A former Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists NUJ Imo State Council Ben Osuagwu has advised the Papacy and the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria to hasten efforts and give Ahiara Diocese their own Substantive Bishop as they have done in other Dioceses in Nigeria.
Osuagwu who was speaking on this year’s World Communication Day topic said that it is becoming ungodly to deny the Catholic faithfuls in Ahiara their own Substantive Bishop.
Mr. Osuagwu said that Mbaise people are the only Diocese in Nigeria nay the whole world that have remained without a Substantive Bishop for over twelve years after the death of their first vibrant, intelligent, innovative and spirit filled Bishop Victor Adibe Chikwe.
He said that the continued silence, denial or neglect of giving Mbaise a Substantive Bishop is not only giving the whole world a wrong signal that something sinister is happening somewhere but portraying that an individual is insisting that only what he says must happen so long as he remained the only voice close to the Papacy in Rome.
Mr. Osuagwu observed that other Dioceses whose Bishops retired or died were given a new Bishop after a few months but in the case of Mbaise, someone somewhere is sitting on the issue. He said that the patience of Mbaise people should not be taken for granted adding that they should not to be pushed to the wall again. Osuagwu pointed out that the attitude of the hierarchy of the church is not telling the people that heaven is real or that they are working for God.
Mr. Osuagwu said that if one person should hold the Catholic Church in Mbaise and Nigeria to ransom and Rome listens to him over and above the faith of the faithful then something is wrong somewhere. He said that it is better for the Church hierarchy to tell Mbaise people that they are not part of the Holy Roman Catholic Church and that we should bow out form our own “Mbaise Catholic Church of Nigeria”.
Osuagwu observed that those holding the Mbaise Catholic faithful hostage by denying them their substantive Bishop are behaving like the President of this country who insists that all major appointments and positions must go to their people whether merited or not; According to him, that is why they have never condemned the ills going on in the land since they all behave alike and act alike as they always make sure that they succeed themselves.
The former NUJ Chairman commended Pope Francis for this year’s topic which centres on listening with the ears of the Heart” and advised the church hierarchy that while the faithful listen to them they also should open the” Ear of their Hearts” and listen to the cry of the people by giving them what they need. He said that time has come for the church to listen with Ear of their Heart in the case of Mbaise Bishop situation adding that communication is a two-way traffic affair. He said that the church hierarchy cannot continue to preach to the people on the need to be truthful, faithful, fair and considerate in our dealings with others and continue to do the opposite when matters like the Mbaise Bishopric issue arises.
Mr. Osuagwu commended the Apostolic Administrator of Ahiara Diocese and the Archbishop of Owerri Archdiocese “His Grace Most Rev Lucius Ugorji” on his good work since his appointment as the Apostolic Administrator of Ahiara Diocese.
Osuagwu also commended the Clergy in Mbaise for shepherding the flock since the demise of their pioneer Bishop, Most Rev Victor Chikwe. He also praised the faithful for their endurance and urged them to keep faith with God.