…As Comas Emengini becomes best graduating students for the five sets
By Uche Enem
History was made on 12th November, 2018 as Pope John Paul II Major Seminary (PJPS), Okpuno, Awka South LGA, Anambra State, held her maiden convocation of five sets from 2012/ 2013 set to 2016/2017. The ceremony which was a key event and which was well attended had the presence of an Archbishop, three Bishops, Rectors, Formators, Lecturers, Politicians and other dignitaries.
The seminary started in 1997 with one hundred seminarians, four formators and five part-time lecturers and has grown to have hundreds of seminarians, formators and lecturers. The seminary was formerly affiliated to the University of Ibadan through Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu but when the seminary sought its own independence, it became affiliated to Nnamdi Azikwe University. With the efforts of the South Eastern Bishops, the seminary recently got its affiliation to Urbaniana University, Rome in 2017.
In his remarks, the Archbishop of Onitsha Metropolitan, His Grace, Valerian Okeke, spoke on leadership and the role of priests in transforming the world through leadership. He listed preaching, praying and leading as the essential qualities a priest should possess.
His Grace charged them to be ready to sacrifice at all times for the interest of others. 'Leaders change and transform the world and a good leadership attracts good leadership. To be a good leader, you must have knowledge and a sense of service to people. You must inspire and lead with sacrifice by placing the interest of others as a priority'
In his address, the Rector of the PJP Seminary, Rev. Fr. Dr. Benjamin Ewelu, welcomed and thanked all for creating time to come and celebrate the success of the school. He thanked Most. Rev. Valerian Okeke, for making efforts to gain autonomy for the seminary since 2010. In a special way, he thanked the Past Rector, Rev. Fr. Dr. Augustine Oburota who began the application for the affiliation of the Department of Philosophy of Pope John Paul II Major Seminary, Awka to Pontifical Urbaniana University, Rome. He appreciated all the Provincial Bishops for sharing in the psychological worries that went with the five years of waiting for the approval of the affiliation.
He thanked the government of Anambra State beginning from the administration of Chinwoke Mbadinuja, down to Peter Obi and Willie Obiano, for every effort they have made in the school. Also, he thanked Most. Rev. Prof. Godfrey Onah and Bishop Denis Chidi Isizoh for their significant roles played in the seminary. He thanked the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, Most. Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor who is the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Seminary for his immense support to the schoool. His gratitude went to the seminary team both past and present in the likes of Rev. Fr. Dr. Evaristus Ifeanacho, Rev. Fr. Dr. Linus Okika, HOD's, Secretaries, seminarians, priests, friends and well wishers for their esteemed support and concern for the school. He also thanked the past rectors and present rectors of the Eastern Seminaries.
Delivering the convocation lecture, the speaker, Rev. Fr. Felix Akamonye, gave an interdisciplinary topic 'On Just Institutions and Development: Rethinking Globalization in the Context of Justice'. He said that development has always been viewed from the angle of time and explained globalization and development in the context of Justice. He analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of globalization; adding that Nigeria lacked development and that justice was a human construction. He concluded his lecture by calling Nigerians to be aware of the fact that no single institutional arrangement alone can ensure the promotion of authentic justice across all terrains
The HOD of PJPS, Rev. Fr. Dr. John Ekei, gave his remarks, called the results and presented the candidates for the award of the Degree of Bachelor of Philosophy before the Prelate. Award was presented to the best graduating students for the five sets and three candidates that got Summa Cum Laude Probatus or First Class. The following are the best graduating students: Ezeokafor Bartholomew with Magna Cum Laude or Second Class Upper (95.90 ) for 2012/2013 set, Uche Vincent Chidiebere with 96.25 with First Class (96.25) for 2013/2014 set, Idoko Valentine Ifeanyi with Second Class Upper (95.50) for 2014/2015 set, Aniekwe Charles Ekene with Second Class Upper (95.48) for 2015/2016 set, Anyaegbuna Dominic Ekene with First Class (96.73) for 2016/2017 set and Emengini Cosmas Mmaduabuchi (97.13) with First Class and emerged as the best graduating student for 2016/2017 and for the five sets.
The Chief of Staff, Primus Odili, who represented the Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, said that he owes his knowledge and moral lessons to what he learnt from the seminary. He challenged them to meet the expectations of their brother priests and to keep their faith stronger. Recounting his experience in the seminary, he encouraged them to be a turning point and symbols for priests and ex- seminarians. He added that they shouldn't be discouraged because of the way they left the seminary but that they should double up and face reality in a more Christian way.
In his valedictory speech, Cosmas Emengini, who spoke on behalf of other sets praised the school for her high moral attitude and academic greatness. He thanked the Onitsha Provincial Bishops for the opportunity given to them to further their philosophical studies. He thanked the formators both past and present who made it their duty to sacrifice their time and talents for the seminarians. He thanked the lecturers for their time and efforts to the seminarians.
Recounting his experience at the seminary, he thanked the Rector, Fr. Ewelu, for his ability to always communicate especially in times of crises to the students. In a special way, he thanked Fr. Basil Chinedu Achusim, who donated his car in order to raise money for the construction of the Chapel and who also gave out his three months remunerations for the support of the seminary. He appreciated some outstanding and unique students who showed their prominence and greatness in school. He encouraged other students to work hard and pray well in their course of study.
In his closing remarks, the Vice Rector of the Seminary, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Ifeanacho thanked all present at the occasion. He thanked them for their patience and time. He thanked the graduates and wished them well. He said that every activity must be geared towards transformational leadership. He concluded his remarks by using the words of Martin Luther King, 'if you can't fly, then run; if you can't run then walk; if you can't walk, then crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward but moving forward reasonably'
The Archbishop and Bishop present at the event are; Archbishop Okeke, Bishop Denis Isizoh, Bishop Ezeokafor and the Auxiliary Bishop of Enugu, Most. Rev. Ernest Obodo. The choir was exceptional in their rendition and choral presentations which lightened the event.