Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
It was celebration galore recently as the Archbishop Metropolitan and Primate of all Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh visited Abakaliki, Ebonyi State to dedicate various projects meant for the church including the multimillion naira Cathedral of All Saints.
Also dedicated by the Primate were a brand new church (St. John’s Church) and a vicarage built for the Anglican faithful in Imeabor Okaria community by a philanthropist, Dr. Charles Okpalanzekwe; the Diocesan Office Complex and Bethel Mission Hospital built by the diocese.
He also commissioned a 135-metre road that leads to the Cathedral which was constructed by the Ebonyi State Government for the church.
The event was a gathering of ‘who is who’ in Ebonyi State, and beyond, including Governor David Umahi and wife, Rachael; his deputy, Kelechi Igwe and wife, Nnenna; Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Francis Nwifuru, and members of the state legislature.
Also in attendance were a former Governor of the state who is represents Ebonyi North Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Sam Egwu represented by his wife, Eunice; the National Vice Chairman (South East) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Austin Umahi; state Chairman of the party, Onyekachi Nwebonyi; local government chairmen, commissioners, and other top government officials.
An array of bishops and other clerics of various ranking numbering over 20 including the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Most Reverend Emmanuel Chukwuma; and Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese, Rt. Rev. Monday Nkwoagu assisted the prelate to dedicate the projects.
Also in the roll call were community leaders and traditional rulers such as Igwe Kenneth Orizu III, the monarch of Nnewi Kingdom in Anambra State.
Shortly after the reception ceremonies, the Prelate settled down for the business of his visit. First in the itinerary prepared for him was the dedication of a one-storey office block of the diocese which he consecrated, before moving to Imeabor Okaria community in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State where he dedicated a brand new church and a vicarage built for the Anglican faithful in the area by a university lecturer, Dr Charles Okpalanzekwe, who hails from Anambra State.
Done with that, Okoh proceeded to Nsukka Street in Abakaliki where he dedicated a multimillion naira hospital which has virtually all the sections including ophthalmology, paediatric, and accident and emergency, built by the Diocese.
It was on the day two proper, being Sunday, that the Prelate dedicated the multimillion naira Cathedral of All Saints to the jubilation of the excited Christian faithful.
Delivering his sermon, Most Rev. Okoh, admonished Christians to always devote their resources to the service of God instead of wasting them on mundane ventures that attract only self-glory.
He, however, commended the governor for his developmental strides in the state and contributions to the cathedral even as he blessed Okpalanzekwe for building a brand new church for God.
Speaking to newsmen on the side-line, the Prelate called on government at all levels and the various security agencies to sit up on their responsibilities and ensure adequate security of lives and properties of Nigerians.
Governor Umahi commended Archbishop Okoh, and all Anglican clerics for their key role in ensuring peace in the country. He said that his administration was committed to delivering dividends of democracy to the people of the state, assuring that he would not rest until he satisfactorily developed the state.
Earlier in his remarks, the church donor, Okpalanzekwe, who is the Head, Department of Production Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, said that it had always been his desire to build a church for God.
His wife, Dr Chinwe, said that she supported her spouse because he had a covenant with God which motivated him to embark on the project.