By Silver Ndukire and Chimezie Ibedu
When the Bible said the labourer deserves his wage in Matthew 10:10, by no means did it occur to Catechist Charles Nwuba that his own reward will come in the form of a beautiful car gift in the Lord’s vineyard. His surprise was in fact boundless when on Sunday, June 23, 2019, the priests and parishioners of St Gabriel’s Parish Okpuno handed him the vehicle documents and keys to a ‘clean’ Toyota Camry LE.
A native of Umuodu Village Okpuno, Mr Nwuba has been discharging his duties, shuttling daily between his home and the parish centre in Nodu Okpuno on his motorcycle until July 2018 when the ban on use of motorcycles by the Government of Anambra State in Awka and environs came into force. From then on, transportation has been pretty difficult for the hardworking catechist, preventing him from attending daily morning masses. This did not however escape the notice of Fr Anthony Nwafor the parish priest, with whom he has worked harmoniously for about six years. Fr Cardinal as he is fondly called, supported by his vicar Fr Fidelis Izuakor rallied the Parish Pastoral Council and good-spirited parishioners for the task of providing a car for the catechist. Their plans materialized on that fateful Sunday, immediately after the 9am Mass, when Sir Walter Umeukeje (KSM) 1st Vice-chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council, presented the documents and car keys to an overwhelmed Charles Nwuba in a brief ceremony in the presence of an ever-smiling Fr Nwafor, his vicar Fr Fidelis, Fr Cyril Ezeani of Fides Communications Okpuno who blessed the car and a large gathering of the faithful.
Commissioned in 2006 as a catechist in the Catholic Diocese of Awka, Mr Nwuba has been functioning in that role since 2004 when he relocated from Maiduguri Diocese where he was an active Catholic in St Joseph’s Parish Gashua. Father of the first Reverend Sister of Okpuno origin, Mr Nwuba makes history again as the first catechist in Awka Diocese and perhaps Onitsha province to be presented a car gift by a parish. As explained by Fr Nwafor, also known as the Moving Bible the among parishioners, the car was given personally to Mr Nwuba for keeps to facilitate his work and as such was not a parish car.
Moved to tears of joy, Catechist Nwuba warmly embraced Fr Nwafor in appreciation for this kind gesture and prayed God to bless the priest, his vicar, the council members and all who played a role in making him a proud car-owner. Many parishioners who spoke to Fides were very happy for the catechist whom they described as friendly, hardworking and focused. They equally praised Fr Nwafor for being a caring pastor whom they will miss greatly any day he is transferred from Okpuno.