While www.calitown.com broke the news about the appointment of Bishop John Ayah, Catholic bishop of Ogoja diocese as the new bishop of the Catholic diocese of Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, early this week, it is emerging that his movement to Uyo may have been done by the Vatican to contain the issues raised in a secret document, the SOB SACARITO, circulated in the Catholic diocese of Uyo in early November, 2013.
The unsigned document purportedly contains the names of five priests; Rev Frs. Anthony Ekong, Emmanuel Effiong, Benjamin Okon, Michael Bassey and Martin Akpan, from where Joseph Ekuwem(until his elevation to the office of Metropolitan Archbishop of Calabar, the Bishop of Uyo) hopes one priest will be chosen by the Vatican to succeed him as Bishop of Uyo. Sources say the list is thought to favour priests who are not of Ibibio extraction, over their Ibibio counterparts who are in the majority and seem to be grumbling that after the late Brian Davis Usanga, no other Ibibio has been ordained Bishop in the church.
Ayah, unverified claims say, distributed 20 copies each of the SOB SACARITO to the ‘chosen’ five on the 9th of November, 2013, in his capacity then as Administrator of Uyo diocese, before it was leaked to the public by a few persons within the clerical ranks who felt the list did not reflect their ethnic thinking. The document was to be filled by all five before it is forwarded to Rome for a selection process that is normally shrouded in secrecy. “Had the document not been leaked, it would have given us a bishop that is not Ibibio but from Oron”, one source told www.calitown.com. What followed after the document was leaked were series of sustained actions by pro-Ibibio priests to subtly reject the appointment that was to be influenced by the SOB SACARITO.
Sensing the divisions, the Vatican is thought to have shelved all plans of selecting a bishop from the indigenous Akwa Ibom priests, opting instead for the transfer of Ayah, considered neutral, to the Uyo diocese to tackle this unfortunate development.
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