(An open Letter sent to the Catholic Bishop of Abakaliki Dr. M. N. Okoro in January 2006)
After many months of contemplation and opinion testing, I have decided to write you this letter not in show of guts, but to express my humble view that Your Lordship should play a leading role in mobilizing our people against the prevailing trend of official corruption and tyranny at all levels of governance in Ebonyi state. No honest right thinking person in Ebonyi state can claim that anything is alright with the way and manner our resources are being handled. It is a big disgrace to all of us that the wealth and resources of about two million people are being commandeered and squandered by one family and his cronies for over six years and nobody is seriously speaking out against it. This is certainly not about fighting any individual, but squarely about us tackling a deadly scourge which threatens our survival as a people. As enlightened people we cannot shy away from the fact that the nefarious activities of those in government have directly afflicted more pains and sufferings on our people. It cannot be right not to challenge the day light fraud going on in the government house against the entire people of
One is not unaware of the fact that you have chosen to restrict yourself to religious duties, but as a responsible leader and elder in the state, you cannot ignore the fact that your people are suffering and dying needlessly because resources meant for the betterment of their lives are been siphoned and wasted on frivolous programmes and projects. It would not require any political battle with anyone, but simply speaking out for the people. The real problem we face is not necessarily about evil minded individuals being in power, but mainly about those who should be speaking for the people not doing so. We cannot expect
Your Lordship must realise that this is about his own homeland and that he is morally accountable to the people as a leader/elder in the state and cannot just be watching things. The Catholic Bishop of Abakaliki dioceses may not have been elected by the people to speak on their behalf, but in a society where no one else is bold or honest enough to confront blatant fraud and public dishonesty he should be rightly looked upon as a beacon of morality to stand out clearly in favour of what is right. We must begin to connect our religious beliefs to our societal life and change the notion of worshiping God purely for our individual salvations upon death. For Christianity to acquire a living value and ultimately contribute to the development of our society, churches must assume the duty to speak for the oppressed masses. I believe that a sustainable change can only be attained in
Your Lordship must get actively involved in the development of Ebonyi state as a respectable member of the society and not as an external observer. To my mind it is not fair on us as your flock that you choose to remain silent on the most serious issues affecting our lives bearing in mind the fact that there is no one else capable of speaking out since every opposition has been quietened. Nothing can be more crucial to our people than being healthy and living decent lives here on earth.
I deeply regret any disrespect or harm my views might cause anyone, but my sincere concern is about improving the quality of life of our people. I have written this letter as my own contribution to the defence of truth, equity and justice in our society. And I have no doubt in my mind that my views would be shared by a good majority of right-thinking people.
I must thank you for finding time to read my lengthy words.
John A. Iteshi