Why the Pope Honoured Obi - Cleric
The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Paulinus Okeke said that the Universal Church through Mr. Peter Obi's local Diocese of Awka decided to honour the former Governor and his Commissioner for Works, Arc. Callistus Ilozumba with the Papal Knighthood of St Sylvester as a gesture of appreciation for the work they did in Anambra State within the eight years he was the Governor. The Bishop said this during Obi's investiture at St Patrick's Cathedral, Awka yesterday.
The Bishop preaching from the theme of yesterday's reading said that God was always willing to use us as His instrument provided we cooperate with Him as Virgin Mary cooperated with him. Citing Obi as one person in the position of power that allowed himself to be used by God for the good of the society, the Prelate said that before him it was as if Anambra State was abandoned to the hands of barbarians, and that with the coming of Obi, things changed for the better and Anambra State had not remained the same thereafter.
The Prelate said that as a Governor that Obi was exemplary in many ways, including those little things that made great difference such as staying at the back when he came late to Church, not using siren and not travelling with many aides and mingling with everybody without always showing the consciousness of one who was in power.
The Bishop who said that Obi was good example on the fact that the relationship between Church and State should be that of mutual benefit and not antagonism, commended his prudence, his sense of propriety as his insistence that things must be done properly as qualities that helped him to succeed and will help anybody desirous of success in Government. “When he was busy safeguarding the money of the State, insisting on prudence, some people called him araldite hand, but today, the beauty of what he did in the State are being appreciated by everybody”, the Bishop Said.
On the fruits of his good governance, the Bishop said that besides having one of the best and functional health care in the country, that Anambra today came first in external examinations such as WAEC and NECO because of the efforts of Peter Obi. Beyond the tangibles, he said Obi also did unmatchable wonders on the Psyche of the people by “restructuring the people's mentality.”
Debunking the news that Papal kinghood is for the rich, the bishop said it was rather an honour for those who have contributed to the Church and the society and a challenge for them to remain agents of change and defenders of justice and the poor.
Comparing Obi to Mandela, and Lin Kuan Yew, he said Obi did for the people of Anambra what those two leaders did to their country- South African and Singapore. “It was under Ngige that Anambra knew that bulldozers could work, it reached its peak during Obi's Government”, the Bishop submitted
The Papal Bull proclaiming the honour was read in the Church in Igbo and English. Pope Francis in the Bull said the honour was granted after the testimony of people that would not be doubted about the good work of Obi to the Church and the society. The Bull grants him all the privileges due to the honour. His Holiness prayed that the honour will inspire those in authority to emulate Obi
Speaking at the event, President Good luck Jonathan who was represented by Sen. Ben Obi said the honour has confirmed that the Federal Government did not make mistake in ensuring that Obi remained part of them in so many ways.
Obi, who thanked all those present, dedicated the award Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor and his wife and all men of goodwill
Speaking to the press after the, Obi called on Nigerians to support President Jonathan
The event was attended by many prominent Nigerians, including the former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Gov. Willie Obiano, Gov. Theodore Orji, Prof ABC Nwosu among many others
The former Gov. of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi (2nd left), and wife, Margaret (1st left) and their children, Amaka (2nd right) and Eloka (1st right), shortly after the investiture of Obi as a Papal Knight at St Patrick's Cathedral, Awka