Imo guber: FrMbaka under fire

Imo guber: FrMbaka under fire

…As CAN, NYCN, Bishop Ugorji slam fiery priest over prophecy • ‘Catholic Church is not into fortune telling’ – Umuahia Catholic bishop

Knocks and outrage have continued to trail the prophecy of fiery Catholic priest and Director, Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, who prophesied on the Imo governorship between incumbent Governor Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress candidate, Senator Hope Uzodinma that is pending at the Supreme Court.

Fr. Mbaka had in his New Year message predicted that the governorship candidate of APC, Senator Uzodinma, would take over from Hon. Ihedioha as Imo governor, making many to believe that he presumed the Supreme Court judgment would be in Uzodinma’s favour.

Consequently, the Catholic priest has come under heavy criticisms from several groups and individuals, including the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, the National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, and Bishop of Umuahia, Bishop Luscious Ugorji, as they noted that Fr. Mbaka has not only delved into fortune telling, but commercial prophecy.

The NYCN, Imo State chapter, in a statement issued by its President, Isdore Chukwuemeka, in Owerri advised Mbaka not to set the political landscape in the state on fire and leave Governor Ihedioha alone, stressing that the incumbent was massively voted for by the people of Imo.

He also queried where Mbaka was during the eight years of the destruction of the state by the immediate past APC administration headed by Senator Rochas Okorocha.

“We advise Fr. Mbaka to leave Governor Emeka Ihedioha alone. The youths of Imo State are pleased and satisfied with the Rebuild Imo administration.

“Governor Ihedioha barely seven months in office has restored the years the locust had eaten for eight years in the state.

“We do not want further distraction on his efforts in rebuilding the state. Where was Mbaka when Imo State was raped for eight years by a clueless administration that mindlessly looted the treasury of the state?

“He never uttered a word against that evil regime. When darkness reigned in Imo for eight years, Mbaka lost his voice,” Chukwuemeka said.

He said that Mbaka has always directed his prophesies on Imo political leaders who he does not like with the underlying motive to cause confusion in the state, noting that “we cannot remember when he prophesied on political developments in other states.

“We recall how he destabilized Ikedi Ohakim’s administration when he bought hook, line and sinker the allegation that Ohakim had ordered the flogging of a Catholic priest.

“In the end, it turned out that the allegation was false, but Fr. Mbaka had thrived on that falsehood and used it to make jest of Ohakim prior to the 2011 governorship election.”

NYCN, therefore, advised the cleric to stop mixing politics with religion, and do not allow politicians to sway his opinions.

“We have noted a pattern in his prophesies which is always tailored to suit the APC. In 2015, he prophesied in favour of Buhari who was presidential candidate of the APC, he had prayed for Governor Umar Ganduje prior to the 2019 general election despite mind-blowing allegations of corruption against him; and now he has ‘prophesied’ in favour of as another APC chieftain, Senator Hope Uzodinma.”

Also, the state Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Senior Apostle Godson Ibeji, has dismissed the prophecy of Fr. Mbaka over the outcome of the pending Supreme Court judgment, saying that such prophecy does not hold water, wondering why a matter before the highest court in the land would be tossed around.

Ibeji in a statement stated that CAN has consistently kicked against such prophecies tailored to suit the whims and caprices of politicians.

“CAN has consistently opposed such politically motivated prophecies and at the same time strove to maintain the dictates that guide and regulate the practice of Christianity.

“We will continue to toe this path until we restore sanity in the practice of priesthood,” he said.

In his reaction, Bishop Luscious Ugorji of Umuahia Catholic Diocese and the Apostolic Administrator of Ahiara Diocese, said the Catholic Church which Mbaka belongs to as a priest, is not into fortune telling, thus does not give authority to any priest to make predictions on who wins a court case or not.

His words: “The Catholic Church is not into fortune telling and so does not authorize any priest to make predictions on her behalf on who wins a court case.

“Anyone who speaks on such a matter is expressing his personal opinion”.

The prelate said he does not give attention to such predictions, as they are mere guesswork, saying that “in a true democracy only those who win elections have the mandate of the populace to rule.”

Bishop Ugorji advised Imo people not to rely on such guesswork coated in the name of prophecy, but rather pray that their choice as governor with their mandate wins at the Supreme Court.

Aba Catholic Diocese gets new Bishop four years after

Aba Catholic Diocese gets new Bishop four years after

Parishioners of Catholic Diocese of Aba, Abia State could not hold their happiness on Sunday in all their parishes as the news of the appointment of Monsignor Augustine Ndubueze Echema as the new Bishop for the Dioceses by the head of the church, Pope Francis was announced during their respective church services.

The appointment of Echema is coming four years after the death of the former Bishop of Aba Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev. Vincent Valentine Ezechukwu Ezeonyia who reigned between April 2, 1990 and February 8, 2015 after a brief illness.

The appointment of the Bishop-elect has put to an end the lingering lobbying and controversy on who succeeds late Ezeonyia. This is also as arrangements for the official installation of Echema as the 2nd Bishop of the Diocese since it was carved out from the Umuahia Diocese in 1990 have started.

Aba Catholics have continued to hail his appointment as a wise decision taken by Pope Francis, saying they were happy that a son of the soil emerged the Bishop-elect.

Photo: CKC Catholic Cathederal Aba

The Bishop-elect, Echema, it was noted also marked his 61 years birthday on December 28.

Echema until his appointment is a Professor of Liturgy at the Catholic Institute of West Africa in Port Harcourt; President of the Liturgical Commission of the Archdiocese of Owerri; Chaplain of the Owerri Provincial Laity Council was born on December 28, 1958 in OhuhuNsulu, then Diocese of Umuahia and now of Aba.

He had his minor seminary formation at St. Peter Claver Minor Seminary in Okpala (1972-1977).

He completed his philosophical studies at the Bigard Memorial Seminary in Ikot Ekpene (1978-1982) and theological studies at the seminary of the same name in Enugu (1982-1986).

He did higher studies at the Philosophisch-TheologischeHochschule Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt, obtaining a Doctorate in Theology, with a specialization in Liturgy (1989-1994).

Echema was ordained a priest on August 16, 1986, for the Owerri clergy.

After the ordination, he held the following positions: 1986-1988: Formator in the minor seminary St. Peter Claver in Okpala; 1988-1989: Parish priest of St. Mark in Umuneke Ngor; 1989-1994: Higher studies in Frankfurt, Germany; 1994-1995: Parish priest of St. Joseph in Schwalbach, in the Diocese of Limburg, Germany; 1996-1998: Deputy Chaplain of the CIWA Worshipping Community in Port Harcourt.

Adamawa attack: CAN chairman still missing, says district head

Adamawa attack: CAN chairman still missing, says district head

The district head of Michika in Adamawa State, Mr Ngida Zakawa, has said that the Michika branch chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Mr Lawan Andimi,  is still missing after he was last seen boarding an unidentified van on Thursday.

The district head made this known to a delegation of Adamawa Government led by the Deputy Governor, Chief Crowther Seth, on Saturday, during a visit to sympathise with the people over Thursday night attack by Boko Haram insurgents.

Also, the Village Head of Kopa in Madagali Local Government, Lawan Luka, told the delegation that people have been digging trenches on a road regularly used by the terrorists but the insurgents always return to fill the trenches.

The leaders called for more deployment of security and medical personnel to the areas to beef up security and enhance healthcare delivery.

“We want the army to send troops to our village to work with our local vigilante to contain the terrorists, ” Luka said.

Addressing the traditional rulers and stakeholders, Seth said the delegation was mandated by the state governor to visit the areas to assess situation and sympathise with the people over the incident.

He assured them of government commitment to security of lives and properties.

“The Governor would have led this delegation himself, but he is not around. He is outside the state for an official engagement that has to do with the interest of the state.

“He said we should commend you for your resilience and support to security agencies and to urge you to continue to support our security personnel in their efforts to protect you,” Seth said. (NAN)



UmunnemNdi Imo. On behalf of my family and the government of Imo State, I am most delighted to bring you our New Year greetings. We give thanks to Almighty God for bringing us into the New Year in good health, full of hope again and having faith in a prosperous 2020.

1.2 Seven (7) months ago, Gerald Irona and Itook over the reins of leadership as your Deputy Governor and Governor respectively. We thank you once again for this public mandate vested in our party, The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the sacred trust bestowed upon us.


1.3 The beginning of the year, indeed, offers us a great opportunity to renew our promise of complete dedication to the service of our people and faith in the Almighty God. That was one of the reasons why on the 20th of December 2019, we held an Inter-denominational Imo Day of Thanksgiving, to thank God for His mercies through the year. It was also time to renew our sacred pledge of fidelity to our Mission to rebuild, reposition and transform Imo State into a modern ecosystem.


1.4 Year 2020 is the famed year of possibilities. Metaphorically, 2020 also symbolizes complete vision. Here in Imo State, our vision for the future is very clear and we believe that all these possibilities are still attainable. I say so because, we have the determination of a committed Executive Team, the partnership of a collaborative Legislature, the wisdom of an independent Judiciary and the heart-warming support of an enlightened, God-fearing and hardworking people.  


2.1   By your prayers support and partnership, the last seven months have been both a period of liberation and that of laying the foundation for effective take-off. Our collective accomplishments in pursuit of the Rebuild Imo Agenda imbue us with a very strong faith in a positive and prosperous future.

2.2   Our harmonious working relationship with the Legislature has resulted in an unprecedented record breaking 18 Bills passed and signed into Law since we were sworn-in. This is an enviable milestone by any standards.

2.3   Government has also established strong links to multilateral development partners and we are attracting donor-agencies fund for programs to virtually all sectors ranging from water projects to erosion control, rural access roads, healthcare, agriculture and education.

2.4   In keeping with this promise, one of the first actions I took as Governor was to direct the release of N500million (Five Hundred Million Naira) counterpart funding in order to activate in the first instance, N9.9 Billion (nine billion, nine hundred million naira) funding for the Urualla Erosion Control Project in Ideato North LGA from the World Bank NEWMAP Projects. Similarly, we paid Counterpart funding to catalyse the Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP) valued at N13.5 billion (Thirteen billion, five hundred million naira) also from the World Bank.  Under this programme, works are ongoing in 88 rural roads projects covering 380.7km of roads, across 26 Local Governments Areas.

2.5   In our campaigns, and indeed upon assumption of Office, we undertook to reposition our Local Governments to become strong centres of effective grassroot governance. In furtherance to this, we have restored their financial autonomy resulting in their receiving fund allocations directly, and in full too.

2.6   Under our constitutional oversight, all the Local Governments are constructing new secretariat complexes to provide conducive working environment for workers. For social amenities and youth development, we are partnering with the Local Governments also to construct mini-stadia or upgrade existing ones. I am glad to say that only a few days ago, I commissioned the Ultra-Modern Local Government Secretariat Complex at AhiazuMbaise, The first among those projects to be completed.

2.7   I have severally stressed that to fund meaningful development, we cannot depend on monthly Federal allocations. Not only are these funds static, they are subject to deductions emanating from our past debts and refund on bailout funds received. In any case, we currently spend about 73% of these allocations on salaries and pensions leaving us with barely nothing for other myriads of challenges confronting us. It became imperative therefore that we had to strengthen our IGR mechanisms. We are very delighted to note that from about N250m (Two Hundred and Fifty Million naira) that we met on ground monthly, IGR has risen to over One (1) billion in the month of December 2019. We are focused on an exponential increase in 2020.  Furthermore, this 2020, we will be looking into optimally deriving benefits from our Oil and Gas endowments – revenues , employment, wealth creation, sustainable development etc.

2.8   I assure you that Imo is OPEN FOR BUSINESS. Our dedicated ‘ease of doing business’ desk is there to address bottlenecks potential investors may face. Our efforts are gradually yielding results. Only recently, we allocated land in Owerri to AfrExim Bank, to build its quality assurance facility for the South-East and South-South zones. The facility is estimated to cost over $50million (N18Billion) and would surely boost our economy and commercial profile. Currently, 6 airlines are now operating in the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, a clear indication of the rising investor confidence in Imo State.

2.9. Human Capital Development remains our fulcrum in the “Rebuild Imo” Agenda. Therefore, training our people is thus our focus. In 2019, we trained over 6000 teachers, while this year would witness massive training and retraining of our teachers in different skills for managing 21st century teaching skills.Government has also approved funds needed for re-accreditation of all courses in Imo Polytechnic Umuagwo which were lost during the decay of the last eight years.In addition, we have made the study of Igbo Language now mandatory for all students in both public and private secondary schools in Imo State. 

2.10In pursuit of Food self-sufficiency, as well as harnessing commercial advantage, Agriculture is our priority. We have trained over 600 Imo youths under our Youth-in-Agriculture programme and would be advancing loans to interested applicants among them to start their own agribusiness.

2.11 We are poised to bridging the huge infrastructural deficit that we met on ground, we have about 30 on-going road construction projects distributed all around the State. These projects are quickly changing the transportation landscape of the State. I regret the temporary inconvenience these construction activities have caused our citizens this festive period. It is however, a worthwhile sacrifice as we shall in return inherit a durable and well-constructed road network in the state.

To compliment this, we are pursuing an aggressive housing development programme. Just last month,we performed the ground-breaking ceremony for a 1000 Housing Unit Rebuild Imo Estate in Azara-Owalla in Emekuku, OwerriNorth under a Public-Private-Partnership arrangement. In addition to this, we will develop Satellite Housing estates serviced with infrastructure State-wide to decongest the capital city and stimulate rural development.

2.12 In the area of public financial management, government has implemented strategic reforms through the Treasury Single Account (TSA) thereby stemming revenue leakages, and closing up the multiplicity of over 260 different accounts in operation before we came to office. In the same vein, we adopted the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). Our reforms have strengthened the implementation of the State Public Procurement Law, commenced the implementation of Due Process, transparency, accountability and value for money in the award of State and Local Government contracts.

2.13 Dear Imolites, it is gladdening to note that the world is watching and our humble efforts have attracted both global and national recognition. Recently, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), rated Imo State as the Least Corrupt State in their 2nd Corruption Survey, while we were also appraised the Best Overall Performing State in ICT Development by the National Council on Communication and Digital Economy. Similarly, Businessday Newspapers, Nigeria’s leading economic journal ranked our State as the fastest growing economy in Nigeria in 2019.

2.14. I would like to reiterate that we are conscious of the huge challenge posed by these sterling ratings, the expectations that come with it,and are making conscious efforts to sustainthis positive national and global public opinion.

3.0 MISSION FOR 2020

3.1   The path of the just, the Bible says, is like the shining light, that shineth brighter and brighter unto a perfect day. This shall be the path of the Rebuild Imo journey.

3.2   Proper planning is based on empirical projections and prudent management of funds is vital for meaningful development. A viable budget is the basis for fiscal responsibility. On the 27th of December 2019, I signed into law the Imo 2020 Appropriation Bill signalling that the fiscal year will begin today, 1st of January 2020 as envisaged. We will keep faith with this instrument.

3.3   Many of the contracts we awarded for infrastructural development shall continue with zest to achieve their completion timelines.We shall also take on more projects that would make a greater impact in our developmental endeavours. To ensure sustenance of our road projects, we will revive the Road Maintenance Agency. We shall also vigorously pursue the rehabilitation, remobilization and reconstruction of the Onitsha Road Industrial Layout.

3.4   We shall intensify our efforts in our promotion of investment and industrialization to bolster economic development in the State and create jobs. The Bureau of Trade and Investment is currently conducting a verification process of Local and foreign companies that are ready to invest in Imo State. It is also developing specialized market clusters across the State to create competitive advantages for the improvement of business climate in the State.

3.5. We shall work to leverage our strategic position as the confluence state in the old Eastern Region, to transform into the preferred touristand conference destination in the region. Consequently, works are ongoing to partner with our rich hospitality industry to harness our potentials. In like manner, the Ahiajoku Lectures is back, revived and shall get better in the coming years. Similarly, our tourist resorts like the Oguta Lake Resort would be upgraded this year.

3.6   Government shall pay adequate attention to ensuring access to basic necessities of life and protection for vulnerable groups, including People Living with Disabilities. In addition, we shall work to domesticate the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act in Imo. We are also looking at working with development partners and civil society groups to establish Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC).

3.7   You would recall that in my inaugural address, I specifically declared technical and vocational education (TVET) as a major pillar of our educational transformation programme. To this effect, we are investing more than N4Billion (Four Billion Naira) in the reconstruction, physical upgrade and curriculum improvement at the four premier technical colleges in the State. We have set a target for ourselves to have over 70 percent of theseTVET graduates to get jobs, be self-employed, or advance to tertiary institutions for Higher National Diplomas or Degrees.

3.8   Information Technology (IT) is like they say, the new “Oil “. Imo is leading the way in technological development with a view to making the State an IT hub. We have facilitated IT Tech Incubation centres, trained our women & youths, and are attracting the big names in Tech such as Google, MTN etc. in partnership as well as operations.

3.9   As the new decade beckons and the march to the 4th Industrial Revolution nears, the teaching of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and Data Science would constitute a core of the curriculum of our schools. This is pursuant to our stated policy of inculcating in our young ones globally competitive skills and preparing them for the 21st century workforce. We reaffirm that we will continue to deploy ICT in our governance processes.

3.10 Information Technology will also be the platform that we will use to sanitize our previously abused land administration and allocation system. The newly constituted Land Use Allocation Committee (LUAC) will work within a framework of a digitalized geographic information system that we are in the process of procuring. This will further provide geo-spatial data for agricultural,environmental and transportation challenges. 

3. 11 My good people of Imo State. We are making our civil service work again. Government shall sustain salary payments in full and create necessary incentives to promote productivity. All the Commissions of Enquiry we set up would soon be submitting their reports and Government shall implement their valuable recommendations for the sanity of our institutions and the good of our people. Similarly, the Visitation Panels on our tertiary institutions would equally be submitting their reports and we shall be surefooted in repositioning our institutions of higher learning for better results.

3.12 In agriculture, we are looking to substantially reduce our dependence on food imports. We have set a target of planting 4 Million oil palm seedlings in the coming years. Consequently, we look to plant One (1) million this year. Our rice Mills in Ihitte/Uboma would be expanded and the Arondizuogu Mills would be revived.

3.13 In the Health Sector, I am glad to inform you that significant provisions have been made towards improving the health of all Imolites in the 2020 Budget. Our areas of emphases shall include;programmes against childhood malnutrition and reduction of maternal and infant mortality rates to its barest minimum.

3.14 Government shall renovate, re-equip and re-staff Primary Health Centres in all the Local Government Areas, in line with the national objective of achieving Universal Health Coverage. We shall also upgrade one general hospital in each zone to the status of a specialist hospital in specified areas of medical proficiency. Government shall also ensure effective operation and reach of the re-invigorated Imo State Health Insurance Scheme.

3.15 Let me please state that we have declared zero tolerance to all forms of stigma and discrimination against Persons Living with the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV). The State, in collaboration with donor agencies will support the procurement of all the necessary kits and consumables in a concerted push for HIV/AIDS epidemic control, tagged HIV ART Surge.I personally have agreed to be the mascot and face of the Campaign to eliminate stigma and reduce prevalence rate. Members of the expanded State Executive Council have all agreed to join in this crusade.

3.16.This year, Owerri would return to its eminent status as the cleanest city in Nigeria. In this regard, we will further institutionalize our “ Go Green, Stay Clean “ Initiative, and mobilize the entire state for the planting of about 100,000 trees.

3.17. Imo State would take its pride of place as the home of sports, as our repair and rehabilitation works in all our sports institutions and stadia would be completed this year. The indomitable Grasshoppers Women Handball Club of Owerri, is up and running again. These Imo State born African Amazons have qualified to represent Nigeria in the 30th edition of the African Club Championships scheduled for Algeria in April 2020. Similarly, our volleyball team, the Heartland Spikers have qualified to represent Nigeria in an International tournament in Morrocco next year.

3.18 We would be gallantly participating in the 2020 National Sports Festival scheduled for March this year. In addition, after consideration of the immense benefits derivable from sports, Imo State would be bidding for the rights to host the 2022 edition.

3.19.We shall sustain our efforts at mobilizing Diaspora participation in the Rebuild Imo Agenda. Our Diaspora Summit has been scheduled for January 3, 2020. By this we are providing a veritable platform for Diaspora participation in critical sectors in the efforts of government to rebuild, reposition and transform the state.

3.20.Another area of major attention shall be  youths. In the passing year, we commenced a process of data capture of all youths in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, we hope that this would be concluded soon.We shall embark on Youth employment programs, especially, the One-youth-one skill program with a target of generating direct and indirect employment for 500,000 youths.To pilot this, we have just set up, by law,an Imo State Employment Trust Fund to serve as a foundation for supporting youth empowerment.

3.21. This government understands the critical role of genuine data and statistics in the planning and developmental process. Consequently, upon assumption of office, we revamped the statistics department and upgraded it to the level of a bureau, known as The Imo State Bureau of Statistics.


4.1. My dear brothers and sisters, I am sure by now we have been asking ourselves, what is our place in all these?What must we do, to bring about a realization of these noble programmes and projects? The answer is simple, are naissance of spirit and our collective partnership.

4.2   For instance, I earlier talked about Government IGR target to meet up with   the infrastructural development we have projected in the 2020 Budget. As we are aware, all over the world, governments are run from taxes paid by the citizens. As citizens and residents of Imo therefore, we should observe our civic obligations by paying our taxes as and when due.

4.3. On our part, we restate our solemn pledge to account for very Kobo Imolites pay and to bring it to bear on the quality of our infrastructure and improved living standards. Imo State is a blessed State. We will harness our strategic location, rich human capital and abundant natural resources for the greater good of our people. We are not abuja (the Federal Capital Territory). We are not Lagos (the commercial capital). We are not Port Harcourt, Rivers State (the oil capital), but we are Ndi Imo, a people known for industry and excellence.

4.4   You are also called to participate in our joint efforts to keep our environments clean always. We must be law abiding citizens and indeed have a re-orientation of values. Citizens should join hands to undertake community and neighbourhood development projects. Let us form an unbroken chain of support to the Operation Iron Gate security network by remaining alert in our neighbourhoods.

4.5   To our women folk, we truly appreciate you. I was excited by your zest and eagerness to contribute to this rebuilding effort typified by your participation in the last Imo Women’s Day. We will intensify our efforts to mobilize your beneficial involvement in the social, political and economic activities in the State.

4.6   Umunnem, let us also pray for the peace and prosperity of Imo State and work for its progress.

4.7   Today, we have an airport which is like the crowning jewel of our State. Many of us went through pains to make the contributions then, but today, we look back rejoicing for the harvest of an airport that has become a leader among many others.

4.8   In the same spirit we shall arise and build, so that when tomorrow comes, we shall look back in pride and satisfaction that we heeded the clarion call to the Rebuild Imo Agenda.

4.9   I must stress that I am impressed thus far by the show of goodwill by Imolites to our administration. I am also excited by their willingness to partner and support us as we rebuild the state from the ruins of the past. Moving around the State this festive period, I have seen a highly spirited people, eager and resolved to move the State forward. On the 26th of December, 2019, we held a stakeholders luncheon at which our people committed further to the rebuilding task. This, in no small way, strengthens my resolve. 

5.0   Ndi Imo, NdiOma, I wish you all a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Long Live Imo State

Long live, the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Imo wunkeanyinile!!!

Bishop Moses Chikwe consecrated amid jubilation

Bishop Moses Chikwe consecrated amid jubilation

Those with no ambition usually appointed bishops – Bishop Ugorji

It was jubilation galore in Owerri, the Imo State capital last Thursday, December 12, with canon shots booming at the Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri, venue of the Episcopal consecration of Most Rev. Moses Chikwe, as the Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri Archdiocese.

Present at the occasion were the clergy, the religious and lay faithful from various dioceses within the Owerri Ecclesiastical Province and other parts of Nigeria. Many top government officials led by Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha, Governor of Imo State were there as well as friends of the new bishop from the United States of America.

The Pope’s representative in Nigeria, His Grace, Most Rev. Antonio Guido Filipazzi, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) and Archbishop of Benin and about 22 other bishops were there too.

Photo: The newly consecrated bishop acknowledges cheers from the faithful shortly after the Mass

Photo: The newly consecrated bishop acknowledges cheers from the faithful shortly after the Mass

His Grace Most Rev. Anthony J.V. Obinna, Catholic Archbishop of Owerri was the Principal Consecrator while bishops Lucius Ugorji of Umuahia and Augustine Ukwuoma of Orlu were the Co-consecrators.

In his sermon at the consecration, Bishop Ugorji, noted that despite the onerous responsibilities of the episcopal office, some priests are tempted to aspire to be bishops and some even tend to consider themselves the best and brightest to be appointed bishops, while forgetting that those who have the mitre in their head never have it on their head.

Bishop Ugorji revealed that, often it is those who have no ambition to be bishops that are appointed, making true the Igbo saying: “ochoniahughi, ohuniachoghi,” which a semi-illiterate once translated into broken English as: “e want want no see, e see see no want”.

“Notwithstanding the awesome responsibilities of the office of a bishop, some folks want their relations and friends to be bishops for reasons of prestige rather than for the highly demanding selfless service involved in the bishopric,” he observed.

Bishop Ugorji who is also the Apostolic Administrator of Ahiara Diocese advised the new bishop to, “Always keep in mind the admonition of St Augustine when he said that any bishop unwilling to preach Jesus Christ zealously and without embarrassment; to defend the Catholic Church with his life; and to suffer for his people without counting the cost, is “a scarecrow standing in a vineyard.”

“In a country like Nigeria that is fast losing its very soul to a growing culture of selfishness, greed and graft; a country where millions are wounded by poverty and reduced to a life of wanton suffering on account of endemic corruption; a country torn apart by tensions, divisions and bloody conflicts; a country where charlatans masquerading as pastors preach a prosperity gospel devoid of the cross, “hawk miracles”, propagate primitive superstitions and encourage malice and vengeance, the voice of a bishop must be a tireless voice that is strong in the condemnation of evil and injustice, a tireless voice that speaks of peace and reconciliation; a tireless voice that upholds authentic gospel values, and sound Christian traditions and seeks to preserve the deposit of faith in its purity and integrity.”