…As Kalu hosts ‘Nine Lessons and Carols’ in Abuja
•Ex-Abia gov to build Centre for Conflict Resolution at UNN
From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The residence of former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, reverberated with angelic sounds on Sunday, December 3. It was an evening of spiritual rejuvenation, as a group of Christian choristers serenaded guests with soul-lifting Christmas songs.
The event, Nine Lessons and Carols, hosted by the Orji Uzor Kalu Catholic Family Chapel, in association with the Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation, coincided with the new Catholic calendar year, which began with the first Sunday of Advent. The St. Cecilia’s Choir of St. Cyril Catholic Church, Kado-Kuchi, an outstation of Our Lady Queen of Peace, Utako, Abuja, was on hand to make the evening tick.
Dignitaries present at the ceremony included former Senate Leader and chairman, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, and his wife, Amaka; a board member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ambassador Sam Nkire; former national chairman of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Mr. Larry Esin; former acting chief of staff, Abia State, Rev. (Mrs) Jemaimah Ola-Kalu; Kalu’s business partner, Dr. Petr Markvart; and Mr. Obidiegbo Enwezoh, among others.
The programme, which started a few minutes past 5pm with the celebration of Mass, had the Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, as the chief celebrant. He was assisted by the Abuja Catholic Archdiocesan Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Chris Bologo, and Rev. Fr. Michael Okworonkwo. While the first reading was taken by Mrs. Ifunaya Kalu, Dr. Kalu took the second reading.
Delivering the homily, Onaiyekan said the 33 years spent by Jesus Christ, though few, were not just important for Christians but also very important in the history of humanity.
Onaiyekan said it was unbelievable that the people of Israel, who were long prepared for the coming of Jesus Christ, did not believe Jesus when the Messiah eventually came. “Those of us who believe it know that we shouldn’t take it for granted,” Onaiyekan said, adding that “our Muslim brothers have great regard for Jesus as the son of God.”
Focussing on life and the vanity that accompanies life, the former president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) further said anybody making big plans at 70 was a big fool, as that person should at 70 be making plans of rounding off.
The Mass later dovetailed into the essence of the evening, The Nine Lessons and Carols, where the choir took turns to take the readings, accompanied by an array of Christmas songs.
Speaking with Daily Sun, Kalu said the Nine Lessons and Carols was not new, because it was an annual event he had been organising for the past 17 years.
His words: “For the past 17 years, we do carols in our house. In fact, before Christmas, we are going to have the musical group of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, for another round of carols in Igbere. So, these things are part of our contribution to the society to preserve and know God,” Kalu said.
On the political side, Kalu urged Nigerians to be hopeful and be patient with President Muhammadu Buhari.
“He has done a lot, he will still do more. Now that he is enjoying good health, Nigerians will see the man called Buhari,” Kalu added.
The eminent businessman and two-term governor of Abia State also commented on the honourary doctorate degree awarded him the previous day by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He said the honour would help him to do more for the society.
He said: “The University of Nigeria, Nsukka, just honoured me and I am very grateful to the university community.
“In the last two years, I have delivered three lectures at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and I have done a lot for the university. I am very grateful to them and I will still do more. I have just said that I will create a Centre for Conflict Resolution for the young ones to know that it is not good to carry arms. The Centre for Conflict Resolution would be able to educate them not to talk about arms – the militants, the Boko Haram people, the Biafranists and the rest of them. This centre would be run by experts. And with this award, I will do more for humanity.”
Also, Ndoma-Egba said the evening was interesting, adding that such events remind humanity that it is the season of Christmas.
Ndoma-Egba further said the Christmas season is a time of expectation, a time for peace, love and sharing. He urged all Nigerians to imbibe the culture of peace.
“Events like this are to remind us that it is Christmas season, a time of expectation when we expect the birth of our Lord. But it is also a time of sharing and I think the whole essence of this is the spirit of sharing in the spirit of Christmas.
“We are grateful to His Excellency, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, and his wife. It was not just a night of carols. It was preceded by a Mass by the cardinal himself. So, we thank them for the solemnity of the Mass and we thank them also for the night of carols. It has been a most relaxing evening,” Ndoma-Egba said.