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THE 2012 SUPREME CONVENTION IN OWERRI

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Regarding the Supreme Convention held in Owerri in December 2012, the MGK, Bro. knight logo said that the Supreme Knight Bro. A.C. Onuh scored Owerri Metro 80% while the Supreme Executive Board rated the Metro, “First Class”.  Continuing, the MGK said that part of the merit should be allotted to the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Anthony Anwuka (KSM) and the able Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Barr. Soronnadi Njoku (KSM).  He commended the Governor in a special way for the grand reception he accorded the Supreme Executive Board members in the Government House and his (Governor’s) attendance to the opening session of the convention held at the Ikemba Ojukwu Conference Centre Owerri.

On behalf of the entire Knights of the Order of St. Mulumba Nigeria, the MGK thanked and commended, “our friendly and action Governor”.

Bro. Emeakaroha observed that the members drawn from various parts of Nigeria carried good impression of the Governor and Imo State to their homes in various parts of the country.  The MGK also expressed gratitude to Archbishop A.J.V. Obinna for his opening Mass for the convention, Bishop Lucius Ugorji for his lecture at the convention and Eze Emmanuel Njemanze for his royal reception of the Supreme Executive Board members.

The MGK used the occasion to comment on international, national and local issues including the retirement of Pope John II, the election of his predecessor, Pope Francis, the situation in Ahiara Diocese and the newly introduced Community Government Council (CGC) by the Imo State Government.

On the CGC, he said: ‘‘If the Imo State Government is using the Community Government Council to get the accurate population of retired men and women in the State, this is laudable. But any further step beyond this, like payment of pensioners etc, will be disastrous for the following reasons.

a) The slim honor and regard left for the senior citizens in the state will be completely destroyed. Already the poor earnings of the pensioners especially the early retirees as shown on the verification forms are now a thing of ridicule and scorn among the rural dwellers who are the agents of these verifications.

b) Verification Officers allegedly collect transport fees from the pensioners who submit their forms late to go to Owerri for the submission of the forms. If it is so now, what does one expect if these agents will be responsible for payment to pensioners? The present corruption plaguing pensions will be worsened. Whenever payment of pensions are delayed, as it is often the case, money will be extorted from the old and impatient rural pensioners by these community agents to go and “fast-forward” the payments. The state government at Owerri will never have an effective means of checking this bribery from the operations of the community government.

c) Senior citizens are highly honored in civilized communities of Western and Central Europe where they are given dignified seats in public places like trains, buses, public gatherings etc. In primary schools, children are taught to honor senior citizens and they are made to know that these men and women of honor built the facility they now enjoy. But here in Nigeria who does it? No one.

d) I therefore appeal to the governor of Imo state, a young man of honor and admirer of decent life and a philanthropist per excellence, to initiate and instill in the rising generation of Imo State the need for respect and honor for the retirees and senior citizens of Imo State and Nigeria as a whole. Let the culture be inculcated in the school children from the nursery to the tertiary institutions.

e) Let CGC have nothing to do with payment of pensions. The state government can verify the community of origin of the senior citizen from the CGC and nothing more. A mobile internal revenue staff can visit the community on appointed dates to issue cheques on sealed envelopes to pensioners so old to reach pay points in Owerri, while stronger ones can draw theirs from their banks on receiving alert Or in alternative the governor can appoint credible retired officers to handle the affairs of Senior Citizens in every Community Government Council.

From the onset of the address, Prince Emekaraoha made it clear that his maiden address to the plenary session of the Council was an out-bust of the energetic and unflagging spirit with which he had determined to embrace the responsibilities inherent in the office of a Metropolitan Grand Knight.

He commended the Council for the overwhelming support, love and solidarity expressed in their land-sliding majority vote for him during the election describing it as irresistible force towards more work and excellent performance.

Said he: “I promise I will not fail you. I will not fail my Metropolitan Council. It is my determination to return Owerri Metro to its traditional position as number one Metro Council in Nigeria. But I cannot achieve this feat alone. It requires concerted effort of all of us. I graciously solicit your devoted co-operation in areas of discipline, indebtedness and unity of purpose and love for one another”.

Our Associate Editor, Emeka Ani later interviewed the MGK on his background.  Excerpts:

Prince Eugene Ogam Ngozidirim Emeakaroha was born on the 12th March 1944 at Amakohia Ihitte in Ihitte/Uboma Local Government Area of Imo State.  He attended St. Joseph’s Catholic School Ihitte where in December 1959; he made a “Distinction” in his Standard Six examination result.  He proceeded to Holy Ghost College Umuahia where he equally demonstrated excellent academic records in the Teachers’ Grade Two Certificate Examination results, which merited him admission into the then prestigious Alvan Ikoku College of Education Owerri in 1976.  He came out from Alvan with the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) in History/Igbo Language and Culture at a ‘Distinction’ Level.  Then in 1980he gained admission into the University of Nigeria Nsukka where he obtained a Bachelor Degree (B.A. Hons.) in History and Education in 1982.

Prince Emeakaroha taught in various primary and secondary schools in the state before serving in both the Secondary and Primary Education Boards Owerri, Imo State in various capacities, from December 1983 – January 2000.  For example, he served as State Supervisor of Schools, Director of Personnel State Primary Education Board, Owerri and Director of School Services Primary Education Board Owerri.

In January 2000, Prince E.O.N. Emeakaroha retired honourably from the public service of Imo State after 35 years meritorious service with full benefits.  He is now a pensioner.

In 1988, Prince Emeakaroha was initiated into the knighthood of the Order of St. Mulumba.  In 2000, he was elected the Grand Knight of Madonna Sub-Council Ihitte and later Deputy Metropolitan Grand Knight (DMGK) of the Order, a position he held till February 2013 when he clinched the post of MGK.

Prince E.O.N. Emeakaraoha married Lady Juliana Emekaraoha, a nurse in 1969 and the marriage is blessed with nine children, one of them a Reverend Father.

Since 1999, Emeakaroha and his children, with the help of their Austrian family friends have made remarkable achievements, that have touched the lives of his people in no small measure including building homes for widows and donation of an ultra-modern hospital to the Catholic Diocese of Owerri, provision of free medicare, free eye glasses, free water borehole to the community, scholarship to hundreds of children of the poor and providing them with 300 bicycles to enable them attend school on time, etc.

Chief Emeakaroha has received several awards and honours both from the church and society, the latest being “NUJ Legacy Award” conferred on him on Saturday, April 20, 2013 by the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Imo State Council in recognition of his outstanding qualities and philanthropic gestures.

EVENTS

Covid-19 robs 2020 Owerri Archdiocesan Day/Odenigbo lecture of usual festivities

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2020 Odenigbo with Archbishop Obinna

…Half a loaf better than no bread at all – Archbishop Obinna

By Emeka Ani

The usual pomp and pageantry that characterize the Owerri Archdiocesan Day/Odenigbo lecture did not feature this year due to Covid-19 pandemic, thus leading to a low-key celebration.

Not only that the usual lecture did not hold, the “Odenigbo Eve,” which usually involves a variety of cultural entertainment, including dances, drama, singing and wrestling contests did not feature at all; Covid-19 emebiela ihe!

But according to Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, Catholic Archbishop of Owerri and founder, Odenigbo lecture series, who filled the gap created by the absence of this year’s lecture, “kama ehi mmadu ga-agbafucha, o ka mma igbubiri ya odu”. (It is better to accept less than one wants or expects than to have nothing at all.)

The Owerri Archdiocesan Day is an annual celebration to commemorate the 1994 elevation of the Catholic Diocese of Owerri to an Archdiocese. The celebration began in 1996.
According to Archbishop Obinna, the “arch-ness bestowed on the diocese was an invitation challenge to root the gospel of salvation deep into our lives and culture, to purify, rectify and sanctify every part of our culture, to reject what is evil, harmful and inhuman therein.”

This year, the Archdiocesan Day, which was held on Saturday September 5, began with a thanksgiving Mass as usual at Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri. It was presided over by Most Rev. Anthony Obinna assisted by the Catholic Bishop of Aba, Most Rev. Augustine Echema and the Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Moses Chikwe, Episcopal Vicars and several priests.

The Cathedral, unlike in the past was half-filled following directives by the Archdiocese that only those invited would be admitted to ensure compliance with the Covid-19 protocols, especially physical distancing.

In his homily at the Mass, Bishop Echema described Owerri as a special Archdiocese that produced two bishops in one year; a reference to the appointment of Bishop Chikwe and himself in 2019.

Commending Archbishop Obinna for establishing Odenigbo lecture series, Bishop Echema highlighted the importance of native language, saying there is correlation between language and culture.

Bishop Echema emphasized the importance of native language in evangelization and advised ndigbo to take Igbo Language seriously, speak Igbo, write Igbo and dream in Igbo, because “when one dreams in a language, it shows that one understands not only the language but also the culture of the people.”

The thanksgiving Mass was followed by fund-raising for archdiocesan projects especially the building of a new Archdiocesan Secretariat, a minor seminary and a monastery, after which the faithful relocated to the Obiri-Odenigbo for refreshment and a talk in place of the 2020 Odenigbo lecture which was to be delivered by Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu, Papal Nuncio to Trinidad and Tobago. Because of the coronavirus and the total lockdown, the lecturer could not arrive Nigeria for the lecture, titled: Otu Chukwu: Otu Obara, Mbikozi Umu Mmadu. The lecture has now been differed to 2021.

However, in its place and to ensure this year’s Odenigbo is not totally a failure, Archbishop Obinna delivered what he called a “Talk” but eventually became a lecture. He titled it: ODENIGBO: ENYEMAKA PURUICHE N’IJI ASUSU IGBO EZISAZI – ANABATACHA OZIOMA KRISTI.

In the 57-page lecture, which he delivered with the same vigor and vitality as he did in 2000 when he delivered that year’s Odenigbo lecture – “UJUNWA: Anuri Uwa Niile,” Archbishop Obinna, explained that the need to intensify and expand the saving work of Christ among ndigbo and within the Igbo religio-cultural context through Igbo Language gave rise to Odenigbo.

He commended the white missionaries for bringing the Goodnews of salvation to Igboland and elsewhere even though they did not give much attention to the use of Igbo Language in evangelization, apart from the Catechism and other publications like Ndu Dinwenu Anyi.

Archbishop Obinna recalled with nostalgia, a historical event which took place on September 20, 1970 during the Episcopal ordination of Bishop Mark Unegbu at Mt. Carmel Catholic Church, Emekuku.

“That day was unforgettable in the use of Igbo Language and Igbo music and instrument to celebrate Mass. For the first time, since 1885 Gloria in Excelsis Deo (Otito Diri Chineke n’elu kacha elu) was sung in Igbo (instead of Latin) with Igbo instrument amid jubilation.

Describing Christ as Odenigbo, Odenuwa, Amarachi Obinna said, he (Christ) has freed ndigbo from ancient and modern fears, occasioned by traditions and customs that terrorize and hold ndigbo captive.

Concluding the lecture, he observed that the modern darkness we see today is based on stupidity and pride, when some people want to recreate themselves, do whatever they like, without fear of God or man because of greed, modernity, science and technology.

“We had thought that the end of Nigeria-Biafra war will bring peace to the country but unfortunately there is still fear and anxiety in Igboland and Nigeria, people are living in fear, the world is living in fear.”

For man to have peace of mind and live in peace, in a world full of fear, the lecturer said there was need for us to receive the light of Christ and gift of the spirit; take the word of God seriously and live a life of humility, devoid of pride based on academic qualifications, scientific and technological discoveries and material acquisitions.

“These will give way to a life of humility, love and mercy and the beauty of the world created by God will manifest in you and in the society.”

“It is only in the gospel message of Christ – who is Odenuwa and Odenigbo that one can proudly say; “The world is beautiful (Uwa Amaka), he said.

In a vote of thanks, the Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Moses Chikwe said the standing ovation that greeted the Archbishop’s special lecture was a proof that the talk was well delivered and well received, adding that the Archbishop is always at home with Igbo Language.

The takeaway of the lecture, according to Bishop Chikwe, was that Igbo Language is beautiful and its beauty was rooted in Christ, the Odenigbo, who is neither white nor black.
Though Mbem Odenigbo (Odenigbo Anthem) and Ekwe Odenigbo did not feature at the lecture, the cultural dance by the CWO of Our Lady Queen of Peace, Egbeada entertained the audience, thus giving the occasion a semblance of Odenigbo celebration.

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EVENTS

HRH Eze Peter Opara inaugurates cabinet

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HRH Eze Peter Opara  inaugurates cabinet

…As traditional leadership gets boost at Umunumo Ancient Kingdom

By Magnus Ibe

The Traditional leadership of Umunumo Autonomous Community, Ehime Mbano LGA of Imo State received a resounding boost on Sunday August 23, as the cabinet members were formally inaugurated by HRH, Eze Peter Chima Opara (Eze Udo II).

The assemblage of top brass personalities into the cabinet is indicative of robust prospects for the growth and development of the Ancient Autonomous Community.

Inaugurating the members of the Eze-in-Council, the Royal Father charged the inductees to shun personal interest and put the community in the front burner for a rapid transformation and development. He enjoined the cabinet members to be proactive, articulative and dogged about the welfare of the community, employment and empowerment of the youths so that a new chapter is enacted.

According to him, many are called, but few are chosen. He charged them to move the community to the next level by articulating right attitude and formulate policies that will accelerate the development of the community. He cautioned against indolence and insubordination that can retard the unity and development of the community.

HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara with Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu and other priests

HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara with Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu and other priests

In his remarks, the President-General of the Town, Chief Godwin Uwah working in synergy with the royal father advised that the various Town Unions leadership should synergize and work in one page with the cabinet members. Chief Godwin Uwah observed that membership of cabinet is subject to review every four years.

Among the cabinet members comprise Chief Godwin Uwah PG, Sir MCN Asawalam (KSM), Chief Chidi Ogueri, Chief Sir Emmanuel Ibe, Chief Aloka Alexander, Nze H.D. Eze, Mr. Emeto K. Michael, Nze Godwin Amaku, Mr. Columba Ohazurike, Chief Mel Daimeon Osuji (Omereoha), Hon Ononamadu Emeka Joseph, Chief Peter Crown Duru, Chief Romanus Ogueri, Comrade Godwin Ihekwoaba, Nze Romanus Chukwu, Nze Vincent Ukah, Chief E. Evaristus Okafor, Chief S. Okele, Nze Clement Iwueze, Hon Felix Iwuji, Chief S. Obikaonu, Hon Kelechi Iwueze, Mr. Joseph Obi Onyema (Deputy PG), ACP H. Agbiogwu, Chief M.C. Okoro, Nze Nneji Boniface, Nze Charles Nwokoro, Nze Edmund Nwokeke, Chief Joseph Anosike, Chief M. Dingwo, Chief Columbia Isikuma, Chief Oliver Agbaso, Ichie Bernard Nwohiri, Nze Titus Iwunze, Chief Romanus Ijejiobi and all village chairmen constitute members of the enlarged cabinet. HRH Eze P. Alozie, Abunumo I graced the event.

In a vote of thanks, Chief Mel-Daimeon Osuji, promised on behalf of the members of the Eze’s cabinet to live above board like Caesar’s wife. He observed that he was humbled to speak on behalf of the top brass personalities who constitute the Eze-in-Council and also made a personal donation of one million naira.

Centre: HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara (Ezeudo II) with the cabinet  members, Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu & Eze & Ugoeze P.O. Alozie (Ebunumo I)

Centre: HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara (Ezeudo II) with the cabinet
members, Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu & Eze & Ugoeze P.O. Alozie (Ebunumo I)

In his contribution, Hon. Emeka Joseph Ononammadu, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Enugu State, who is also a member of the cabinet made a mouthwatering financial support and others including Sir. M.C.N. Asawalam donated handsomely.

Inducting the new cabinet members, Msgr. Jerry Ofoegbu prayed for God’s guidance and wisdom for the Royal Father and the cabinet members.

He eulogized the royal father for putting God first in his nascent leadership. He admonished the PG and the members of the Eze-in-Council to ensure peace and unity in their various domain. He spoke against injustice, insubordination and manipulative divisive tendencies that will sow seed of discord in the community. He prayed God to bless the royal father with the Wisdom of Solomon.

Msgr. Ofoegbu prayed for longitivity, peace and development of Umunumo Ama-Iri community. He cautioned against sectionalism and maltreatment of widows, orphans and the less privileged in the society.

Traditional cuisine of palm wine, Ugba with stockfish and other local delicacies were served to all and sundry. Eze & Ugoeze Ekwunno, Eze Umuezeala Oguara graced the event amid pomp and pageantry.

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EVENTS

St. Michael’s Choir Umuaro wins singing competition

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St. Michael's Choir Umuaro wins singing competition
By Magnus Ibe

Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu presided over the activities heralding the Silver Jubilee anniversary celebration of Rev. Sr. Mary Ifechukwudere Emeribe which kicked-off at St. Charles Parish Umunumo, Ehime Mbano LGA Saturday August 29, with worship and praises to the glory of God with a singing competition among four parishes.

Msgr. Ofoegbu, the Dean of Ehime Deanery expressed profound gratitude to God for His mercies and goodness culminating in the silver jubilee anniversary celebration of Rev. Sr. Emeribe of Daughters of Mary Mother of Mercy congregation (DMMM) who is billed to mark the 25th year anniversary celebration of her profession in December.

The event was graced by Rev. Frs. Paschal Nwaobasi, Boniface Edomobi, Nnamdi Anyanwu, Andrew Agbiogwu who extolled the Silver Jubilarian for keeping faith and for being involved in the spread of evangelism. He appreciated her niece for commencing her celebration with the singing competition among the parishes in her home Umunumo community.

The competing parish choirs included: St. Charles Parish Choir Umunumo led by David Ohaeri, St. Ignatius Parish Choir Ibeafor Umunumo led by Okorie Damian, St. Michael’s Parish Choir Umuaro-Umunumo headed by Jim Nnorom and St. Theresa’s Parish Choir Umuoma Nzerem led by Fidelis Osuji.

In her remarks prior to the commencement of the competition, Rev. Sr. Emeribe observed that the event marks the beginning of the celebration heralding her profession and consecration in the Lord’s vineyard. According to her, she was motivated by St. Augustine who said that “whoever sings well, prays twice.”

According to her, she started the induction of the four competing parish choirs on March 23, 2020. She posited that she was motivated to help upgrade the choir because most times, “external” choirs were hired to animate Eucharist worship at burials and weddings due to the poor and inferior choir at the locality.

She disclosed that she included St. Theresa’s choir Umuoma Nkerem because she served there for over ten years. She observed that even participating choirs will have a token of appreciation and a certificate of participation. She said the star prize of one hundred thousand naira (N100,000) goes to the eventual winner of the competition in addition to the customized trophy.

According to her, her intentions to help groom a central choir from the whole Umunumo Ama-Iri community and she hopes that the competition will become an annual event.

The team of judges from Abia State led by Nath Nwoko (Rochobath) included, Amarachi Udochika and Obinna Osisiogu.

At the end of the competition, the choir from St. Michael’s Parish Umuaro won the first prize and were given the their prize money after each choir rendered five Christian renditions each.

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