Religious and political leaders on Thursday paid glowing tribute to the former Dean, Church of Nigeria, Archbishop of the defunct Province Two, late Most Rev. Maxwell Anikwenwa during his funeral service at St. Faith Cathedral Church, Awka, Anambra State.
The Primate of Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, Presidential Candidate of Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, Governor Chukwuma Soludo and several others described the deceased as a true servant of God, saying he would be greatly missed by the church and the nation.
The Primate described Anikwenwa as a selfless patriarch, master builder and pioneer Bishop of the diocese who laid solid foundation for his successors.
He said, “Archbishop Anikwenwa loved God and His people. He lived life of sacrifice and servanthood. He cherished Church Missionary Society (CMS) and Anglican heritage.
“He gave specific instructions on how and where he’ll be buried in line with the church doctrine.
“He was a good team player, invested in people and left indelible legacies. As a good soldier that fought till the end, he’s looking forward for the eternal reward, incorruptible crown.”
While sympathizing with the family which he described as q special to God, Ndukuba prayed God to watch over them give them as well as grant them fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
He also appreciated Anikwenwa’s successor, Archbishop Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger and Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Reverend Alexander Ibezim for taking up the challenge of ensuring the deceased was given a beffiting burial.
Also speaking, Mr. Peter Obi said the deceased would be remembered for his commitment in advocating for a better Nigeria, good governance and selfless service.
“He was not only a man of God but a great Nigerian who contributed meaningfully beyond his pastoral work of building Nigeria.
“If you know him well, he’s involved in advocating for a better Nigeria, good governance and everything. I even expected much more than what is happening today.
While underscoring the place of sacrifice among public service holders, Obi said it was regrettable that today’s leaders only one preach sacrifice without sacrificing themselves.
He said, “The present Nigeria requires that all those who serve and lead must do so by example.
“The behavior, character and public conduct must be in consonance with what society requires today. We can’t continue to preach for people to sacrifice without sacrificing.
“The sacrifice must start from the leaders, visibly, measurably because the people are suffering and we must now be at the forefront of the suffering.”
On his part, Governor Soludo said the life of the deceased reflected ecumenism which his administration stands for, urging other ministers of God to emulate such lifestyle for peaceful society.
Soludo who spoke through his deputy, Dr. Onyekachi Ibezim commiserated with the deceased family, encouraging them to take solace in the fact that their late father lived a good life and served God and humanity well.
Earlier, Archbishop Ibezim noted that late prelate left indelible legacies in Anglican communion and the larger society, which would remain relevant in generations to come.
Earlier in his sermon, Anglican Bishop of Ikwerre, Niger Delta Province, Rt Revd Blessing Enyindah, urged Christians to examine the life they live, noting that they could not afford to live their lives anyhow and against the will of God especially in the present perilous times.