Tension in LACMO as election holds September 28

Tension in LACMO as election holds September 28

…Fears of Imposition of Candidates may Mare Process
…Aigbokhaode calls for caution

There is mounting fear that after about one year of anxious waiting for the election of officers to pilot the affairs of the Lagos Archdiocesan Catholic Men Organisation (LACMO) for the next four years, the election may be marred by speculated imposition of candidate and domination of key offices by a certain deanery.

This is as the outgoing president of the organisation, Mr John Aigbokhaode, has cautioned members who are interested in elective positions and deaneries who want their members to occupy strategic offices to adhere strictly to the provisions of LACMO constitution.

LACMON Extraordinary General meeting for Elections has been scheduled for Saturday, 28th September, 2019 at St. Leo’s Catholic Church, Ikeja.  Starting with Mass by 10am, the meeting is to be hosted by the Vicar, Msgr. John K Aniagwu.

A notice released by the public Relations Officer of the organisation, Mr Uchenna Ezeoke, “Each Deanery is expected to participate with 10 delegates only, for the elections. A list of the delegates should be forwarded to the secretariat of the ADC CMO endorsed by the Deanery Coordinator and Chaplain, in the Deanery’s headed paper on or before Sunday 22nd of September, 2019.”

“Please note that delegates whose names have been submitted cannot be swapped. The Deanery will have to make do with the remaining delegates in case of the absence of a nominated delegate,” he went further to worn.

It will be recalled that the election which was to hold late last year was postponed due to tensions generated by speculated imposition of key officers by some influential individuals in the organisation and hijacking of key offices by Maryland Deanery which has produced all serving Presidents of the Organisation since inception.

This allegedly led to a hasty review of the constitution of the organisation a few weeks to the scheduled election in 2018; an action firmly resisted by some key individuals and deaneries led by Isolo and Apapa Deaneries. Isolo Deanery is reputed to be the most populous deanery in the Archdiocese with 17 parishes.

It was the tension generated by these allegations in 2018 that led to the extension of the tenure of office of the John Aigbokhaode led administration by one year in order to quell the ensued tension.

With the election rescheduled for September 28, 2019, nothing seem to have changes as the fears that marred the 2018 election seem to have resurrected.

Although secret alignments, horse-trading among individuals and deaneries; and campaigns have been going on, open campaign of bitterness, rancour and acrimony came into manifestation on the popular Catholic Men Community social media platform, recently, prompting some words of caution from the President, Mr John Aigbokhaode.

His words: “My attention was drawn on Saturday to some postings on this platform and I had to call the authors privately and counsel them against such post. However, by yesterday evening when I returned to the platform I was amazed by the degree of degeneration I met with some bordering on blasphemy. 

“I am surprised that because of our desire to have it our way, we chose to rubbish the integrity and reputations of those we elected to serve us in the EXCO of LACMON. They’re no longer people with any level of responsibilities but those who either misinform or just take dictation from the Chaplain.

“This platform is for passing information and Shall NEVER replace the official meeting and communication channels of CMON. Where decisions of an organisation are not in line with your expectations, you turn to your representatives for explanations. The statements being posted here indicates that such has not been done. Every leader present in the last EXCO meeting will feel insulted by the kind of language and postings I have been reading.

“CMON is not a political or cultural organisation. There are provisions in our constitution that guides activities of the EXCO and there are provisions that empower the Chaplain and the Archbishop. When we speak without looking at those provisions we are campaigning, and that is not allowed on this platform.

“If you want to query the decisions reached please follow the right channels. If you want to Campaign please go and create your own platform because we will remove anyone that brings up that issue here again. 

“Election dates have been fixed and there’s no official communication from the EXCO giving any list of Candidates or barring any one from contesting. Similarly, it will be irresponsible of any leadership of an Organisation of this nature if they don’t have an idea of the kind of people they want to see as their leaders. Anyone is free to aspire to lead an organisation, and should therefore put machinery in place to satisfy their ambitions. Nothing the EXCO has done that prohibit this.

“But know it that this platform is not available for campaign or as an alternative to our Parish, Deanery, Archdiocese EXCO and General Meetings and we will remove anyone that decides to turn it to such,” the President cautioned.

Although some deaneries are maintaining that the Presidency of the organisation should be zoned to them, Mr Aigbokhaode maintains that the man who would be intrusted with piloting the affairs of the organisation must be “A level-headed person who is as soft as wool and tough as steel. He must be a stinker for good corporate Governance. We must continue to practice it at the centre and enforce it down the hierarchy.”

Reacting to the confusion and bickering that trails CMO elections, former National President of the organisation, Chief Ernest Emeka Asoegwu said, “This has to do with the nature of the persons in office, the way they think and reason. Any right thinking person that finds himself in a position of leadership should see it as an opportunity to serve and it is an opportunity that rarely comes twice. The first things that should occupy the minds of leaders are why they are in office and what legacies they would leave behind. A leader who leaves office should be remembered for the right reasons.”

“But most times what is noticed is that many leaders when they are about leaving offices would want to impose their friends on the organisation as leaders, many of whom would not be able to perform. But if an incumbent allows the people to choose the best among them, some of those challenges will not be there. All the bickering – wrangling, backbiting, squabbling – that go on with elections are natural. It happened even among the apostles of Christ when they talked about who was the greatest. Every leader must remember that verse of the Bible that admonishes that to be a leader one must be a servant.

“Any leader who sees himself a servant would not want to do anything wrong or commit any fraud while in office. Fraud does not always have to do with misappropriation of funds, but may involve stepping on toes, breaking of laws, amending the constitutions to favour preferred candidates etc. All these are fraudulent activities. Hastily amend the constitution on election guidelines when a leader is about leaving office is fraudulent. A leader who is leaving office can draw his guidelines and make recommendations on constitution amendment in his hand over notes for incoming administration to consider, but not hastily implementing it. Any leader who sees the need for constitution amendment while in office should start the process early enough and not at the tail-end of his administration. That leads to suspicion and confusion,” Chief Asoegwu went further to say..

He enjoined members to always endeavour to choose the right candidates for any given position.

“A man who cannot move himself cannot move others. A good leader must have the drive to create programmes that will touch the lives of members positively. Ones record of achievements at the parish level is what should be considered when selecting him for an office at the deaneries; and up to dioceses and provinces,” he stated.

Catholic Bishops celebrate Owerri Archdiocese

Catholic Bishops celebrate Owerri Archdiocese

By Chidi Nkwopara Owerri

The Imo State capital, played host to no fewer than 25 Catholic Bishops, including the Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi, and hundreds of priests, tthe religious and lay faithful.

They were all in Owerri for the silver jubilee celebration of the inauguration of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province and installation of Most Rev. Dr. Anthony J. V. Obinna, as the Metropolitan of the Province, comprising Orlu, Okigwe, Umuahia, Aba, Ahiara and Owerri.

This date, in the previous years, was celebrated as the Owerri Archdiocesan Day. Put simply, the Owerri Archdiocesan Day is an annual event, which primarily recalls the 1994 elevation of the Catholic Diocese of Owerri, to an Archdiocese, and to the position of Metropolitan See within the Ecclesiastical Province.

While establishing the Owerri Archdiocesan Day, Dr. Obinna emphasised what he called “the inculturative thrust” of its programme of activities.

His words: “Given the need to welcome the Good News of salvation, into the intimacy of our lives and Igbo culture, special prominence would be given to the Igbo language, through an annual series of lectures by Igbo scholars, in the Igbo language.

Photo: Representatives of the Catholic Bishops in a group photograph with Governor Emeka Ihedioha and some government functionaries, in Government House, Owerri.

Archbishop Obinna also opined that the symbiotic relationship between true worship of God and the cherishing of genuine human values, which the festivities and the lectures seek to orchestrate, is thereby anchored and strengthened.

On arrival, one of the first port of call was the Government House, where representatives of the Catholic Bishops, paid a courtesy call on Governor Emeka Ihedioha.

The Governor used the opportunity to not only welcome his guests to Owerri, but also assured them of their safety, throughout their stay in the state.

For Governor Ihedioha, it was a thing of joy that the Archdiocesan silver jubilee celebration came in his time as Governor of Imo State.

He reiterated his promise to govern the state with the fear of God, as well as upholding the rule of law, accountability, transparency and independence of the three arms of government.

Preaching the sermon that can rightly be said to summarize the feelings of the Bishops at a concelebrated Pontifical Mass, the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah, said that today, Nigerians expect so much of their Bishop’s.

His words: “In the darkness and gloom that have enveloped our country, many are looking expectantly at the Church for a ray of hope, however faint. Whether it is about the perceived Islamiztion and Fulanization of the country, or about the current effort of the Federal Government to stifle every form of opposition, people are asking: What is the Church doing? And by the Church, they simply mean Catholic Bishops.

“But I ask: What else can the Bishops do that they have not done already? The Bishops have prayed and continued to pray for Nigeria. The Bishops have spoken clearly and consistently against bad governance, from the time of military dictatorship, when the voice of the Church was the only one that could not be silenced, till today, when military dictatorship has returned in another form.

“The Bishops have expressly stated that this country is in trouble. The Bishops have told the government repeatedly that the only way out of this catastrophe that is about to happen in this country is justice and fairness: respect for those parts of the Constitution that are just and fair; amendment of those parts of the Constitution that were so framed as to favour parts of the country, either geographically or religiously.

“This country is experiencing deterioration on a daily basis and our people are loosing confidence in themselves. There is a decay of infrastructure and near total collapse of security. All these have been pointed out by the Catholic Bishops on several occasions. What have the Bishops not said?

“At the peak of insecurity in this country, the Bishops candidly advised the President to resign since he could no longer provide protection to the lives and properties of Nigerians. Repeatedly, the Bishops have engaged every president of this country.

“But what about our Christians, including our Catholics, who are in government? There are card-carrying Catholics in all the political parties that have ruled Nigeria since the return to democracy. What have these Catholics or Christian members of the ruling parties done to translate into concrete action the indications that the Bishops have given? Bishops have marched the streets in prayer and protest. Bishops have taken the government to court in some states. The only thing that we have not done and will never do is to incite our people to violence, because that would be wrong.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria needs to know that our youths are losing confidence in the peaceful and non-violent way we are proposing. And I will like to state clearly that today, out of respect for Archbishop Anthony Obinna, who has been foremost in speaking out in defence of good governance both in his state and in the country, that the current Federal Government of Nigeria will hold itself responsible if it refuses to listen to the voice of reason and the calamity we all fear will befall our dear country.”

Continuing, Bishop Onah said that the Islamization and Fulanization project has gone beyond being a hidden agenda, for it is now being implemented openly and with impunity.

“But then, there is a limit to the extent to which the people can be oppressed without their reaction to the oppression. We therefore appeal to all those in government at different levels in this country, to remember that they are there to serve all the people in Nigeria”, Onah said. The celebration was rounded off with the Odenigbo Lecture, delivered by a university don, Rev. Fr. Longinus Chinagorom.

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By Very Rev. Monsignor Livinus Ukah

The Christians who live in today’s world always bear in mind what Jesus said “If you want to be a disciple of mine, you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me”. The political climate at Jesus time was very intense and polarized. To work in a polarized world needs faith-filled people, strong like Jesus to help to dismantle social structures that dislocate humanity.

We know how the early Christians suffered in carrying the ‘’Cross’’ dying for truth and living amid mysteries of human life. They spoke eloquently in the midst of evil and alienation of people. Their concerns for the people and eloquent testimonies and lifestyles could breed explosive social discontent for those who want to remain the same in governance and continue to oppress the people. Governance should be therapeutic; heal people, caring for the people by making sure that there is peace and food in the land. 

We must know that the church is superior to the state because its authority comes from God but the church and the state should work together because the church has special vocation from God. So the church and the state should cooperate to enforce more moderate, realistic and moral demands on the society at large.

The church’s divine authority is immense that it can coerce a government that lacks moral compass. The responsibilities that lie on the Christians are many and so they must first of all be just in their lives and must confront issues of injustices in the society.  They live and liberate the oppressed. Where secular authority violates human rights and jails people unjustly the church must speak.  Christians filled with faith must know that no power is allowed to violate human rights or is allowed to make draconian laws that upset God’s plan for his people .What is happening in Nigeria is  atrocious, insecurity everywhere. Muslims should cooperate with the Christians to bring peace and justice to mankind. 

Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims in the world but the live in peace with people. Why not us in Nigeria?

Christians are called to raise their voices against injustice in the society, eliminate injustice, reduce poverty and bring peace. They should make sure that people are allowed to participate in the economic, political and cultural life of the country. It is unfair for any individual to prevent one from participating in politics. Catholic Priests are not allowed to participate in partisan politics because of its duplicities but other churches allow their pastors to join politics but we have never seen them perform better than ordinary politicians in politics. We want people who can bring value to the system and create hope for the people. 

Politics is not meant only for the elite and money bags. Human society must be regulated properly to have harmony and avoid violence. Security of life must be assured Christians must always use the Gospel values to sanitize the society to make sure that social justice is maintained. Seriously, the Christians must make sure they do not sell their rights to proclaim the values of Jesus at political positions but speak to power that the dignity of human persons is safe-guarded in the country for there is constant abuse of human rights all over. They should change the unjust structures as the early Christians did and not minimize the value of justice. Our faith should not be dormant and we should use our faith values to fight in the social world.

Christian faith can help to restore humanity heading to ruin. It can bring justice to humanity by calling evil by its name.

The Catholic Church and I

The Catholic Church and I

George Ibechozo on Facebook

I am a dyed in the wool Catholic. I was born in it, baptized in it as an infant and grew up in it. I went to a Catholic primary school, sang in the choir and from there went to a Catholic secondary school. In the university, I remained a Catholic! At sixty something years and still counting, I have remained in there: an ardent Catholic!

Now one of the very things that has kept me here as a Catholic is the intellectual foundation of this church. More than anything else, the survival  of this gathering over a thousand years, sometimes mired in stress, antagonism, backbiting, dictatorship, coups, outright power tussles etc. can only be traced to the Church’s intellectual foundation. Make no mistake about this: the Catholic Clergy throughout history has been led by brilliant people. The likes of me are fascinated by brilliant people and not the wishy-washy characters that shout about Holy Ghost fire!

Now: “for thou art Peter, upon this rock…” As usual, those reading this may jump into their own interpretation. But I have mine, a solid one. The rock is the solid foundation of structures! When you build a structure, there is a process, a method. In this case, the foundation is “the Word”. And this word is intellectual. Hey am I making sense here? Haha ha! It is this intellectual creativity of “the word” that my Church is built. And it saved it. This is also why the United States of America has remained a world power. More than 200 years, the piece of writing known as the constitution of the union has remained the solid rock of American democracy! Talk about the word: “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal….”  Hey this was God’s instruction from the very beginning?

Now from what I am noticing these days, the Catholic Church is fast losing this intellectualism. Some young priests behave as if they underwent a crash programme to become ordained! These priests who operate mostly in the villages in the midst of poverty want to outdo the so called “Pentecostal” pastors in theatrics and hypnotism! Last Sunday I beheld, spell bound, as a young priest displayed the abracadabra of a magician: ordering the congregation to clap for Jesus, wave, shout, kneel, and mutter in the spirit, groan…Holy Ghost fire! He led his congregation through a long spell of chanting, and so called spirit search and the poor things were shouting approval urging him on! The Mass that should not take 1hr, 30 minutes was dragged to 4 hours!

But my question is this: if the “Pentecostal” mode of worship is now the in thing, why dont we go to where the thing is properly done? This poor imitation looks to me very counterfeit. Very soon people like me will stay away from “Aja Missa” and look for where the shouting is awesome and original!

Researchers say malaria can be eradicated by 2050

Researchers say malaria can be eradicated by 2050

A team of researchers, in a new report, have said that the world could be free of malaria by 2050.

The researchers added that wiping out the disease-causing parasite would probably require extra annual funding of about $2bn.

They noted that the British Broadcasting Corporation’s claim that the world had already made huge progress against malaria since 2000 was largely due to widespread access to ways of preventing mosquito bites, such as treated bed nets and better drugs for treating infected people.

One of the study authors, Dr Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, said, “Despite unprecedented progress, malaria continues to strip communities around the world of promise and economic potential. This is particularly true in Africa, where just five countries account for nearly half of the global burden.”

The report, published in The Lancet, was commissioned by the World Health Organisation three years ago to assess its feasibility and how much it would cost.

Another study author, Sir Richard Feachem, said, “For too long, the eradication of malaria has been a distant dream, but now we have evidence that malaria can and should be eradicated by 2050. This report shows that eradication is possible within a generation.”

Feachem, however, warned that it would take bold action to achieve this goal.

“Eradication of malaria by 2050 will require current technologies to be used more effectively and the development of new ways of tackling the disease. This could include the game-changing potential of gene-drive technologies,” the report says.

The Chairman of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, King Mswati III of Eswatini, said, “Malaria eradication within a generation is ambitious, achievable and necessary.

“The struggle has been constant to keep up with the malaria mosquito and the parasite, both of which are evolving to evade the effect of malaria interventions. We must make sure that innovation is prioritised,” he said.

The report estimates that about $4.3bn is spent on the treatment and prevention of malaria every year at the moment. It will need $2bn a year to rid the world of malaria by 2050.

The authors also noted the cost of business as usual, in terms of loss of lives and the constant struggle against the malaria parasite and mosquitoes getting more resistant to drugs and insecticides.