Monday, July 8, 2013


Cardinal John Onaiyekan appointed apostolic administrator of troubled Diocese of Ahiara.
Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, as the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Ahiara.

Founded in 1987 and located in the Mbaise region of Imo State in southern Nigeria, the diocese was governed by Bishop Victor Chikwe from its inception until his death in 2010.

In December 2012, Pope Benedict appointed Father Peter Okpaleke, a priest of the Diocese of Awka in neighboring Anambra State, as the diocese’s new bishop. 400 priests, angered that a Mbaise priest was not appointed, protested the decision.

The appointment “sends a very reprehensible signal about the status and reputation of about 500 Catholic priests that trace their origins to the soil of Mbaise, a diocese that has been globally acclaimed as the Ireland of Nigeria,” the priests said in a statement.

Some priests and lay protesters saw Cardinal Francis Arinze, the retired prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, as the force behind the appointment of Father Okpaleke. Cardinal Arinze comes from Anambra State.

“Awka has five bishops, Mbaise has no bishop,” said a placard at the priests’ protest. “We want Mbaise son as Mbaise bishop.”

Father Okpaleke was ordained bishop of Ahiara on May 21, but the ordination took place at a seminary in another diocese amid heavy security. At the time of the ordination, youth locked the cathedral of Ahiara in protest. Some protesters placed a coffin with the new bishop’s name at diocesan headquarters.

The Holy See has not announced Bishop Okpaleke’s resignation from his see. Typically, the Pope appoints an apostolic administrator when a see is vacant (sede vacante), but a sede plena appointment is not unprecedented: Archbishop Joseph Miot served as apostolic administrator of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, from 1997 to 2008, while Archbishop François-Wolff Ligondé remained archbishop, and Bishop Thomas Olmsted was appointed apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Gallup in 2008 while Bishop Donald Pelotte remained diocesan bishop.
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  • Goddard Anyaogu likes this.
  • Obinna Ekeanyanwu Ireland is now a nation of "pagans". The comparison is flawed.
  • Goddard Anyaogu Obinna,ur word so harsh.
  • Obinna Ekeanyanwu You are entitled to your opinion. I know what's happening on ground in Ireland. Most people in Dublin or Cork "don't do church" It is not hearsay.
  • Luke Egemba This is a comment I made elsewhere regarding this matter: " No, we can't quite now, that will amount to capitulation which is not in our dictionary. I am not Catholic either, but full bloodied Mbaise and Biafran son. The people and place that gave the world Biafra (Ahiara Declaration) cannot and should not accept imposition. Cardinal Onaeyikan and the Catholic hierarchy knows our stand will not rock the boat. An Administrator is a caretaker and will be seen and taken as such. Mbaise is watching. There is politics every where and church politics is more shrewd, lets plays it. What is wrong asking and getting what we want? If you don't ask and persist, you don't get. Mbaise, lets stand firm, victory shall be ours".
  • Felix Nwakamma Well there was Biafra before the declaration. The declaration was to cement Biafra. Truly war ended when Mbaise fell
  • Obinna Ekeanyanwu So was Mbaise the last man standing na ala Igbo then? If yes, why?
  • Felix Nwakamma Akparikwala nwa Mbaise. The highest Catholic personnel in Nigeria is requested to administer Mbaise. It means the Pope holds us in high regards. nobi so?
  • Felix Nwakamma Yes we were the last of the resistance. Remember OAU fought the war ( Owerri Aba Umuahia
  • Obinna Ekeanyanwu The Pope had to listen to the voice of the people. he is my favourite Pope so far. He leads by example with humility.
  • Charles Okey Chukwubike With all respect to people’s right to protest or present requests , but Felix, don’t you think that the actions and words of the Mbasie youths and people (as you ‘proudly’ reported) go so much against the ways , discipline, respect -to hierarchy-, order, catechism/doctrine the catholic church teach? More so, you and I attended Pontifical (catholic) Universities and received catholic education at 'other levels' therefore should understand better how these things function and how best/fast to go about them.
  • Felix Nwakamma Charles, if we protest more we will get more. The protests were peaceful and non violent, disciplined in fact. In contrast this type of incident in some parts of Anambra will lead to many deaths. Mbaise refused to be bought over by money over this incident. In answer to your question, mbaise youths had every right to protest against injustice and the nrugbu/nmegbu of our umun-nne/big brothers or Onitsha diocese to be precise
  • Ralph Onwuchekwa Felix take it easy it seems you are engrossed in the issue of church politics too much. if the criteria is based on the son of the soil Italians would have refused outsiders in occupying the position of the Pontif
  • Felix Nwakamma I think you do not know the criteria to give this opinion. You are welcome to have an outsider as your Bishop but the entire community is seeking for the papal edict of Benedict 15th. You comparison with the Papal office that is voted for is flawed.
  • Felix Nwakamma I am not engrossed in it. I am being role as an Mbaise and Igbo Community leader.
  • Felix Nwakamma Charles I am surprised as how little education you have about Mbaise. And you need to be careful not to insult my people. Referring to mbaise as a village or Town shows that oppressive mentality that has given your people 15 bishops and 4 to Imo State. Mbaise is comprised of three local authorities with over fifty towns. Ahaira is the diocese and not Mbaise diocese. Every Bishop in 8 Onitsha Provice is son of the soil. They are all from your people. And you know why? Your people built a fortress and closed up exporting bishops right left and centre. Unashemedly you think Mbaise people of Ahiara diocese demanding their right and challenging the monopoly of our big brother Awka and Onitsha is rude and crude challenge to the catholic establishment. Nonsense! You are a publisher for the Italo-Nigeria group and need to be sound before putting up an arguement. The Pope is on the right of Mbaise people and we followed the canon law all the way.
Oooh Felix, I beg to withdraw from this   ‘debate’ before it gets to other levels!!!! You are almost taking it personal.

Who are my people? Catholics, Nigerians, Igbos, Enugu etc? Do you read  my posts or replies at all? Read them once more or invite a third party (i.e non prejudiced person) to read the whole posts on this issue and analyze. I adopt this some times.

The penultimate  bishop of Enugu was  from Delta; on his arrival years back  many people may have wished an Enugu  person  on that seat but  they never locked off the CATHEDRAL NOR PLACED A COFFIN SOME SOMEWHERE  WITH HIS NAME ON  IT. We accepted him, obeyed, worked  with him , loved him, prayed and asked  for our wish to be satisfied one  day; One day came,  and  we had  a bishop from Enugu. If the new bishop  wasn’t still  from Enugu I do not think we  would still have … locked off the CATHEDRAL NOR PLACED A COFFIN SOME SOMEWHERE  WITH HIS NAME ON  IT nor allowed some person/group to do  so. My dear friend I insist that that the catholic teachings taught us other ways of doing these things.

I Know Mbaise and Mbaise people; I know scores of Mbaise  religious people and  have been with them in many places outside Mbaise  where the have  worked and sacrificed, however  you  are the person who introduced Mbaise as a people  into an Ahiara diocese palaver which is not  a mistake per se  but  do not  get  it  wrong if the debate   takes that turn and tone.

I repeat, the diocese should have a bishop and I support that any day. I am somehow ignorant in the modalities of appointment of bishops, however from your report (if it is not too sentimental) there might have been  some errors  or omissions to be  corrected.

I  am from a new diocese  carved out from  the great Enugu diocese. Our first bishop is from the diocese, he was  a student in Rome  when you  and I were also there. We love him and work with him but I do not think we would have loved a bishop from Ahiara diocese less nor locked off the CATHEDRAL NOR PLACED A COFFIN SOME SOMEWHERE  WITH HIS NAME ON  IT nor allowed some person/group to do  so.
If Boko Haram or Al qaeda  people do this we would cry  to the  whole  world to  see the disrespect  from other religions. This action should be  condemned  first by all well reasoning people. This is my point.

I rest my pen here giving glory to Jesus and honor to Mary.

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