By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
An Igboukwu, Aguata L.G.A. –born notable philanthropist and a front line aspirant for Aguata Federal Constituency seat in the 2019 general elections under the umbrella of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Engr. Dom Okafor, KSM, was last Saturday, September 15, installed as Patron of the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Awka Diocese (CLCNAD) by the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Dr Paulinus Ezeokafor.
The honour on Engr. Okafor which was in recognition of his contributions to the growth and development of the Church, as well as humanity, was conferred on him on the occasion of the 2018 Annual Laity Seminar/Worksop of CLCNAD, held at Archbishop Albert K. Obiefuna Retreat, Pastoral and Conference Centre, Okpuno, Awka South L.G.A., Anambra State, from September 14-16, 2018.
Also honoured as Patrons of CLCNAD, in recognition of their contributions to the growth and development of the Church and humanity, were an Akwaeze, Anaocha L.G.A.-born silent philanthropist of repute and the CEO of Keves Global Leasing Limited, Chief Sir Ikenna Okafor, KSS; the chief benefactor of St Joseph's Catholic Church, MaryLand, Amawbia and the Executive Chairman of DumoField Farms Ltd, Dr Ikemefuna Joseph Odumodu, who is a former Director General of Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
Others included Igwe George Ejianya, Okaa-Onwuogu, KSM of Nawgu; Professor Ikechukwu Onyali and Chief Dr Edmund Nnamdi Okafor.
Speaking shortly after his installation, the CEO/ Managing Director of Jocaro Group Nigeria Ltd, Engr. Dim Okafor, thanked the bishop and the Council for finding him worthy of the dignified honour as the patron of CLCNAD. Okafor, who was decorated in the presence of the APGA House of Assembly aspirant for Aguata II Constituency, Comrade Emma Ezeokafor, said he would not let the CLCNAD and the Church down.
Okafor, who said he was vying for the seat of Aguata Federal Constituency to serve in that capacity, promised a quality, service-oriented and responsible representation which the Church and the masses would be proud of, if given the mandate by the grace of God.
Earlier, when he led in the concelebrated Holy Mass for the seminar and installation of patrons, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Dr Paulinus Ezeokafor, in his homily, congratulated the newly installed patrons of the Laity Council and urged them to live up to the demands of their honour, saying that for the fact that the CLCNAD had recognised them as the patrons, meant that they were tested and trusted.
Pointing out that their elevation as patrons was an added responsibility, Bishop Ezeokafor charged them to give the Laity Council the necessary support in terms of advice, finance, presence and encouragement. According to the bishop, the Laity Council which was the umbrella body of all lay groups of the Church, needed support to succeed, because, according to him, if the Council stumbled, the lay faithful would be negatively affected.
This was even as he urged the laity Council to give their patrons the necessary support and encouragement.
In his address of welcome, the President, Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Awka Diocese (CLCNAD), Hon Joseph Igwebuike, commended all the patrons of CLCNAD for their inestimable support to the Council, urging them not to relent in their good work as collaborators in the work of evangelisation.
Igwebuike, who congratulated the newly installed six patrons on their honour, prayed the elevation would go a long way in bringing out the best in them, as well as serve as a source of inspiration to others.
Donations in support of the CLCNAD's N50M Laity Council Secretariat and send off of the immediate past exceptional executive of CLCNAD, formed part of the event which was graced by the chairman, Council of Patrons of CLCNAD and former provost of Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, Professor Josephat Okechukwu Ogbuagu, mni; the Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial Zone, Senator Sir Victor Umeh, KSS, who is also a patron of CLCNAD; the member representing Aguata II Constituency, Hon Ikem Uzoezie, who is also vying for Aguata Federal Constituency Seat and a good number of the laity from the 184 parishes and 23 deaneries of Awka Catholic Diocese.