. . . Primate Arrives Anambra Saturday, to Dedicate Admin building
By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
The Primate, All Nigeria and Archbishop of Metropolitan Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, will this Saturday at the Cathedral dedicate the ultra-modern Administrative building of the Anglican Diocese of Amichi presided over by Bishop Ephraim Ikeakor.
Okoh is in the state for the 10th Episcopal consecration of Bishop Ephraim Ikeakor and inauguration of diocese of Amichi. A number of activities have been lined up to usher in the 10-Year Anniversary with a church service on Sunday, 13th January, 2019.
The administrative building has a befitting secretariat for the diocese with ultra-modern equipment, a women's Bethany House for taking care of challenges of women and youths and a business complex.
Briefing newsmen on his 10th year consecration anniversary at the Cathedral Church of St Andrews, Amichi, during a world press conference, Bishop Ikeakor who said the diocese was the 144th in the Province of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, attributed all the glory in the feat, the diocese had recorded to God alone.
The Archbishop of Metropolitan and Primate of all Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev Nicolas Okoh, will on Saturday, January 12, lead other bishops and clergy to dedicate the ultra-modern diocesan Secretariat at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Amichi in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
He said he focused on four areas in championing evangelical development to the diocese which included quality education, agriculture, pragmatic social welfare services and robust healthcare, all which he had attained to a greater percentage in the last ten years.
The Anglican Bishop of Amichi, while enumerating the programmes the diocese had introduced to improve on the spirituality of the congregation, including prophets' prayer breakfast, wailing women, first born's night, kneeling in His presence, night of evidence, media evangelism, covenant Sunday, among others, said the schools in the diocese at all levels would compete with any school anywhere in Nigeria academically, infrastructurally and otherwise.
Bishop Ikeakor said their schools, including Holy Child Convent for girls, Master's Vessel Seminary for boys and the College of Nursing Sciences, comprising School of Nursing, School of Midwifery and School of Public Health awarding HND, among others, had zero tolerance for examination malpractice, adding that anyone caught, whether a staff or student, would be rusticated from the scene of incident.
He said the diocese had established a Sure Anchor Microfinance Bank to fill a vacuum of no commercial bank in the community; table water manufacturing industry producing Sure Anchor table water; Diocesan Integrated Farm at Utuh; Diocesan Media Center; Amichi Diocesan Social Service Scheme registered with CAC and Amichi Diocesan Hospital with ultra-modern equipment.
He said over 200 staff earning good salaries were in the employ of the diocese and called for true repentance by the people of the diocese in order to be elevated by God as there was no gain in hypocrisy. This was even as he frowned at unrighteousness, mediocrity and laziness.
The Anglican Bishop of Amichi Diocese, also commended the Anglican faithful and clergy of Amichi Diocese for their support and prayers in realization of his dreams of preaching the gospel, especially in the key areas of infrastructural development that mainly empowered the people of the area.
Bishop Ikeakor expressed gratitude to God for the realization of all they planned to do. He thanked all the parishioners who fought for the creation of the diocese and ensured its continued growth.
'If they did not work passionately, we wouldn't have been where we are today. We said during the first session of our maiden Synod at St Stephen's Church in Osumenyi, as contained in our vision and mission statement, that we would build a diocese where God would be sincerely honoured. We also said that we were going to preach the gospel holistically and propagate the evangelism in four dimensions, namely; quality education, robust healthcare provision, agriculture, and through pragmatic social welfare services and by God's grace, we have not done all, but looking back, we can lift up our hands and say, ''thank you Jesus''.
'On spirituality, we started some key programmes in the diocese that included the popular prayer breakfast, wailing women prayer summit for the women, the first born search, kneeling in his presence for the women, covenant Sunday, night of evidence and we update our pastors and clergy from time to time through retreats and seminars.
We also embarked on radio evangelism which we call, 'in touch with God' radio broadcast. The feedback we get shows that the impact is so wonderful.
'On infrastructural development, nothing was virtually on ground when this diocese was created. The only institution we had when we came in was Holy Child Convent and it was in a very sorry state. The classroom building was plastered without windows, doors; no single facility on ground for effective teaching and learning, but because we said we would preach the gospel through education, the first thing we did was to invest all we had to fix the Holy Child Convent to compete with any school anywhere in this country. The school is today one of the prides of my episcopacy and that of this diocese.
'On the boys, I took the challenge of building for them a seminary. It started like a dream; we conceived it, prayed about it, and named it Master's Vessel Seminary. We started the building. But today, without being boastful, all to the Glory of God, that school seems to be the only school with very good structure in the East of the Niger. Master's Vessel Seminary is one of the schools I can raise my hand any day and ask anybody to come let us compete in terms of infrastructure and quality teachers and teaching.
'We have renovated almost all the schools handed over to us by the government enviably. We have fenced them, mounted the gates, and put everything in order so that our students and pupils would be safe in the schools.
'On healthcare, we discovered that there was no College of Health Science in the whole east of the Niger. We procured vehicles, laboratory, equipment, lecturers and all that. It was a very big hospital that engulfed nearly N1.5 billion. When the National Council of Nurses and Midwifery came and saw the magnificent building we put in place, they told us to build another two storey hostel building although we already had two on ground, with a massive administrative structure, classroom, principal and lecturers' houses and so on.
'After inspecting the facilities, they went to Abuja and approved our school of nursing and as well, upgraded the School of Nursing to a College of Nursing Sciences being headed now by a provost.
'We also looked around here and discovered there was no commercial micro finance bank in this area. We ventured into the banking sector and today, we have a standard Sure Anchor Micro Finance Bank. We also ventured into table water production and today, we have license from NAFDAC to produce both table and sachet water. We now have a functional water factory and Amichi Diocesan Media Centre.
'In the area of agriculture, we also have Diocesan Integrated Farm at Utu where we have piggery section, poultry and fishery. All these were geared towards solving the unemployment problems of this country and empowering the diocese financially. The diocese has also bought many parcels of land.
'In the area of social services, we have what is called Amichi Diocese Social Services (ADAS). Under this welfare, we have one of the best scholarships for young people starting from primary to secondary and tertiary institutions and we also use our position to secure admissions for our youths, especially those who come from very poor families. We also pay hospital bills to indigent ones and build houses for some widows and indigent families irrespective of denominations.
'We usually do palliative road network. We did Amichi-Okigwe-Nnewi Federal High way to make this place passable. We do this to make sure we are not cut off from other parts of this country. We have been doing that for over five years now from our meagre resources. It is not part of our responsibility to build roads but we are doing that as part of our corporate social responsibility and to be useful to our society,' Ikeakor noted.