Mmaku Catholic Centre (4): “Act Now To Save The Project Before It’s Too Late”, Fr Udeafor Urges Mmaku People

By Sylvanus OBASI, Lagos

In the concluding part of this Exclusive interview with Fr Innocent Udeafor, the Catholic clergy assures there is hope for revival of MCC, but charges Mmaku people to move fast in saving the project in their community before it becomes too late to do so.  

He also touches on the impasse between the Catholic Bishop of Awgu Diocese and Fr James Ani, its adverse effects on MCC and calls for a peaceful resolution, even as he expresses his readiness to help broker peace between the parties if Mmaku people are ready to undo the ‘siege’ in their community church. 

Platform Reporters: No doubt, the impasse between the Bishop of Awgu Diocese, Most Rev Dr John Okoye and Fr James Ani, played some critical roles in the current situation of MCC. What is your position on this long standing rift, and from your experience and exposure, how do you think this ‘Father – Son’ rift as some call it can be resolved for peace to reign?

Fr Udeafor: The impasse between my brother priest, Fr James Ani  and the Bishop played and still plays a major role in the crisis.

But the father-son crisis is better addressed and handled within the catholic presbytery and not spread over to Mmaku people the immediate beneficiaries of the project who now bear the brunt of the crisis. The father -son rift belongs to the family, that is the presbytery, the Diocece. 

Following my detailed explanations you can see that Mmaku people should make up their mind on what to do before everything degenerate again after this lengthy period of crisis. 

I suggest the path of dialogue or any other peaceful means with both the Bishop and Fr James or any other peaceful but consequent means by Mmaku people.

I have had numerous conversations with both the Bishop and Fr James on the issue with little or no movement. I even promised Fr. James to lend him some help while we look for peace between him and his bishop but he turned down the offer. 

From my deductions and observations, the Mmaku people have started well with the ongoing awareness, peace movement and call for the revival of the great project. Mmaku people can’t and should not relent in this efforts lest the present continued crisis will all the more spread to the future generations. 

Platform Reporters: The attack on MCC by some Ezioha and Aguenese youth which became the last stroke that broke the camel’s back; when exactly did it happen? How did you receive the news? And what has been your reaction thereafter?

Fr Udeafor:  The attack by Ezioha youths was one of the greatest setbacks coming from the very immediate beneficiary because some ill-informed people misdirected  the weak minds.

It is still a big shock and disappointment to me even years after that. But I strongly believe that those youths can still be helped especially now that the bitter truth of their “deadly“ mistakes have become clearer than ever.

Platform Reporters: Father, I know that looking back to all that has happened to MCC, you must have some regrets and also learnt some lessons. What are your regrets and lessons in all of this?

Fr Udeafor: Certainly I leant much lessons from all these crisis. I have no regrets as I strongly believe in the revival process  by Mmaku people.

Platform Reporters: Before we go to solutions. Can you tell us the current situation of things at Mmaku Catholic Centre. Is there any activity going on in any sectors of the Centre?

Fr Udeafor: The current situation at the centre is not encouraging. There are scanty activities in some sections but not much.

Platform Reporters: Finally, let’s look at profering  solutions towards restoring and reviving MCC. I know you are always in touch with the Bishop. Is he deeply touched by the current state of MCC. What plans and strategies are in the offing from the Bishop towards revamping the Centre?

Fr Udeafor: Yes, as stated earlier, I have since been in touch with the bishop and I know that he is really worried about the current situation there but I don’t know exactly his plans towards reviving the project. 

You are actually free, as a people whose home has been under “siege“ for years to work out peaceful plans to saving the project and your communities.

Platform Reporters: Going by your experiences as the visioner, I know you will have some plans and suggestions on how best to go about this. Do you mind sharing them with us? 

Fr Udeafor: Certainly true as a bonafide son of Mmaku, I am still prepared to dialogue with all parties: Mmaku people, the bishop and Fr James for a lasting solution. 

Platform Reporters: In conclusion, what other things would you like to tell Mmaku people in particular and Awgu Diocese in general regarding MCC? 

Fr Udeafor: Finally I would like to encourage Mmaku People not to give up, to consequently seek dialogue while they develop some healthy strategies to achieve the desired peace. The same is my advice to the Diocece. 

But please one point stands out. I encourage all parties and factions in Mmaku to continue with the noble path of peaceful resolution without relenting their efforts to reviving the project now that there are still some hope to achieve that.  

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NOTE: This Interview was first published in February 2022 by Sylvanus Offorka Obasi, a Lagos-based journalist, content creator and Public Relations expert. Email:

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