There was jubilation in parts of Imo State on Monday as parishioners received the news that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation letter of the embattled Bishop of Ahiara Diocese ,Peter Ebere Okpalaeke .
Okpalaeke , who is from Awka Diocese in
Anambra State , was appointed Bishop of the
Ahiara Diocese in 2012 after the death of
Bishop Victor Chikwe , the first bishop of the diocese .
Okpalaeke ’ s appointment was stoutly resisted
by Catholic priests and laity in the diocese , as
they insisted that the bishop must be appointed from among them, having allegedly produced the highest number of priests in the West African region.
The president of the Ahiara Diocesan Catholic
Men Organisation, Gerald Anyanwu, described
the news as “ victory for the Catholic Faithful in
the Diocese. ”
He said the Pope should be commended for
yielding to the genuine demands of the
He said that with the news of the bishop’ s
resignation , peace has finally returned to the
The chairman of the Ahiara Diocesan Catholic
Priests Association , Rev . Fr . Austin Ekechukwu , said the people were “ excited with the latest development in the diocese . ”
A member of laity , Kingsley Madu , expressed
gratitude to the Pope for okaying the prelate ’ s
Some other Catholic Faithful, who reacted to
the development, blamed the diocese for setting what they described as “ a wrong precedence that will encourage other dioceses to question the authority of the Vatican . ”
A Knight of the church , Andrew Ukachukwu ,
enjoined the church to always obey the
instruction of church ’ s hierarchy .