your Bishop, I shall do my best to be a good shepherd, to respect, love and serve you in humility. I will do everything within my means to promote the Gospel and enhance the lives of our people. .

Bishop Peter Ebere Okpaleke was born at Amesi in Aguata LGA Anambra State. He was ordained priest on August 22, 1992. He has a doctorate degree in Canon Law. Until his appointment as Bishop-elect for Ahiara Diocese, he was the parish priest of SS John and Paul Umubele, Awka.

Out reporter, Emeka Ani, said about 20 priests out of over 200 priests in Ahiara Diocese attended the ordination and pledged obedience to their new bishop. However, the Laity including Knights of the Church were their in their large numbers.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Agwara Augustine

    June 7, 2013 at 11:16 am

    According to the canon law, “is Okpaleke due to be the bishop of ahiara diocese?”, if one should ask.

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HRH Eze Peter Opara inaugurates cabinet



HRH Eze Peter Opara  inaugurates cabinet

…As traditional leadership gets boost at Umunumo Ancient Kingdom

By Magnus Ibe

The Traditional leadership of Umunumo Autonomous Community, Ehime Mbano LGA of Imo State received a resounding boost on Sunday August 23, as the cabinet members were formally inaugurated by HRH, Eze Peter Chima Opara (Eze Udo II).

The assemblage of top brass personalities into the cabinet is indicative of robust prospects for the growth and development of the Ancient Autonomous Community.

Inaugurating the members of the Eze-in-Council, the Royal Father charged the inductees to shun personal interest and put the community in the front burner for a rapid transformation and development. He enjoined the cabinet members to be proactive, articulative and dogged about the welfare of the community, employment and empowerment of the youths so that a new chapter is enacted.

According to him, many are called, but few are chosen. He charged them to move the community to the next level by articulating right attitude and formulate policies that will accelerate the development of the community. He cautioned against indolence and insubordination that can retard the unity and development of the community.

HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara with Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu and other priests

HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara with Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu and other priests

In his remarks, the President-General of the Town, Chief Godwin Uwah working in synergy with the royal father advised that the various Town Unions leadership should synergize and work in one page with the cabinet members. Chief Godwin Uwah observed that membership of cabinet is subject to review every four years.

Among the cabinet members comprise Chief Godwin Uwah PG, Sir MCN Asawalam (KSM), Chief Chidi Ogueri, Chief Sir Emmanuel Ibe, Chief Aloka Alexander, Nze H.D. Eze, Mr. Emeto K. Michael, Nze Godwin Amaku, Mr. Columba Ohazurike, Chief Mel Daimeon Osuji (Omereoha), Hon Ononamadu Emeka Joseph, Chief Peter Crown Duru, Chief Romanus Ogueri, Comrade Godwin Ihekwoaba, Nze Romanus Chukwu, Nze Vincent Ukah, Chief E. Evaristus Okafor, Chief S. Okele, Nze Clement Iwueze, Hon Felix Iwuji, Chief S. Obikaonu, Hon Kelechi Iwueze, Mr. Joseph Obi Onyema (Deputy PG), ACP H. Agbiogwu, Chief M.C. Okoro, Nze Nneji Boniface, Nze Charles Nwokoro, Nze Edmund Nwokeke, Chief Joseph Anosike, Chief M. Dingwo, Chief Columbia Isikuma, Chief Oliver Agbaso, Ichie Bernard Nwohiri, Nze Titus Iwunze, Chief Romanus Ijejiobi and all village chairmen constitute members of the enlarged cabinet. HRH Eze P. Alozie, Abunumo I graced the event.

In a vote of thanks, Chief Mel-Daimeon Osuji, promised on behalf of the members of the Eze’s cabinet to live above board like Caesar’s wife. He observed that he was humbled to speak on behalf of the top brass personalities who constitute the Eze-in-Council and also made a personal donation of one million naira.

Centre: HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara (Ezeudo II) with the cabinet  members, Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu & Eze & Ugoeze P.O. Alozie (Ebunumo I)

Centre: HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara (Ezeudo II) with the cabinet
members, Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu & Eze & Ugoeze P.O. Alozie (Ebunumo I)

In his contribution, Hon. Emeka Joseph Ononammadu, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Enugu State, who is also a member of the cabinet made a mouthwatering financial support and others including Sir. M.C.N. Asawalam donated handsomely.

Inducting the new cabinet members, Msgr. Jerry Ofoegbu prayed for God’s guidance and wisdom for the Royal Father and the cabinet members.

He eulogized the royal father for putting God first in his nascent leadership. He admonished the PG and the members of the Eze-in-Council to ensure peace and unity in their various domain. He spoke against injustice, insubordination and manipulative divisive tendencies that will sow seed of discord in the community. He prayed God to bless the royal father with the Wisdom of Solomon.

Msgr. Ofoegbu prayed for longitivity, peace and development of Umunumo Ama-Iri community. He cautioned against sectionalism and maltreatment of widows, orphans and the less privileged in the society.

Traditional cuisine of palm wine, Ugba with stockfish and other local delicacies were served to all and sundry. Eze & Ugoeze Ekwunno, Eze Umuezeala Oguara graced the event amid pomp and pageantry.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital



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.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

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.

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Aham Umukwu-Odenkwume Bridge, a death trap – Eze Iwuoha



Aham Umukwu-Odenkwume Bridge, a death trap - Eze Iwuoha

…As truck survives crash into river

By Magnus Ibe

The Traditional Ruler of Odenkwume Autonomous Community, HRH, Eze Iwuoha Austin (Nkwume II) has cried out against the deplorable and deadly condition of the Aham Umukwu-Odenkwume bridge which he described as a death trap and an accident waiting to happen.

According to him, the very narrow and dilapidated bridge pose serious threat to lives of natives and commuters plying the only route leading through his domain to their kits and kins in Obowo Local Government Area.

Nkwume (II), disclosed that several persons have lost their lives through accidents occasioned by the porous and deadly bridge. He narrated a chilling experience of how two occupants of a car drowned in the Aham River when their vehicle which could not climb the high hill, descended and crashed into the river, killing the two occupants before any help could come.

Corroborating their nasty experience, Hon. Julius Ogoke, the Palace Public Relations officer narrated how an Okada rider crashed and died on the very deadly bridge.

A near fatal accident occurred on the same bridge on the afternoon of Thursday August 27th when a truck with Registration No Lagos AGL 504 conveying crates of beer crashed into the same bridge. It was only through divine intervention that children who were swimming at the time cheated death by whiskers and were lucky as the truck hung on the base of the bridge.
Concurring to the views of Hon. Ogoke, Okenze Gerald Kekeocha and Nze Augustus Ibe observed that the leaders of the community are contemplating shutting down the bridge to heavy duty trucks and trailers to avoid the collapse of the bridge.
The duo posited that the community began the construction of the bridge in 1977 through communal efforts. They expressed worry at the present state of the bridge which is a smooth ride from Orieagu and Aguneze axis.

Investigation reveals that the construction of the bridge which was allegedly part of the design awarded under the defunct Ikedi Ohakim administration was abandoned by contractors after was ousted by former Governor Rochas Okorocha.

A road user, Dr. Bonaventuru Chukwu described the bridge as a flash point for criminal activities as hoodlums capitalize on the porous nature of the bridge to snatch cars kidnapp, rob and fleece commuters of cash and valuables.

It was observed that natives of Odenkwume Community embarked on remedial measures of dropping stones on the craters on both sides of the bridge. They also tried to rehabilitate the bridge with make-shift support of bamboo sticks with mixture of cement and chippings.

The leaders of the community made a compassionate appeal to the state government to quickly intervene before the bridge caves in.

Vehicular traffic on the rout increases daily as a result of the immotorable road networks at Ihitte-Uboma, Ehime-Mbano, Mbaise and Obowo as commuters divert through the road which is a smooth ride.

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