Obey Pope’s directive, accept Bishop Okpaleke – Okorocha advises Priests, Laity

Okorocha addressing Priests of Ahiara Diocese, Mbaise

Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, weekend, met with Priests and Laity in Ahiara Catholic Diocese, Mbaise and explained to them, the need to obey the directive of the Pope by accepting Bishop Peter Okpaleke as the Bishop of the Diocese.

The governor who met with the Priests and Laity at the headquarters of the Diocese told them that the decision of the Pope was binding on them and regretted that the Priests were in the forefront of the agitation adding too, that the Church would become an object of mockery if the crisis ends the way the Priests and Laity in the Diocese want it to end.

His word, “I’m here in Ahiara Mbaise Diocese to bring peace. I’ve been meeting with the priests of this Diocese for over one hour now. And the meeting is all about peace. Peace is very expensive and the bible says to us, pursue peace and not walk towards peace because peace is a very expensive commodity, but there can be no peace without justice”.

He said “I am a catholic, and I’m also the governor of Imo State. I’ve come here to see my people. And address you on the burning issues affecting this Diocese. But I wish you can listen to me attentively so that you can go home with something. I’ve had meeting with all the Priests. I’ve listened to their anger, their grievances and I’m aware of all the historical backgrounds following this agitation. But the moment we are now is a very bad moment. There are so many agitations, so many crises here and there and it looks like Satan has relocated his headquarters to Nigeria. But by the grace of God, we shall fight and destroy these satanic forces”.

Hear him, “We’re talking about Ahiara Diocese, IPOB, Boko Haram, Kidnapping, Niger Delta etc. but the one that touches me so much is the crisis of Ahiara Diocese because this touches the fabrics of our faith. First, we’re Christians and you must understand that Christianity is a very difficult religion because Christianity doesn’t preach comfort for us rather, ability to accept persecution. Today, we have a challenge that whatever has made Ahiara a centre of crisis, we must change it for better”.

He continued, “Declaration of Biafran War, Ahiara; killing of a steward, Ahiara and now, Diocesan agitation spanning 6years and attracting global focus also Ahiara. We must change the story of Ahiara. I want to state here categorically that since this crisis, I’ve been listening patiently and watching. But I had wished that my advice was taken ab-initio and ipso-facto. If Mbaise must be in the news, it must be in the news for the right reasons. This is because Mbaise is the largest single ethnic group in the South-East and there is no place you will go in this world, without having an Mbaise man, doing well in that region. Mbaise contributes substantially to what makes Imo thick”.

He continued “Now listen very well my brothers, what I want to say to you now is for your benefit and betterment. You must know that too much of right can also lead to wrong. Mbaise people have made their point. The whole world have heard you, they have listened to you, any further issue on this matter by Mbaise, might not be spoken the way it had been heard before. Let me tell you the gospel truth of how the world is looking at you now, I don’t know how you will take it after my speech now. But I have spoken like Pontus Pilate, I have come to restore peace in this particular place”.

He further remarked “The whole world knows that the Pope has asked all the priests from Mbaise to write a letter of apology to him minus a few of them, to beg the Pope. It might be right, it might be wrong but that’s not the question. But the fact is that before the world, we are no longer enjoying this peace because Mbaise has more priests in the whole of South-East. But sometimes, a wise person behaves foolishly for the sake of his children. So, we must change our style before we deny ourselves of our justice”.

“It’s unfortunate that the priests themselves are at the very front of this agitation because the decision of the Pope is binding on them. Please, we must preserve this our priestly order by maintaining the status quo from the papacy. Mbaise must never be seen as a people that disobeyed the Pope and the church”.

“Christianity never taught us to be violent rather it’s all about enduring persecution and pains. So, like the priests agreed with me earlier, there must be no room for protest. For now you have done well but don’t overdo it, just leave the stage when the ovation is high”.

“I don’t think any Bishop would like to come to a place where the people don’t want him. You can’t force people to be with somebody they don’t want to stay with. But be careful how you reject people because many atimes, the rejected always turns out to be the best. There should be no more protests. No matter who the Pope sends to you, you must rise up to welcome him if not, the church will become an object of mockery. Because if the Pope takes it the way you want it, the church, the Catholic Church will die”.

“I want you to see the possibility that Mbaise sons can also become Bishops elsewhere extending to other states and will be accepted like any other”. The governor added.

In his vote of thanks, Rev. Fr. Dr. Joseph Ezeji pledged allegiance to the papacy, to abide by the decisions of the Pope and confirming that all Mbaise Priests have written their letters of apology to the Pope. He stated that what the people are asking for is for any Bishop groomed from their soil to lead them. He said that the canon law seems to have been bent in the case of Ahiara Diocese.

Okorocha sends shocking signal to successor

Okorocha

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has sent a warning signal to whoever will take over from him after the expiration of his eight year tenure as the governor of the state, saying that his successor could risk being stoned if his performance falls below the standard he had set in the state.

He also said that his administration had spoilt the people of Imo with infrastructural development which according to him, will be a legacy to be left behind when he completes his second term.

Okorocha who disclosed this in Abuja in an interview with State House Correspondents, explained that what his administration had done in Imo State in the past six years could be comparable to what other governors in the state whether living or dead had done. He said that when he concludes his term and leaves the state house, he would be remembered as “a good governor who impacted positively on the lives of the people.”

His words: “I am in this job not for the profit of it but for the honour and glory of the job. So I want to leave a legacy. I want Imo people to miss me and they will definitely miss me. Believe you me they have not seen such developmental work before now and they will miss it. “The only problem I have is that anybody that comes after me and does not perform will be stoned. Because you cannot come to Imo State now and say you want to abolish free education from primary to university, they will not accept it. I have spoilt Imo people, believe me. “You cannot come to Imo State and say you want to give them a single lane road when they are now used to eight lane road in the city, they won’t accept it. You cannot come here and tell the children to go to schools where the floors are not tiled they will not accept because all the schools have been rebuilt. I have rebuilt 450 schools.”

Continuing, Okorocha said, “You can no longer take Imo citizens to those ramshackle hospitals, those shanties they called hospitals because I have built 27 to 200 bed general hospitals. You can no longer tell them those stories. All the infrastructures are there. “You cannot tell them that there are criminal activities anymore and that your hands are tied they will not accept it because we know where we brought Imo from, from unsafe place to a safe place right now. And you can no longer tell our workers to dress shabbily, they will not, they will want to dress in their suits and tie and white shirts. So Imo has changed believe me.”

“I stand to be challenged and corrected by anybody that what we have done in Imo State in six years can be comparable to what any governor that had governed the state living or dead has done. “And if we put all of them together, I can’t say whether they can match what we have done. Have you seen me sounding boisterous? That is the truth. But the point is, I don’t make media noise, I don’t make foundation laying stone programmes, I don’t bring women to dance because I want to lay foundation project. I don’t commission projects because for me it doesn’t make sense.

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