In a video published on Catholic University YouTube account today June 29th 2020, the outgoing President of CUIB Rev Fr George Nkeze says he has “resigned and handed over power.
The video which was uploaded few hours ago sees the priest talk about the crisis which has embroiled the University he leaves behind for the first time in public as well as his tenure as President and pro-Chancellor of CUIB for over a decade.
During the close to 40 minutes video, the priest did not fail to loud his achievements, pinning it to the vision and strategy which he says helped make CUIB unique in Africa.
He also had very kind words for his board members who have been in an ugly power battle with the new bishop Michael Bibi ever since appointments within the University were made.
In an indirect rebuke at critics who say the priest has filled the CUIB board with loyalists and family members, Fr Nkeze took out time to rollout the profile of every member of the CUIB Board of Trustees, including names which didn’t feature in any of their recent and troubling communiques.
The priest was also full of praise for the bishop emeritus and CUIB founder, Immanuel Bushu, for creating the university and giving him the mandate
While touting the youthfulness of his administrative team, the outgoing President didn’t thank his employees all through his video, focusing on the retired bishop and his board which has helped keep him till date and the latter have been fighting the new bishop over sovereignty issues in the diocesan University
Resign or replaced
The bone of contention has always been about who is in charge of CUIB and whether Fr Nkeze was fired or he resigned.
Coming barely two weeks after he and top Members of his administration were replaced by the new apostolic administrator of Buea diocese, Mgr Michael Bibi, Fr Nkeze had refused to step down over what he termed “lack of due process” to remove him
He had questioned the authority of the bishop to remove him from office, touting CUIB statute which he says gives the University autonomy and places it under a board of trustees not a bishop, he had also accused the bishop of acting in illegality
His supporters have also taken to social media to make disparaging remarks about the new bishop and strenuously try to weep tribal sentiments over the dismissal.
He refused to step down, sues the bishop to court through the CUIB Baord and requested a court order to suspend the bishop’s appointment which they got
The infighting within the church spilled into social media with many Christians of the diocese expressing outrage at the priest and his baord members over what they call unprecedented rebellion against a bishop
Vatican was quick to react to the feud, insisting bishop Bibi was acting within his full powers and says he enjoys the full confidence of the holy father in a communique of their own.
Despite Vatican’s backing of bishop Bibi, the President and his baord refused to back down even as the baord has been dissolved by the bishop who is also the owner of CUIB
The administration under Nkeze went ahead and issued a communique to students, insisting classes will continue online despite earlier announcement by bishop that onsite classes will resume come July 2nd 2020.
The battle for supremacy playout for two weeks as Christians watch with shock at the sideline. The bishop had set July 1st 2020 as handing over date for newly appointed officials.
The introductory question of the interview shows the outgoing president has refused to accept he was replaced, insisting he is resigning as was echoed by the board in a communique on June 24th 2020 , few days after court’s Decision to halt Bishop’s appointment
But while Fr Nkeze has stepped aside, the battle between the bishop and a University’s board is far from over giving a pending case at the Fako high court over who is in charge of the University.
The board in its June 24th communique called on bishop to summon a meeting with them to chose a new President of the University and chart a way forward, the bishop has maintained a strange silence ever since the communique, leaving many to wonder the fate of the University.