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Communicating Life, Truth and Love In Our Encounters

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A small-note address to the Communication Directors – Diocesan and Congregational – at the Assumpta Pastoral Centre, Owerri Tuesday 1st April 2014

 

Multi-Level Encounters

Most Rev. Anthony Obinna

Most Rev. Anthony Obinna

The concept of encounter in your meeting as Communication Directors in the Catholic Church is a very rich, dynamic and challenging one. Your meeting is indeed an encounter of believers in Christ and experts in Communications who seek to use your Catholic Faith and specialized knowledge in Communications science and technology to evangelize and humanize the many levels of human encounter in our daily lives, church life, social life, public life and global life, unto more peaceful and enriching stances.

 

1.    The Africa-Europe-America Encounter

I mention this encounter first because for over five hundred years now negative and positive influences from Europe and America continue to shape the present and future of us Africans. The latest much publicized encounter has been the tyrannical attempt to foist same-sex unions upon Africans as a right  to be constitutionally legalized. Happily Africans at large and Nigerians in particular have reasoned and risen together to denounce and reject this tyranny that reminds us in many ways of previous acts of tyranny and slavery in our history.

 

There is  in fact a whole package of anti-life and anti-God measures associated with this same-sex union – promiscuity, contraceptives, abortion  and the harvest of stem-cell tissues – which are being aggressively pushed into Africa .

Since Africa and Africans continue to cherish God and Life as foundational and essential to existence the promotion of the cult of God, the gospel and culture of Life must be priorities in our communication service.

 

2.     The Africa-Africa Encounter

The opening-up and breaking down of territorial boundaries  within the continent  of Africa has increased the rate  of movement  and encounters between and among Africans. While such opening up has led and could lead to the broadening  of human  fellowship  and  mutual understanding it has led to horrifying violence and brutal slaughter of fellow Africans due to leadership failures. This is a very serious challenge to us Africans especially the governments and Churches to find ways of safeguarding African lives, eliminating and preventing conflicts, war and bloodshed.

Africans must learn and be taught to equi-value every human life; to equally cherish one another. African life is as sacred as any other human life across the globe.

 

3.  The Nigeria-Nigeria Encounter

Nigeria’s National Conference begun on the 17th March 2014 provides Nigerians from almost every locality and walk of life a rare opportunity to come face to face with their loves and hates, with their strengths and biases, with their mutual expectations and grievances, with their hopes and dreams, with their constraints and pain, a lot of which have been inherited, nurtured and transmitted over the years.

 

Given that our Communicators share Africa’s pro-life stance and given your special mission to heal divides and build bridges of love and friendship, I believe that your concerted service across Nigeria will help nudge Nigerians towards respecting and caring for one another as mutually appreciative humans and citizens.

 

4.     The Christian – Muslim Encounter

The Christian – Muslim Encounter is apparently the most touchy and delicate in Nigeria. With the continuous killing of Christians in the North by the Boko haram Islamic sect, a tense dialogue goes on in the hearts of otherwise peaceful Christians and Muslims. At the National Conference an incipient confrontation over prayers between Muslims and Christians was averted by the adoption of the second stanza of Nigeria’s national anthem as the official prayer. Rather than a dialogical encounter unto peace, Nigerian Muslims and Christians may only achieve a semblance of peace by avoiding a confrontation. This may have the indirect but welcome consequence of promoting more tolerance among Christians and Muslims.

If Nigerian Muslims and Nigerian Christians were to work concertedly  on common good issues to the benefit of all Nigerians without forcing Islam or Christianity into the dynamics, we might end up with a humanizing Islam  and a humanizing Christianity without thereby evacuating their more spiritual – doctrinal aspects.

 

5.   The Intra-Church Encounter

Ecumenism, the effort to forge unity among Christians, is going through tough times in Nigeria. Without an appreciation of certain doctrinal, moral and canonical givens in the One Church of Christ parallel authorities, organizations and structures among Christians are developing which relativize the Christian identity and  mission. Lead-members of such Church-bodies see and hold themselves as quasi-autonomous Churches.

Healthy Ecumenism will always demand a unifying focus and thrust for all Christians in order to render Christians’ witness to Christ in the nation and world  more credible. Communication as an evangelizing agent must become ecumenical – geared towards unifying believers and non-believers as one family of God.

 

6.   The Intra-Catholic Church Encounter

As the Church directly founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ the Catholic Church is continually challenged to nourish and critique the vertical and horizontal encounters within its communion unto pastoral effectiveness.

The hierarchical nature of the Catholic Church tends to structure its encounters obedientially, while its charismatic thrust leaves room for freedom and choice. In Nigeria and elsewhere instances of disobedience and confrontation have come up creating unusual tensions. Catholic Communicators are challenged to share the self-sacrificing thrust of Christ’s priesthood – the seal of hierarchy – and expand their charismatic generosity in order to help the Catholic Church be the prime witness of God’s Life, Truth and Love in our common world for which she already exists.

 

7.   God-Humanity Encounter

While we pray for you and challenge you to succeed in your efforts at promoting life-enhancing encounters in  various settings it is gratifying to know and confess that the God-Humanity Encounter in Christ is the regenerative source and energy for sharing real life, firm truth and genuine love in our multi-faceted encounters.

With the fall of man into sin and evil and with the spread thereof man’s encounter with fellow-man took on a violent thrust that continued to expand as humanity’s greed and lust expanded. Even in the more noble figures of history like Moses, David and Peter we find flaws that reinforced humanity’s violent streak.

But with God’s assumption of our human nature in the person of Jesus Christ and particularly in his acceptance of death from humans without  hatred, bitterness or vengeance, Jesus inaugurated a new humanity, a new family, enlivened with God’s own life, enlightened by God’s own truth, embedded in God’s own love.

The more we share in God’s life in Christ the more we believe God’s truth in Christ and the more we embrace God’s love in Christ the more effective we will be in communicating them to others in our every encounter.

 

Most Rev. Anthony J. V. Obinna
Archbishop of Owerri

 

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USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas

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USAID averts 25,000 unwanted pregnancies in Ebonyi, Kogi

…Umuagwo Varsity of Agric kicks-off October

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun Covid-19 testing in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, “in a bid to reduce the impact of community spread of the virus in the rural areas of the state.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba disclosed this in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday.

Chief Emelumba said so far, the USAID officials have carried out reasonable number of testing in Njaba LGA and reported that all those tested came out negative and that the council prayed that the result from other Local Government Areas will be the same.

He announced that the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the take off of the Imo State University for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo in October this year.

According to him, the approval underscores the efforts which the Imo State Government ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma has made towards the establishment of a second university for the state.

Recently, the NUC panel was in Imo State to carry out the necessary verification exercises on the state facilities, human and physical infrastructures.

Mr. Declan Emelumba, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, Commissioner for Health Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, informed that the Executive Council is happy that something new is happening in the Education Sector of the State.

Emelumba said that the Imo State University of Science and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo will take off by October when other universities would be resuming for a new academic session.

In the same vein, the Council has approved the immediate relocation of Faculty of Engineering Imo State University Owerri to its permanent site at Okigwe, stressing that Government has put all processes and facilities on ground to ensure the immediate take–off of the faculty.

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

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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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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has inaugurated a new Governing Council, for the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri.

At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, August 31, the governor named Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University.

Other members of the Council include: Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Tony Ezenna, Prof. (Ven.) Chinedu Nebo, Sir. Louis Ezeigwe, Chief Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Dr. (Mrs.) Uwandu Uzoma, Ugoeze Victoria Adaku Ekezie, Prof. Adaobi Obasi (Vice Chancellor) and others.

Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma said the choice of the members is to infuse fresh air into the university because “It is in dire need to bounce back to reckoning.”
He added that the choice of the members was because they have carved a niche for themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and that they have earned solid reputation as men and women of substance in their individual trade, indices that qualified them for the appointment.

He challenged the members to bring their reputation to bear on the University, bearing in mind the task for good quality scholarship in Imo State University as well as service to humanity.

The Governor urged the members to deploy their individual accomplishments, excellence, expertise, passion for service as effectively as necessary to actualize the dream of his administration of having a highly reputable University comparable to the best Universities in the World.

He also requested the Council to “restore in words and deeds the motto of Imo State University, which is Excellence in Service”.

“Imo State University currently is a classical example of a failed University,” Governor Uzodimma said but strongly believed that “with a star studded Governing Council such as the one inaugurated there is no doubt that Imo is on the track to realize the dreams of her founding fathers.”

He further enjoined the Council members to quickly hit the ground running and come up with policies and programmes that will reassure Imo people that the University that made them proud 20 years back is on track as he assured them of Government partnership in this regard.

In an acceptance speech, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman, Most Rev. Ugorji who is the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia thanked the Governor for the absolute confidence reposed in them by giving them the assignment and acknowledged that though the task is daunting he has a strong belief that with the calibre of members of the Council and support of the management, staff and students the University will be returned to a centre of excellence which was the dream of the founding fathers.

He said that Imo State University deserves the best and that he and his members as inaugurated will work acidulously to ensure that the target of the governor in making Imo State University one of the best universities in Africa is realised.

He congratulated fellow members and promised that God’s willing, they will not fail the government and people of Imo State.

Present at the inauguration were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, and other members of the expanded State Executive Council.

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