Posted by News Express | 10 November 2014 | 5,033 times
Immediate past Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, has been awarded the Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Sylvester, Pope and Marty in appreciation of his good work and personification of sound Christian principles in public service and his fruitful collaboration with the Church. This Order is one of five Orders of Knighthood awarded directly by the Pope as Supreme Pontiff and head of the Catholic Church and as Head of State of the Vatican City.
The award is usually given on the recommendation of the Papal Nuncio or the person’s Diocesan Bishop, in Obi’s case, His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor. It is regarded as a call for greater service to the Church and humanity and is associated with great privileges and dignity.
Though the award was granted by Pope Francis 1 to Mr. Peter Obi on July 31, 2013, he delayed the investiture, preferring that it should be done after he had left office in line with his belief that honours and dignities that are not time-bound are better granted after one leaves office to allow for more objective assessment of the person.
Reacting to the development, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Dr Paulinus Ezeokafor, congratulated Obi and described the award as an honour most deserved. He said that Obi as the governor of Anambra State was able to deliver democracy dividends to the 177 communities in Anambra State and rehabilitated a whole lot of schools and hospitals and even built new ones. He recalled that Obi returned schools to their original owners, the Church, adding that Obi’s foresightedness placed Anambra State where it is today.
Most Rev Dr Ezeokafor stated that the recommendation to the Supreme Pontiff was borne out of Obi’s humble disposition and the great role he played in dislodging people of questionable character from the state, return of school to the Churches and for ensuring that Ndi Anambra remained the pace setters both in education and commerce.
The Catholic Bishop of Nnewi, His Lordship Most Rev Hilary Odili Okeke, in a telephone chat described Obi’s papal knight award as simply “great, awesome and deserving.”
Obi will be honoured together with his Commissioner for Works, Arc. Callistus Ilozumba, with the same award. The Catholic Church, Awka Diocese, has chosen December 21 for the investiture.
•Photo shows Peter Obi (left) greeting Pope Francis I shortly after the canonisation of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II at the Vatican recently.
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