By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
The retirement of the Bishop of the Diocese of Owerri Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev, Cyril Okorocha, has thrown the diocese into a deep succession crisis.
The retirement of Dr. Okorocha on June 12 this year without a successor emerging, had thrown the diocese into confusion. It was gathered that he recommended the bishop of Mbaitoli Diocese, yet to be created, to succeed him with 23 others jostling for the same position.
The people of Owerri Diocese preferred the Venerable in charge of Christ Church, Owerri, to be the next bishop of the diocese but a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Registrar of the Diocese of Owerri Anglican Communion, Sir Ndukwe Nnawuchi, and three other lawyers under the aegis of Registered Trustees, dragged the Anglican Primate, Nicolas Okoh, to court, restraining him from appointing anybody as the bishop of Owerri.
It will be recalled that Justice Orjiakor of Owerri High Court on March 21, 2018 issued an order restraining the Primate from appointing/electing Bishop of Okigwe South diocese or any other person as the Bishop of Owerri. Sir Nnawuchi (SAN) on June 17 filed a contempt suit against the Anglican Primate for appointing the Bishop of Ikeduru Diocese, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Maduwike, as the supervisory Bishop of Owerri diocese.
He informed the court that Rev. Maduwike called a meeting of all Chancellors and Registrars of the province without involving those from Owerri Diocese.
But, in a swift reaction, the defence counsel Chief De Nwigwe (SAN) told the Court that the Primate could not be held for contempt because he (primate) acted under the ambit of the law, not the disobedience of the court order.
In his ruling, Justice Orjiakor set aside the appointment of Rev. Maduwike as the supervisory bishop as well as nullifying it, and also restrained the Primate from making further appointments for Owerri diocese. The legal team of the Primate had since filed an appeal at the court of Appeal against the ruling of the Owerri High Court from executing the order.