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Monday, December 14, 2015

Cardinal Arinze and dialogue of encounter

Written by Omonokhua 

Cardinal Arinze
THE presence of General Yakubu Gowon in Onitsha, Anambra State of Nigeria on November 28, 2015 is very symbolic. Why is it so important to introduce this conversation with General Gowon and not John Cardinal Onaiyekan (Archbishop of Abuja), Archbishop Augustine Kasujja (Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria), Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama (President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria and Archbishop of Jos), Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo (Apostolic Nuncio to Central African Republic and Chad), Archbishop Brian Udaigwe (Apostolic Nuncio to Republic of Benin and Togo) or Chief Willie Obianor (The executive governor of Anambra State)?

Why singling out General Gowon whereas people from different parts of the world including Catholic Bishops, priests, consecrated persons, traditional rulers, uncountable lay faithful, Christians outside the Catholic Church and people of other religions from different parts of the globe gathered in the Basilica of the Holy Trinity in Onitsha to celebrate the golden jubilee of the Episcopal consecration of His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze on November 28, 2015?

During the homily, Archbishop Jude Okolo had told the congregation that Cardinal Arinze was consecrated Bishop on August 29, 1965. He became the Local Ordinary of the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha from 1967 to 1984. Among the numerous challenges of the young bishop was the Nigeria/Biafra civil war that started on July 6, 1967 and ended on January 15, 1970 under the watch and active participation of General Gowon, the then military Head of State.

While Cardinal Arinze was the youngest bishop in the world then, General Gowon was the youngest Head of State in the world. The civil war displaced so many people including priests and consecrated persons (male and female). Like Jesus Christ, the young Bishop Arinze had no comfortable place to lay his head. After the civil war, he was faced with the task of searching for the flock akin to the Good Shepherd.

Until recently, many people shy away from talking about the genocide of the civil war for fear of opening fresh wounds. On this day of the golden jubilee celebration of Cardinal Arinze, the ice was broken. After the speeches of Archbishops Augustine Kasujja, Ignatius Ayau Kaigama and Chief Willie Obiano, General Gowon was invited to greet Cardinal Arinze. One could notice a dialogue of encounter in the presentation of General Gowon by the Cardinal who called out Monsignor Matthew Obiukwu to greet Gowon.

The Cardinal recalled how shortly after the war he and Monsignor Obiukwu went to visit General Gowon in Lagos to beg him not to send away the missionaries. The Cardinal said: "In that visit I realized that the Nigerian Federal Government had already resolved to deport the missionaries, but Gowon received us well." Turning to Gowon, he concluded: "As you can see, the Church is still alive." In response, Gowon thanked and congratulated him.
Dialogue of encounter was the only means by which God could visit the earth in the incarnation (cf. John 1). This dialogue creates space for the low and the mighty to speak heart to heart. Recalling the memories of the civil war, what can we learn from the encounter between Cardinal Arinze and General Gowon?

Is it possible to hope that the broken trust in the unity of Nigeria can be restored? The Church in Nigeria is a symbol of unity. She is alive with the obligation to carry out the mission of building bridges of trust, love and unity across all tribes and ethnic regions in Nigeria. Therefore, the Church must continue to speak out loud and clear on national issues and social justice. Let us pray that the political leaders would listen to the voice of God through the Church and do what is right!

Let us pray that the Church through intra-ecclesial dialogue would remain a model of unity in Nigeria. Let us pray that General Gowon would courageously take the message of peace to the incumbent leaders of government to enable the federal presence of encounter in every region in a way and manner that everybody would experience the joy of belonging in the national cake. As part of the healing process, a sincere dialogue of encounter between the Nigerian government and those who have been arrested in the course of the recent Biafra agitation could multiply this joy. Conflict resolution is better achieved in an atmosphere of freedom.

A prudent study of the current conflict resulting from the radio Biafra would go a long way to save Nigeria and unite the different aspects of the nation. Most regions in Nigeria quietly complain about total neglect in structural development and social amenities but somebody needs to speak out. Therefore, this study must take cognisance of the fact that the human person needs relationships and so needs to open himself/herself to dialogue through acceptance of the other. Dialogical relationship uses the language of the heart as a tool. The capacity to listen leads to wisdom hence listening is an imperative that the government cannot ignore. Dialogue is made of listening and not just hearing. It allows intelligence to open up.

Listening requires silence because what the other has to say is also important. No one in law can be called a criminal if not convicted. Dialogue also involves answering and this generates respect and communion.
Wisdom comes from God hence human beings must listen to God who speaks through human beings, events and signs of every given moment. Dialogue of encounter enhances listening to one another in conflict but it does not exclude speaking the truth that should be presented with prudence.

In 2015, the same year of the Episcopal golden jubilee of Cardinal Arinze, the Catholic Church celebrates the golden jubilee of the "Declaration on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions (Nostra Aetate) proclaimed by His Holiness, Pope Paul VI on October 28, 1965." This was celebrated in Rome on October 26-28, 2015 and in Kaduna, Nigeria on November 18, 2015. Cardinal Arinze was the fourth president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue that facilitated this celebration of Nostra Aetate. Your Eminence, may your jubilee restore peace to Nigeria and the whole world! Congratulations!

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I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


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