By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
In contrary to the saying that a prophet do not command respect in his town, it was a gathering of cream of priests, religious, industrialists, business moguls, academia, politicians and other dignitaries, as a group of individuals on Sunday, February 10, 2019, celebrated the CEO of Tonimas Group, Chief Sir Anthony Obiagbaoso Enukeme, OON, on his 75th birthday.
The event which was held at White Castle Hotels, Neni, Anaocha L.G.A, Anambra State, had the APGA Candidate for Anaocha II Constituency Seat in the March 2, 2019 House of Assembly Election, Hon Sir Ejike Okechukwu (KSJI), among others, as the organisers.
Born 75 years ago on January 22, Chief Enukeme, who is also the Onowu of Neni and the 1st Vice Chairman, Awka Diocesan Catholic Pastoral Council, was extolled by many admirers for what they described as his great philanthropic spirit and commitment to common good.
Earlier, when he led in the concelebrated thanksgiving Mass to mark the birthday celebration at the celebrant’s-built St James’ Catholic Church, Neni, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor in his homily, thanked God for the healthy and fulfilled life at 75, which He blessed the celebrant with.
The Catholic prelate noted that the directive by God for man to conquer the world, was evident in the life of Enukeme, who as a philanthropic par excellence, has built and donated church buildings to the community, constructed many roads in his community and had over 11,000 employees in his payroll.
Pointing out that change must be for good, Bishop Ezeokafor extolled Enukeme for the many lives he had positively impacted on. He prayed God to bless him and his family with continuous healthy lives and protection, so as to enable the celebrant continue with his good works for the good of humanity.
The bishop thanked the wife, Iyom Mary Enukeme and the children for their supportive roles which had sustained Chief Enukeme’s philanthropy.
Bishop Ezeokafor, who further based his reflections on the readings of the Sunday, tasked Christians on lasting trust in God, saying that Paul persevered and bore witness to Jesus Christ even more than the twelve apostles, due to his trust in God. He added that Simon Peter agreed to cast his net for fish in the day, after the exhausted night without a catch due to his trust in God.
He charged all on lives dependent on God, saying that successes achieved in one’s life and vocation were due to the goodness and grace of God.
The bishop, who also spoke on credible elections, advised all against vote buying and vote selling, saying that such were sins against God. He stressed the need for the electorate to vote in credible individuals who would make good use of the material resources God blessed the state and the country with, for the wellbeing of the masses and the society.
Solemn Blessings on Chief Enukeme and his family by Bishop Peter Okpaleke; presentation of gifts by the Catholic Diocese of Awka and the Catholic Women’s Organisation (C.W.O), Awka Diocese to the celebrant; cutting of the birthday cake; merriment among others, were highlights of the celebration.
Cutting of the 75th Birthday Celebration cake.
The celebrant, Chief Sir Anthony Enukeme and wife, Iyom Mary Enukeme, accompanied by the children, receive the Awka Diocesan 75th Birthday gifts from the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor (2nd right); the chancellor of the diocese, Rev. Fr. Francis Chidume (1st right) and Bishop Peter Ebere Okpaleke (3rd right).