By Paulinus Osiomeye
A member of the laity of the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara, Imo State has berated the Catholic Bishops in Nigeria, saying that their refusal to speak out against the injustice in Ahiara Diocese is because they want to be created Cardinals and Cardinals want juicy positions in the Vatican.
The anonymous Catholic from Ahiara who was reacting to Sunday Sun’s August 20, 2017, edition titled “Ahiara Diocesan Battle: How Mbaise Priests Lost Out,” said some of the Catholic Bishops are with them in the struggle to have an Mbaise priest appointed as bishop of Ahiara, but were afraid due to personal ambition.
The indigene of Mbaise said the bishops, though with them in the struggle, cannot openly voice out their support because they don’t want to incur the wrath of Francis Cardinal Arinze who wields enormous powers in the Vatican.
The member said the case of Ahiara, is a case of injustice.
“Sometime in 2010, there was vacancy in both Awka and Ahiara dioceses following the retirement of Bishop Simon Akwali Okafor and the death of Bishop Victor Adibe Chikwe.
“While Awka had a son of the soil appointed bishop, with another subsequently appointed Auxiliary Bishop, the case of Ahiara was different.
“Ahiara is crying for injustice and people are supporting injustice. All the bishops chosen for Onitsha Archdiocese are all from Onitsha Archdiocesan Province.
“But in the case of Owerri Archdiocese, the late Bishop of Aba, Vincent Ezeonyia, is from Onitsha Archdiocese, the same with Okigwe. And when it came to the turn of Ahiara, they want to short-change us also because Arinze is in the Vatican. Anywhere there is vacancy, Arinze would send his person there.
“Out of the six dioceses in Owerri Archdiocese, Onitsha Archdiocese wants to be in control of three. Are you going to colonise Owerri Province? Are you going to annex Owerri Province to Onitsha Archdiocese?
“The former Papal Nuncio, Augustine Kasujja, did a wrong thing because he wanted favours from Arinze. Others decided to play along, most especially bishops who want to be cardinals.
“Many bishops believe in our cause, but they don’t want to talk because all of them want to be cardinals. Those who are cardinals are looking for juicy positions in the Vatican,” the Catholic faithful alleged.
While nothing that in the present configuration of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, majority of the bishops were serving either in their dioceses of origin or dioceses of incardination, the case of Bishop Peter Okpalaeke, the anonymous Ahiara Catholic faithful noted, was totally different.
“So, what is wrong with Ahiara? Look, the people are not even thinking about Okpalaeke because as far as Ahiara people are concerned, his case is a forgotten issue. They can go and build a Church for him elsewhere. If they like, let them bring police and use them to force him on us.
“What Ahiara wants is a priest from their presbyterium. Arinze and Onaiyekan are deceiving the Pope because of their personal ambitions. They are just deceiving the Pope and the people.
“All the juicy positions from the Vatican are centered around Awka because of Arinze. They think people will continue to keep quiet in the face of injustice.