CELEBRATING A LIFE OF GRACE AND GLAMOUR AS THE ARCHBISHOP OF THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION ORLU DIOCESE, HIS GRACE, THE MOST REVE’D BENNETT C.I. OKORO PHD RETIRES ADMINISTRATIVELY:
- Njoku Macdonald Obinna
Owerri , Imo State .
It was an evening of panache, conviviality and hymns in a very serene and exquisite atmosphere ; the popular premier Imo Concorde Hotel , Owerri ;
as a select well groomed organisers of the Retirement Dinner of the Archbishop of the Anglican Communion Orlu Diocese, His Grace,
the Most Reve’d Bennett C.I. Okoro , PhD, JP, threw caution to the wind as they spent so lavishly in celebrating the administrative home -coming of a man of honour and grace;
a shepherd of God’s flocks ; a soul winner ; a catalyst for spiritual upliftment; a conclave of religious ideas and summit ; an insightful and inspiring Bible teacher; a scholar par excellence ; role model , spiritual director and father -figure to
thousands of Christians both in the Anglican Communion and across other denominations, tongues and faith ; who look up to him for spiritual direction , counsel and leadership .
Graciously , after attaining the compulsory retirement age of 70 years and having faithfully served in the vineyard of the
Lord for over four -decades as an ordained clergy , one can confidently say without being guilty of sounding immodest that ; ” It’s indeed a moment of reflection , reminiscence, merrymaking and thanksgiving to the Almighty God as the celebrant , Archbishop Bennett C.I. Okoro, PhD , JP, together with his family members , friends , well wishers and numerous lay faithful joyfully offered thanks to God for the enablement and grace in the last 40 years in His vineyard .
However, luxury , classy , elegancy and style, best described the Sam Mbakwe Hall; venue of the colorful retirement dinner as the galaxy of personalities and A- list guests that attended the watershed event included but not limited to the Imo State governor , His Excellency Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, CON, KSC, alongside his retinue of mesmerized entourage , members of the ivory tower, congregation of clergy, the business class, top government functionaries and a number of lmo leaders as well as the political actors
The spotted invited guests who were being interviewed by 4thestatereporters.com , took turns to eulogize the charismatic leadership of His Grace , the Most Reve’d Bennett C.I. Okoro PhD, seen by many as a respected clergy , bridge -builder, a statesman , strong voice in the gospel of of love, peace , forgiveness and reconciliation as epitomized in his divine calling and ecclesiastical mandate .
The highly organised and successful retirement dinner put up by the Special Adviser to lmo state governor on Political Matter and a Knight in the Anglican Communion order Rt. Hon. Jones Onyereri , KSP , Hon. Sir. Amara Chyna Iwuanyanwu, Dr (Sir.) Success Prosper Ohayagha also had as a member of the Retirement Dinner Committee Ven (Barr) Obum Onyirioha , amongst others .
Exhuming his intellectual and oratory prowess, Chairman of the Retirement Dinner Committee , a thoroughbred Anglican Communion faithful and United Kingdom trained medical doctor , Sir Success Prosper Ohayaha Ksc, did justice to the well written and succinctly captured biography of the celebrant , His Grace , the Most Reve’d Bennett C. I. Okoro, PhD , JP, as he read to the admiration of the guests who gave him raptured audience.
During his remarks , the lmo state governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha CON, KSC , joined the Anglican faithful and the rest of ndi lmo in thanking God over the successful and fruitful service years of Archbishop Bennett Okoro in the vineyard of the Lord. He also maintained that the celebrant is a father to him, family friend and close ally whom he also consulted during his political campaign activities .
The lmo governor, while eulogizing the celebrant for attaining the compulsory retirement age of 70 years however , admired his incredible ordered neatness ; strong religious background, gentle manner , as well as an unfailing courtesy .
Acknowledging the boredom in retirement , Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha also promised to engage the retiring Archbishop of Orlu Diocese whom he confessed made him so proud while serving as the Archbishop of the Anglican Communion , Owerri Ecclesiastical Province.
Reiterating his avowed commitment in rebuilding the collapsed infrastructures in the state while restoring our institutions and resuscitating lmo economy , the governor enjoined all including the church to join hands with him in rewriting the ugly narratives of the previous administration through his well thought out economic blue print as encapsulated in the Rebuild Imo Agenda.
The high point of the event was cutting of the creamy 70th birthday cake of Archbishop Bennett Okoro and the official unveiling of the 31 chapters of 549 pages book by the Imo Commissioner for Public Utility & Safety , Rt. Hon. Chuma Nnaji; a compelling and compendium intellectual master piece of the 25 years of Archbishop Bennett Okoro’s episcopacy in the Anglican Communion .
The somewhat voluminous but easy to read book contains the presidential addresses from the inception of his episcopacy to the last synod , as it also reflects Christian teachings on family , marriage , church and politics .
When called upon by the governor to unveil the book for Archbishop Bennett Okoro PhD, the dynamic , proactive and youth -friendly lawmaker representing Nwangele constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly , Hon. Sir. Amara Chyna Iwuanyanwu bought 27 books at the sum of N500,000.00 as a gift to the 27 House of Assembly colleague -members while Nwangele Interim Management Committee Chairman , Hon. Dr. Okey Onyejiaka bought 11 copies on behalf of the leadership of the council representing the 11 wards in Nwangele LGA at the sum of N250,000.00.
Others who lunched the book included the Traditional Prime Minister of Dim -Na-Nume , Chief Chinedu Ukadike , Prof. Adaobi Victoria Obasi, Hon. Chief Ezekiel Chukwukere (I know this man), amongst other dignitaries in the state .
The epoch making event which many , in attendance , would not be in a hurry to forget , was anchored by Nkwerre born budding master of ceremony , Alvan Onwukwe, with a background support of a radio veteran , Bright Nwaelu.
The celebrant , His Grace , the Most Reve’d Bennett C.I. Okoro, in his note of appreciation , thanked Hon. Sir, Amara Chyna Iwuanyanwu (Mr. Capacity), Dr. Success Prosper Ohayagha and a number of committee members for their show of love and magnanimity while asking the Almighty God to replenish them bountifully in hundred folds .
The Archbishop also gave a special note of appreciation to the lmo state governor who took up all the bills as a state government function as his contribution in the propagation of the gospel of Christ and expansion of his kingdom.
This reporter, Njoku MacDonald Obinna , while compiling the social weekend file of His Grace , the Most Reve’d Bennett C.I. Okoro , PhD , saw a re- enactment of the traditions of strong religious leadership and respect for ordination which was the foundation upon which service to God and early social existence in the Church of the 60s, 70s and 80s were built.
Good a thing , the trio of Rt. Hon. Jones Onyereri, KSP , Hon. Sir, Amara Chyna Iwuanyanwu, KSC and Dr. Sir, Success Prosper Ohayaha, KSC , unanimously organised a retirement dinner for a man who speaks with a cultured low tone , but with an air of authority , of a fearless servant of God , who feels at liberty to reprimand his straying flocks including the political leaders , on the pulpit during his homilies.
Nevertheless, both invited guests and their uninvited friends were treated with lavished buffer and assorted drinks as the Vox Anglicana choir gave soul uplifting renditions to the chagrin of the governor as well as other admirers present in the evening retirement social rendezvous .
Having faithfully served the Church , Archbishop Bennett C.I. Okoro PhD , steps aside as his successor , His Lordship , the Most Reve’d Benjamin Okeke steps in, for the consolidation of his episcopal stewardship and apostolate.
- Njoku MacDonald Obinna
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