“We have no Bishop yet”: Increased tension in Imo as youth lock out newly consecrated Bishop


by Akan Ido

The consecration of Monsignor Peter Okpalaeke as the new Bishop of Ahiara Catholic Diocese has continued to attract protests as youths locked up the Catholic Cathedral in Ahiara community in Ahaiazu Council Area of Imo State.

Okpalaeke was appointed Bishop-elect of the diocese by former Pope Benedict XVI in December last year after the death of the pioneer bishop, Victor Chikwe.

Read the Sun Newspapers report:

The appointment of Okpalaeke was vehemently rejected by Priests and Catholic faithful from the Ahiara Diocese, who insisted on a native of Mbaise to be elected as bishop of the diocese. The youths who were mainly from the community locked up the entrance gate to the cathedral where the newly ordained bishop was to begin his ten-year tenure as the bishop of Ahiara Diocese.

The aggrieved youths disrupted vehicular and human movement in the area, vowing never to allow the bishop access into the Cathedral. They insisted that the Diocese would remain without a bishop for the 10 years that Okpalaeke’s tenure was expected to last. One of the protesting priests told Daily Sun that, “as far as we are concerned we don’t have a bishop yet. The one they have just consecrated is not our bishop and we are prepared to continue without one. He added that the people had resolved to resist any imposition from any quarters.

“So the bishop they ordained today is the bishop for Archbishop Obinna, Cardinal Arinze and the Papal Nuncio.” However, in apparent disregard to the threat of the youths and priests from the community, the Catholic authority yesterday went ahead to consecrate Monsignor Okpalaeke as the new bishop of Ahiara Catholic Diocese, amidst tight security at the Seat of Wisdom Major Seminary in Ulakwo in Owerri North Council Area. The ordination, held several miles away from the diocese for security reasons attracted Catholic faithful and other dignitaries across the country and beyond. They included John Cardinal Onaiyekan, the Archbishop of Abuja.

In his sermon, the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia Archdiocese, Lucius Ugorji, stated that it was only the Pope who had the final say in the appointment of bishops, adding that the law of the Church did not have provisions for quota system in the appointment of bishops. He added: “The acceptance of the Papal’s appointment is a respect for the Pope, while the outright rejection and inflammatory statements and protests are spiteful and disrespectful of the Papal’s authority.”

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  • Bob says:

    Every Human being, every Christian has the right and duty to speak up against injustice, power-play, and subjugation in the house of God. There are now 5 bishops from Awka and none from Mbaise; there are 15 bishops from Onitsha Province and only 4 from Owerri province… No Mbaise priest is a bishop anywhere in the catholic church even though there are more than 500 catholic priest of Mbaise origin who are very qualified to be a bishop… The Mbaise people are protesting the injustice, power-play, subjugation, and favoritism in the appointment of bishops in Igbo land and in Nigeria in general… ; the one person who is the master-mind of these satanic deeds is cardinal Francis Arinze. Let the truth be told: The Bishopric of Ahiara diocese in Mbaise was used to settle Okpalaeke as one of the Arinze loyal and errand boys. Mbaise people did their rosary and singing procession to show their rejection of Okpalaeke to the Church and to the whole world. Even though the imperialist Prince, Francis Arinze intimidated and pushed the man without balls (Archbishop Obinna) to ordain Okpalaeke as the Titular Bishop Ulakwo, Owerri.
    Okpalaeke stands completely rejected by Mbaise forever and ever, Amen!!!!

  • kate says:

    @ o.j dont speak of what you dont know ok!

  • kate says:

    obinna is a great liar! he thought that he can decieve us by saying that the pope appoints opalaeke as bishop of ahiara. it is not true. dont allow obinna to decieve you!!!. it was arinze that apointed him. pope does not even know him. they are all telling lies with the name of pope and the holy spirit just to cover their unjust and unfair acts, and to succeed in their manipulation. God forbid evil and injustice!! they will not succeed. Ahiara has unveiled their plans. LONG LIVE AHIARA DIOCESE. amen

    • Anne says:

      Have we become so small minded,that christianity is no longer about Christ and our salvation,and has become a tool for politics and protests? Since when did Bishops of the catholic church become a quota system matter? Kate,and indeed the rest of Ahiara diocese, your faith and salvation through a relationship with Christ should be your priority. I suppose you will ask God for a quota system in heaven; if you do make it there.

  • o.j says:

    i?m sorry to say that the catholic archdiocese of ahiara priests are generating the heat that will destroy them. May God have mercy on the poor souls they purport to be leading

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