By Uche Amunike
Let me start by expressing my heartfelt apologies to you all for my absence for a while now. As you know, I was incapacitated by my injury and it hasn’t really been easy using my right hand since then. Most times, I have all the millions of things in my head to write, but because of the limitations I have been subjected to, since I broke my wrist early in the year, I just let go.
What’s the point in writing if I’ll end up battling with pain afterwards??? That has been my question to myself most of the time. Anyway, something prompted me to pick up the courage to write again. I had been sad about the changes in Fides management team. Firstly, Fr Obinna Dike was transferred to a new place of assignment. I gather it is somewhere in Nimo.
The information came as a big blow. It was the most unexpected. When that news filtered in, I tried making endless calls to Fr Obinna, but he did not pick my calls. I guess he knew why I was calling and must have been laughing his head off all the time my phone rang, knowing I was calling to throw a tantrum. Anyway, when I realized he didn’t pick my call, I let him be.
In the process, Fr Martin returned from his 2 months leave abroad. So, I got his gift for me through one of our members of staff and decided to go to his office and welcome him back from his trip and also vent about Fr Obi’s transfer. We had laughed and talked for a while after I welcomed him back to work and thanked him for his very generous gift. Then I complained that I wasn’t happy that Fr Obinna was leaving Fides so abruptly. Next thing I heard was ‘Uche, I’m leaving too’.
I was shocked. It was actually one piece of information I never expected to hear that morning. He saw the look of bewilderment on my face and laughed so hard. I asked him why. And he told me he had completed his stay in Fides which was for six years . And so had Fr Obi. Our Fr Obi!!! It came as a big blow given under the belt. I think Fr Martin found my shock and bewilderment really amusing. He just laughed so hard and told me that was how the Catholic Church worked.
Once you complete your tenure, you move to a new place and continue your priestly duties. At that point, my spirit was truly dampened because I had known those two priests for six years out of my eight years in Fides and they truly impacted in my life. If I have to talk about the roles they both individually played in my life, it would take more than one edition of Frank Talk to explain.
Anyway, after spending some time in his office, I wished him well and returned to the newsroom. I understand that Fr Martin Anusi was transferred to the St Michael’s Parish at Neni. So, I mentally wished him well, as well as Fr Obi. I prayed they shall meet God’s favour in their new places of assignment and touch lives while at it. The next emotion I felt was anger. Anger for our Bishop who pulled out two major priests from Fides at the same time. I wondered why he didn’t consider the fact that their transfer might create a very big vacuum in the organization.
I wished I had the power to make him see why it was important that one of them needed to stay back and maybe get transferred one year after. In my humble opinion, our new director would actually need to be put through a lot of things by the out going one. Transitions are not very easy, especially for a big organization like Fides. But who was I to stand before the Bishop and complain.
I only fumed in my little corner until I had no choice than to let go. My consolation was that the Holy Catholic Church in her wisdom, would set things in proper order at her own time. I earnestly prayed that the incoming Director would come in and make great impacts like his predecessors. About a week after this, Fr Obinna who refused picking our calls showed up at the office and we all yelled on top of our voices, telling him he was going nowhere. He had a good laugh and told us he had even overstayed in Fides and it was time to go.
I silently looked at him in his bubbly and vibrant elements, his look of amusement and very lovable personality and wished him well. I tried picturing Fides without him. I was certainly going to miss him. A great deal. Again, I was mad at our Bishop for not even considering the feelings of the Fides staff members, but resigned myself to fate.
The third pea in the pod is the youngest of them all, Fr. Fidelis Odunukwe, popularly called Fr. Semper. I will also miss his quiet and unassuming presence. I wish him well as he begins his new posting at St. Gabriels Catholic Church Nodu-Okpuno.
Those two priests were particularly good to me. They all made impacts in my life. They also individually took me as a sister, a staff member, a friend and a daughter. I can’t even begin to state all they did for me on this page. I pray God in his infinite wisdom will lead them in a safe path and guide them in their new place of assignment, while filling them with fresh unction to carry out their work of evangelization. May it be well with both of them.
So, we have a new Director in the person of Fr Robert Aniagboso who has fully resumed duty in Fides. I can’t really say much about him, having met him just once or twice. You know, I had been worried about the new people that would replace my two outgone Directors. I have earnestly prayed that they will even be better than the duo of Fr Martin and Fr Obi. I have been curious and somewhat sad.
I had personally asked Fr Obi what kind of person the new Director was and he told me we would love him because he was a genius and an amazing priest who knew his onions in the field of communication. That made me happy, but even more curious. Just yesterday, I got the answers I had so much sought. It was during the inaugural Management and Staff meeting with the new Fides boss.
I had the opportunity to listen to him and study his psyche. I listened to what he intended to do in Fides and studied his management style. I listened to his brilliant ideas and ultimately, his mission statement. His vision for Fides is fantastic and while I watched him speak from the heart, I knew this was certainly going to be a new dawn for Fides. There is so much in the pipeline, but he has particularly pleaded for three things from us. They are new commitments, renewal and reaffirmation.
His philosophy is a simple one: work hard to grow the company’s finances and get exponential rewards. Simple! He harped on working together as a team, consciously and conscientiously in order to achieve success. He believes that working hard individually doesn’t create great results in an organization, but with collaboration and synergy, success is a sure deal. I believe at some point during the meeting, I felt bad for being upset with my Bishop. I guess he gave us a perfect replacement for my outgone Director. Like I said, the Catholic Church is wise.
The second priest that was posted alongside the new Director is a very young newly ordained priest, Fr Constantine Echichechi. A very bright and brilliant priest whose inane intelligence was not lost on me. I will like to thank him for inspiring me to start writing again. You see, after the meeting, I walked up to him to exchange pleasantries and he said something that shocked me.
He told me he had been reading my page a lot with his friends in the Seminary, but that for a while he had not been reading anything from me and wondered why. I explained my predicament as my fracture was in the right hand and he told me to please try and keep the page coming. That moment, I knew I couldn’t stop writing on Frank Talk no matter what because there were people who valued its content more than I knew. I was inspired. I was motivated. I mentally decided I would start writing again this week.
May I sincerely apologize to all my readers who felt I let them down when i stopped. It wasn’t intentional. If you have had the experience of breaking your bones, especially that of your right hand, you will maybe understand my predicament. Writing, for me, is a hobby. It’s also my job for which I earn my monthly pay. So, when I don’t write, there certainly is a strong reason for it because I enjoy writing. I love my job.
Most importantly, I am now fully back, God willing. Thank you once again, Fr Echichechi. You pulled these strings without knowing it and I’m eternally grateful to you. I pray Fides will mould you into the best priest ever. I know you will give your first and new posting your best shot and God will enlarge your coast and make your name heard through the good work I know you will do with our new Director, Fr Robert.
While I officially bid farewell to the duo of Fr Martin, Fr Obi and Fr. Semper, I also officially welcome the promising duo of Fr Robert and Fr Echichechi to the Fides family. I will also at this point recognize Fr. Pio-Anthony Okafor who has been on ground, running things in Fides during the transition. He is the Jack of all Trades and master of all in Fides. I believe with their team, it shall be well with Fides Media Ltd!!! Daalu nu!!!