…as Bishop Ezeokafor thanks God for giving him grace, strength and wisdom to pilot affairs of the Diocese for the past 15 years
No fewer than 17 Bishops and Archbishops, over 200 priests and reverend sisters as well as politicians and government functionaries were among dignatories that attended the 70th birthday anniversary of Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor.
The celebration, chaired by an Umuawulu born philanthropist, and founder, Ide Global foundation, Chief Azubuike Ekweozor was also attended by family members, friends and well wishers.
In a homily, Bishop of Ekwulobia Diocese, Peter Cardinal Okpaleke who traced the life of Bishop Ezeokafor as a priest, described him as a father to all and a true definition of what a priest should be.
He said the Bishop does not descriminate, as he accommodates all and sundry, praying God to continue to bless him with long life and good health.
Speaking on behalf of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Secretary of the body, and Bishop of Urom Diocese, Most Rev Donatus Kogun said the conference rejoiced with him for attaining 70 years of age.
He described Ezeokafor’s contributions to the conference as enormous, praying God to give him the grace to continue to work for him.
Minister of State for Science and Technology, Mr Henry Ikoh said bishop Ezeokafor’s prayers and contribution to the development of the nation has gone unnoticed, urging him not to relent in his strive to make Nigeria better.
Speaking at a reception organised in honour of the Prelate, Chairman of the occasion, Chief Azubuike Ekweozor expressed appreciation to the Bishop for the privilege to be chosen to chair the event.
He said, Many were called but few were chosen. It’s indeed an honor that among all, I was chosen to chair the auspicious event. Although I was not surprised, because I’ve been used to such thing.
“I’m happy we’re celebrating the Bishop alive today, because it’s better to celebrate one while he’s living than when he’s dead. It’s not a must it will be celebrated big. Nothing is too much to spend on the bishop who has been representing us well.
“He himself had testified that since he’s born and grew up, he has not been to the hospital, but has been strong and serving God with all his strength. Little wonder the grace of God upon his life.
“I pray God who determines when one dies, will continue to grant him long life and good health so that people can continue to learn from his wealth of knowledge and experience.”
Responding, Bishop Ezeokafor thanked God for giving him grace, strength and wisdom to pilot affairs of the Diocese for the past 15 years, saying he had not slept in the hospital all the years.
He appreciated all who contributed to make the event memorable, praying God to reward them bountifully.
A younger brother to bishop Ezeokafor, Mr Ezeokafor said although it was not easy for the family to allow him, being the first son to go into priesthood, but they did not regret such decision after all.
“It was very difficult at the early stage to allow a first son to be a priest since it was a problem then; but we are happy that God is touching many lives through him today,” he said.
Among government functionaries at the event were member representing Awka South one at the state House of Assembly, Hon. Chuma Okoye, member representing Njikoka two constituency Hon. Pete Ibida, Attorney General and General and commissioner for Justice, Mrs Ifemeje, Head of Service, Mrs Okwy Igwegbe.
Others were Commissioner for Health, Dr Afam Obidike, Commissioner for Science and Technology, Chief Tony Ifeanya, Commissioner for Budget, Ms Chiamaka Nnake, Commissioner for Housing, Hon. Paully Onyeka.
The event featured cutting of anniversary cake, welcome song masquerade dance and traditional dance as well as presentation of gifts to the bishop. Bishop