By Mmaduabuchi Onwumelu
His Lordship Most Reverend Denis Chidi Isizoh, has been installed as the substantive Bishop of the newly created Aguleri Diocese. Isizoh was before now the Auxiliary Bishop of Onitsha Archdiocese.
Isizoh was officially installed as the Chief Shepherd cum local ordinary of Aguleri Diocese on Friday, 17 March 2023, even as the diocese was canonically erected same day.
Çongratulating the newly installed bishop and the entire faithful of Aguleri Diocese, His Lordship, Most Reverend Paulinus Ezeokafor, of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, described Bishop Isizoh as an experienced hand who had learnt a lot as the Auxiliary Bishop of Onitsha Archdiocese, noting that his wealth of experience would be a big plus to the newly created Aguleri Diocese.
He urged him to carry everyone along, especially his priests, religious and laity. He prayed God to imbue him with enormous wisdom and understanding to enable him to carry on with his pastoral functions, adding that he (Isizoh) had made his mark and that he would excel in his new position.
The Chief Shepherd of Awka Diocese while çongratulating Bishop Isizoh, appreciated His Grace, Most Reverend Valerian Okeke, the Archbishop of Onitsha Archdiocese and the Metropolitan of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province for the opportunity given to Bishop Isizoh to prove his mettle as an Auxiliary Bishop under his supervision.
The epoch making event attracted the presence of the Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, His Grace Most Rev Antonio Guido Filipazzi; three cardinals, Including Francis Cardinal Arinze; Peter Cardinal Okpaleke; forty bishops; over five hundred priests; dozens of the religious; and thousands of faithful, other guests.
Special dignitaries in attendance included the governor of Anambra State, Prof Chukwuma Soludo; Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi; Senator-elect for Anambra Central Senatorial District, Victor Umeh; senator-elect for Anambra North Senatorial District, Tony Nwoye, among others.
Speaking shortly after his installation, Bishop Isizoh thanked the Papal nuncio, Archbishop Filipazzi; Francis Cardinal Arinze; brother bishops and other dignitaries, for gracing the event. In a special way, he extolled the Archbishop of Onitsha, His Grace, Most Rev Valerian Okeke, testifying that the eight years they worked together were very smooth and interesting.
He also expressed appreciation to Governor Soludo for marking one year in office, describing him as a committed governor who was doing his best to move the state to the next level.
Bishop Isizoh also commended Mr Obi for his presence at the event, positing that Obi’s exploits in the recent presidential election had changed a lot of narratives in the country in respect of electioneering and had taught Nigerians how elections could be handled well for the greater good of the country.
Demonstrating his readiness to kick off the new diocese and move it forward, Bishop Isizoh made his first appointments which saw Msgr Nicholas Akwanya as the Vicar General; Fr Innocent Egbunike as the Chancellor of the Diocese, while the post of Financial Administrator was given to Fr Paul Ekwealor
Stressing the urgent need to start up a seminary named New St Paul’s Seminary, the prelate appointed Fr Hilary Nweke as the Rector.
Governor Soludo who spoke at the event, felicitated the new Bishop, describing his installation and erection of the diocese which coincided with the anniversary of his one year in office as unprecedented blessings to Anambra State.