By Press Unit
It was a day of celebrations, thanksgiving and testimonies on Thursday, as friends, family, well-wishers and colleagues gathered to celebrate Peter Ebere Cardinal Okpaleke, the Catholic Bishop of Ekwulobia Diocese, who was one of the 20 cardinals created by His Holiness, Pope Francis, on August 27, 2022.
The elaborate reception, which was held in Ekwulobia, started with a holy mass held at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, the home parish of Cardinal Okpaleke, the Nigerian Prince of the Universal Church.
While making his address at the event, Valentine Ozigbo, a 2021 Anambra governorship candidate, who served as the Chairman of the occasion, described Cardinal Okpaleke as “an upstanding, exemplary spiritual leader who has continued to uphold high moral, Christian values.”
“I am immensely proud to witness today’s gathering in honour of a worthy servant of the Holy Church. It has been a wonderful experience, and I am excited about what the future holds for Cardinal Okpaleke,” Ozigbo said.
“I celebrate with the Catholic faithful worldwide on this special occasion and congratulate my elder brother, His Eminence, the Bishop of Ekwulobia Diocese, on this elevation of service.
“Cardinal Okpalaeke’s story is a testimony of God’s faithfulness and limitless love. This elevation should serve as an inspiration to others, and I am grateful to the Almighty for granting us the grace to witness this historic day.” Ozigbo, who is the immediate past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, added.
“I am happy, honoured and humbled to be the Chairman of this historic occasion. Today’s event is evidence that only God Almighty can qualify the called and equip them to succeed in their calling,” he added.
Ozigbo, a global Kaizen icon and peace ambassador, expressed gratitude to God, the organisers of the event and the guests who contributed to its success while calling for prayers for Cardinal Okpaleke.
“I thank God for the miracle we are witnessing today, and I cannot qualify the joy I feel today. I am immensely grateful to the planning committee members led by Very Rev Fr ABC Chiegboka.
“I also thank all the dignitaries that took time to be with us, including the revered members of the clergy.
“What is expected of us is to pray that God grants Cardinal Okpaleke the grace to fulfil his promise to do God and the Laity proud,” Ozigbo added.
Ozigbo, who hails from the same village – Amesi in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State – as Cardinal Okpaleke, further surmised that God’s choice of Cardinal Okpaleke was indicative of the changing tides in Nigeria’s polity as regards the 2023 election.
“God’s choice of a small town like Amesi and a young diocese like Ekwulobia is a pointer to a more significant event that will manifest in 2023 with the emergence of His Excellency Peter Obi as the next president of Nigeria,” Ozigbo, who recently joined the Labour Party, declared.
“Evangelism is our number one assignment as Christians on earth, and there is no better evangelism than installing righteous leaders,” the inspirational national political figure added.
Several important guests were in attendance, including over one hundred bishops and members of the clergy, including Most Reverend Lucius Ugorji, Archbishop of Owerri Archdiocese and President of Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Nigeria; His Grace, Archbishop Valerian Maduka Okeke, the Metropolitan of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province; Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Abuja Archdiocese, Archbishop Adewale Martins of Lagos Archdiocese, Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor of Awka Diocese; Bishop Matthew Kukah of Sokoto Diocese; Bishop Solomon Amatu of Okigwe Diocese; Bishop Jonas Benson Okoye of Nnewi Diocese; Bishop Martin Uzoukwu of Minna Diocese, Bishop Charles Hammawa of Jalingo Diocese, Bishop Hilary Dachelem of Bauchi Diocese, Bishop Martin Olorunmolu of Lokoja Diocese, Bishop John Niyiring of Kano Diocese and many more.
Other dignitaries present include the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, His Excellency, Peter Obi, who was represented by Ambassador Oseloka Obaze, a former Anambra governorship candidate; Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State and his deputy, Gilbert Ibezim; the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Professor Placid Njoku; Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, the lawmaker representing Anambra South Senatorial Zone, and Senator Victor Umeh, the Labour Party senatorial candidate for Anambra Central Senatorial Zone; Barrister Obinna Uzor, Labour Party senatorial candidate for Anambra South Senatorial Zone; Chief Andy Azike, Labour Party House of Representatives candidate for Aguata Federal Constituency; Princess Nikky Ugochukwu, Labour Party House of Representatives candidate for Orumba North and South Federal Constituency.
Others are Igwe Raphael Okpalaeke, Igwe Akalabo and brother to the cardinal; Ichie Sunday Ezeobiora, the Chairman of Sunchi Farms; Sir JJ Ezeokafor, the Chairman of Jezco Oil and Gas, Mr. Obinna Ufudo, former President of Transcorp Plc, Dr. ABC Orjiako of Seplat, Chief Ejike Imoka, Cosmos Anigbogu of Cossel Group and Barrister Alex Ejesieme, SAN.
@views exclusive rights: Press Unit, Valentine Ozigbo Campaign Office, September 9, 2022.