Mmaku Catholic Centre (Part 3): The Founder, Fr Udeafor Finally Opens Up On The Rise and Fall Of MCC

By Sylvanus OBASI, Lagos

In continuation of our expository series on Mmaku Catholic Centre, the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of, Sylvanus Offorka Obasi engaged the builder of MCC, Rev Fr Innocent Udeafor in a no-hold-barred exclusive interview where he grilled the clergyman on critical issues bothering on conception, construction, completion and eventual handover of MCC to the Catholic Bishop of Awgu Diocese and what informed the decisions. 

It’s an interesting chat especially being the first time Fr Innocent is granting media interview on the subject since the crisis of MCC began over 10 years ago. Here, he provides the much needed answers to the frequently asked questions about MCC, its handover to the Awgu Diocesan bishop and all other sundry issues that followed thereafter. Enjoy the excerpts!

Platform Reporters: How did the vision and the blueprint to set up MCC came about in the first place, considering that you are a Catholic priest, not a businessman?

Fr Udeafor: Thank you for the first critical question. The idea to establish Mmaku Catholic Center (MCC) came in 1989 when I had to work in a factory in Austria. My experiences with the suffering masses made me think in the direction of liberation theology. It was an attempt to give the suffering masses of our society a voice with Christian charity.

Platform Reporters: Could you give us brief background information of how you started and finished the construction works of MCC. The year the foundation stone was laid and when the project was completed and commissioned for operations.

Fr Udeafor: I started with the planning of the project at a very critical period of my life when I worked in HILTI Thüringen AG, a tools production company in 1989.  That was when the whole idea was conceived as I saw the plight of some families, especially from my kindred who couldn’t afford their children’s school fees. Some of such families benefited from the initial scholarship schemes from which many others eventually benefited.

The foundation stone was laid 7th August 1993 by the then bishop of Enugu Diocese, late Bishop M. U. Eneja. The project was completed and officially handed over to Bishop Dr John Okoye for the Diocese on the 21st February 2010.

Platform Reporters: Who are the people you could say played some vital roles during the construction, setting up and management stages of MCC?

Fr Udeafor: The second crucial phase of the project was to find a trusted and knowledgeable builder. This I found in the person of one of my cousins, late “Engineer” Mr. Anthony Orjianevo who worked closely with me from the start to the handover of the project to catholic Diocese of Awgu. 

They were many other good minded people in between till about 2007 when another hard working and trusted person Miss Christiana Amadi joined and completed the team till the handover.

So the major players in the construction and later management team are Anthony Orjianevo and Christiana Amadi.

Platform Reporters: When MCC became operational, it wasn’t easy running and managing the establishment, especially when you are not based in Nigeria. What are the challenges and difficulties you faced dealing with management of the Centre at various times?

Fr Udeafor: The major challenge was logistics, information and above all, on ground supervision which made me fly to Nigeria about 2 to 3 times yearly to supervise the project every year from 1991 to 2010 after which I continued even during the most critical period of the horrible crisis.

Platform Reporters: At what point and year did you hand over MCC to the Bishop of Awgu Diocese and what informed your decision for the handover?

Fr Udeafor: The project was completed and handed over to the Diocese in 2010. 

My decision had always been with my promise to Bishop Eneja to help the Diocese with such a noble pastoral project. That I would hand over the project upon completion. This is because the entire property has always belonged to the catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha and subsequently Catholic Diocese of Enugu and now Awgu since its creation in 2005. 

All relevant documents to the ownership from the donation of the piece of land by the elders of Ezioha Mmaku to the “formalization of the donation“ to me, as it were, official permission by the parish council 26th May 2008 under the chairmanship of Rev. Father Matthew Eze, the then parish priest, Vicar General and Manager of the project.

The last and also very important document is the Certificate of Incorporation and the registration of the entire project with the Corporate Affairs Commission Abuja on 31st March 2010.

Platform Reporters:  What aspect of MCC did you hand over to the Bishop: was it the ownership or Management of MCC or both? What was the arrangement like then?

Fr Udeafor: The entire project from the ownership of the piece of land has always belonged to the Diocese. The handover of both ownership and management was a formal act in accordance with my agreement with the Diocese. There is also a legal document to this formal act.

Platform Reporters: There are insinuations that the downfall of MCC began shortly after you handed over the establishment to the Catholic Bishop of Awgu. There are also allegations of gross mismanagement thereafter, envy by some other priests and even carting away of MCC equipment to other schools run by the Bishop. How true are these insinuations and what’s your response to them?

Fr Udeafor: Yes, for some difficulties, the downward trends started same year of the handover. Please get this right. There are so many unfounded allegations and insinuations about my brother priests being envious of the project and my pastoral achievements. I can’t deny the fact that there are some bit of envy but I have no evidence of that amongst my brother priests. You can make further research on this if necessary.

Again the unholy allegations of some Priests carting away of some equipments to other schools run by the Bishop, as far as I know is not true and can’t be founded. But if anyone thinks otherwise let him or her provide me with the evidence.

… to be continued next week.

Watch out for the final part of the interview as Fr Udeafor speaks on how best to resolve the impasse between Fr James Ani and his Bishop, and what Mmaku people can do to revive MCC before it’s too late.   

NOTE: This Interview was first published in February of 2022 by Sylvanus Obasi

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