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March 28, 2011
Most Rev. Dr. Anthony Okonkwo Gbuji
Catholic Archdiocese of Benin City .
THE APPOINTMENT OF BISHOP OBIORA AKUBEZE AS ARCHBISHOP OF ARCHDIOCESE OF BENIN IS AN UNHOLY IMPOSITION
It is a matter of deep regret that in complete disregard of the pertinent objections raised by us regarding the gravely flawed procedure you adopted in electing Bishop Akubeze as Archbishop of Benin, you have nonetheless ensured that you impose him on us. This development has confirmed that the welfare and interest of our people especially their evangelization, is of no importance to you.
Your Lordship, it has become clear that you saw in your appointment as administrator of the Archdiocese, an opportunity to fulfill your life-long ambition of entrenching your tribesmen in the plum offices of the Archdiocese. In plotting and executing this unholy assignment Your Lordship, we are particularly piqued that you resorted to telling lies and deception in order to achieve your desires. We recall that even without prompting by anyone, you pronounced that you came to the Archdiocese to put right the injustices meted to our people in the past. It is on record that you repeated this to Priests on numerous occasions and, one of such occasions, you even got them to vote for this position to further convince them that you meant what you were avowing. This is one of such incidents that we have found inexplicable in this entire saga. It is particularly painful to realize that you resorted to these lies in order to ensure that our people became complacent while you perfected your plot.
We recall, in particular, that during the visit of the Papal Nuncio, you deliberately exploited the mistaken belief of our people that you were representing their interests and exploited the situation to create the impression that you had their support. The Papal representative was under this illusion until you played your card and we were then forced to explain to him that our people had been fooled by you. We know too well that deception and subterfuge do not last and we hope that with the benefit of hindsight, you have realized how brazen the process you followed was by:
(1) Putting forward two Ibo candidates for election
(2) Putting together twelve Priests out of which seven were Ibo priests to vote for the two Ibo candidates
(3) Sidelining other Bishops and Priests in the Benin Ecclesiastical Province while plotting your scheme
We wish to point out that even in murky arena politics in Nigeria , what you did in the House of the Lordwould be considered unethical. We have also discovered that certain hired Co-plotters are busy spreading a false rumour that our Benin priests lost out because they wrote petitions against one another. This is untrue and we suspect that this is being deliberately done to provide an excuse for the fraud that has been committed in the election of an Archbishop. It is a wicked lie.
Your Lordship, the purpose of this letter is:
(1) To inform you that we realize what you have done to our people
(2) To inform you that we REJECT Bishop Akubeze as our Archbishop because the process of his election was gravely flawed. In the circumstance, we urge you to have a rethink as a man of God and advise your ward not to accept this questionable appointment. This is the only way you can sufficiently repent for what you did.
(3) To leave a record for posterity especially our children yet unborn, about your role in frustrating the rapid evangelization of our people
(4) To inform you that we shall keep watch on the finances of the Archdiocese and take all legal steps to ensure accountability is ensured.
(5) To inform you that our people are resolute in their faith in God and the Catholic Church and that the steps we shall undertake in demanding for justice will be predicated on the social teaching of the church which affirms that whilst all offices are created by God, the method by which such offices are filled are left to our free choice. The election of Bishop Akubeze is fraudulent and we are determined to ensure that the right thing is done.
(6) Finally Your Lordship, we seek to remind you that the church in Ibo speaking areas of our country already have 14 Archbishops and Bishops. Our people are yet to have one after more than 500 years of the existence of the Catholic Church in Benin . It is therefore unfair for you to plot as you have done to snatch the only one position due to them.
We remain Your Lordship,
Pa. V. N. E. Osakue KSM C. J. Aghimien