President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governor of Imo State, Sen. Hope Uzodimma have poured encomia on the Anglican Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province cum Bishop of Okigwe South Diocese, Most Rev. David Ikechukwu Chikezie Onuoha, on his emergence as the 21st indigenous President of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN).
Buhari and Uzodimma did on Sunday at the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord (CATOL), Owerri during the formal presentation and dedication of other national officers of CCN.
In a letter of commendation and congratulation to Archbishop Onuoha by Buhari which was read by Governor Uzodimma, the President also said he has no doubt the top clergy will live up to expectations and demands of his office, going by his track records.
President Buhari prayed that Archbishop Onuoha’s vision regarding the growth and development of the Church, as well as his tenure, will be successful.
The President had written that he believes that “the long years of service and experience in the Christendom, coupled with your spiritual flavour and sound theological training, passion for ecumenical unity and inter faith dialogue have rightly prepared you for the task ahead.”
Buhari thanked the Archbishop for his unfailing devotion to the unity and prosperity of a united Nigeria and for constantly interceding for those in authority.
In his sermon at the Church Service, the Archbishop had preached and emphasised on the unity and peace of Nigeria.
He maintained that there is unity in strength, hence the faithful must work together to ensure Nigeria’s unity, noting that “no religion can do it alone.”
Archbishop Onuoha who drew his lessons from the Book of John, Chapter 17 also admonished the faithful to pray for God’s strength, and for God to let His peace reign in their lives and Nation.
Earlier when the Archbishop and his team paid a courtesy call on the Governor to intimate him of the CCN Conference taking place in Owerri, Governor Uzodimma reminded them that partnership with the Church is inevitable if the people must be served better.
He welcomed them to Imo State for the Conference and congratulated Archbishop Onuoha and the entire Christian Council for the choice of Owerri for the meeting and also, for coming together to organise the Conference.
Governor Uzodimma who described Archbishop Onuoha as “one of our best brightest,” reiterated that “there is no difference between the Government and the Church,” noting that “the functions of the Church and that of Government go paripassu.”
“As a matter of fact, there is need for partnership between the Church and government because both government schools and mission schools go together.”
The Governor told the CCN leadership that his administration had already constituted a committee on education charged with the responsibility of harmonising both the mission and government schools.
The Governor reminded his guests that he is an Ecumenist, “because God does not discriminate. God is Omnipresence, who gave man life free of charge.God does not make mistakes.”
He assured them that he will continue to work with the clergy and support the Church. “Every Church that is indeed a Church, because it is not about your denomination but about being sensitive to your environment.’’
Archbishop Onuoha told the Governor that their visit was in keeping with the tradition of respecting the leaders and to inform him that they are in his State.
He informed the Governor that they have been meeting on the theme: The Presence of God – “because where there is the presence of God what seems impossible becomes possible.”
He described the Governor as “a lover of God, exemplified in the way he relates with the people of God and all denominations.”
Archbishop Onuoha who said he did not have any iota of doubt about the relationship Governor Uzodimma shares with all faiths in the country proudly told his colleagues that, “My Governor is an Ecumenist.’’
He reminded them: “For 12 years no Pilgrim from Imo State had visited the Holy land. But just on April 28, 2023, the first batch of 300 pilgrims out of the 1000 pilgrims sponsored by the Governor were airlifted to the Holy land of Israel.
“The Governor, by doing that has opened the God’s window to Imo people and Imo State, as the prayers of the pilgrims will bring progress, peace and blessings to the State.”
However, he made a request that: ‘’it is time to fight insecurity through education.”
According to him, “Government at the end of the war took over schools they could not manage,” and pleaded with the Governor “to work out a plan of partnership with the Church in rebuilding our schools and restoring morals.”
The top clergy emphasised that “the major cause of insecurity is as a result of lack of morals among our youths,” and appealed to the Governor to, at their comity of States meeting, help to speak for the protection of Christianity. ‘’Christianity is facing an existential threat in Nigeria, so that Christianity does not go into extinction.’’
Present at the courtesy call were the Chief of Staff, Bar Nnamdi Anyaehie, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. COC Akaolisa, Hon.Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Emelumba among others.
The Church Service where Archbishop Onuoha was presented as CCN 21st indigenous President and the others dedicated to God, was attended by the top echelon of the faiths that make up the CCN, including the Primate of the All Nigeria (Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion), His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Henry Ndukuba.
The Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Emeka Nduka, the Secretary to the Imo State Government, Chief Cosmos Iwu, the Chairman of the Board of Benjamin Uwajimogu College of Education, HRH, Eze Oliver Ohanwe, among other top government officials attended the ceremony.
Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to the Governor