By Ogar Monday
The Chairman, governing board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba has warned the Roman Catholic faithful in Mbaise diocese of Imo state over politicizing the issues in the church as it is inimical to the growth of the church.
Mr. Ndoma-Egba made this known during the grand reception of Most Reverend Donatus Akpan, the newly consecrated Bishop of Ogoja Diocese where he said that the church was not a political party that positions will be shared based on ethnic and zoning bias.
“I wish to appeal to all Catholics that the Catholic Church is not a Political Party where positions are zoned according to ethnic group or otherwise, but the Universal church where God freely chooses his servants through the help of the Holy Spirit working through the Holy Father the Pope,” Ndoma-Egba said and called on Christians the world over to pray for their leaders and give constituted authorities the needed cooperation to better the society.
He said that: “The Holy Bible urges us to pray for the wellbeing of our leaders and peace in our land, as our prosperity is tied to our leaders and indeed the land being at peace,” and emphasized the need for Catholic faithful to obey the Pope’s instructions as he is the supreme head of the universal church and successor of Saint Peter the Apostle; the first Pope.
“We of the Ogoja Diocese asked and prayed for a Bishop, God has given us. We did not ask for a Bishop from any particular Dioceses.
“We are very happy and thank God for the Bishop He gave to us through the Holy Father Pope Francis. We are totally loyal to the Pope who is the representative of Christ here on earth and loyal to our Bishop, His Grace, Most Rev. Donatus Edet Akpan, as the Bishop of Ogoja Diocese,” he said.
The lay faithful of Mbaise Diocese have been protested over alleged marginalization by the church as no priest from the Diocese has been consecrated a Bishop. They are asking that the next Bishop hails from the Diocese.
Meanwhile, Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade has hailed the new Bishop of Ogoja Dioces, Most Reverend Donatus Akpan and said the state will continue to partner the Catholic church as its partnerships in several sectors especially in education, has produced visible results which include Mary Knoll College which has produced leaders for the country.
Ayade who was represented by his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu added that the importance of the church in the scheme of things of the government is why he decided to create the Department of inter-religious affairs headed by a Special Adviser on inter-religious affairs who is a catholic priest from the same Ogoja diocese.
Also, the Archbishop of Abuja Archdiocese and Prelate of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, John Cardinal Onaiyekan charged the new Bishop of the diocese not to see himself as some of those leaders who instead of leading have become a burden to those they are supposed to guide.
He added that the mantle of a Bishop is a call to selfless service and a life lived to the glory and exaltation of Christ. He urged him to use all within his powers for the propagation of the gospel of Christ.
Until his appointment as Bishop of Ogoja Diocese by the Pope, Most Reverend Donatus Edet Akpan who hails from Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State was the Parish priest in-charge of the Holy Rosary Church, Wuse in the Abuja Archdiocese.
The event had in attendance over 30 Bishops, lay faithful and friends among others.