By Emma Onumah
The erstwhile President of the Council of Knights of St Christopher, Anglican Diocese of Owerri, Sir Israel Ekezie, has been lauded for taking the Council to an enviable height before stepping aside, after leading the council for 14 years.
Bishop Okorocha, who gave this commendation at the council’s recent Business Meeting, held at the St. Michael and All Angels Church, New Owerri, last Saturday, described the former president as hardworking, trustworthy, and ever ready to accept challenges, and to offer pieces of advice when asked to do so.
The prelate, who was represented at the occasion by the Council’s Head of Chaplaincy, Ven Solomon Okoronkwo, expressed gratitude to God for His hand of blessing upon Sir Israel and his amiable wife, Lady Theresa.
In his speech, the current President of the Council, Sir Gab Oduah, said that, as a Council, they were proud of the person of Sir Israel whom, he testified, contributed quite a lot to the council, and at alt levels of the Joint Council of Knights (JCK), Anglican Communion.
In her remarks, the Ladies’ President, Lady Pamela Njemanze, who disclosed that she knew Sir Israel way back in London as a student noted that, apart from his magnanimity and acceptance of other people’s opinions, he has continued to see to the oneness of the council.
Other Knights and Ladies who eulogized Sir Israel included Sir Emma Okoroafor, Sir Richard Eronini, Sir Obi Igbonagwam, Sir Enoch Iwueze, Lady Augusta Ohiri, Sir Clifford Anunusor and Dame Joyce Uboegbulam. In their separate remarks, they gave eloquent testimonies of his leadership qualities, describing him as a good teacher, upright, truthful, and ever approachable, not influenced by worldly things.
The generality of the Knights and Ladies at the business meeting wished Sir Israel, long and healthy life, even as he celebrated his 80th birthday two months ago.
In a Eucharist service that preceded the meeting, which was conducted by the Head of the Council’s Chaplains, Venerable Solomon Okoronkwo, with the Chaplain II, Rev Canon Echi Nwogu taking care of the intercessional prayers, the Parish Priest of St Michael & All Angels’ Church, New Owerri, the Rev Canon Onyinyeoma Onyeagocha, urged the Knights and Ladies, to endeavour to carry God in their hearts.
Canon Onyeagocha, who is also the Council’s Chaplain III, urged all to let go from their hearts, the attitude of whom he described as “the Money Man” who, according to him, is always seeking after pleasure and nothing else, adding that has the tendency to lead him to an untimely death, and to hell too.
Drawing his text from Ps 27 1, 2, & 7 and captioning his homily: “One Thing I See”, the Parish Priest charged all and sundry, to try and find the presence of the Lord while they are alive, so that they can also find it when they are no more, arguing that “age is not a function of when one dies, but when God decides it should be”.
Responding, Sir Israel Ekezie who was virtually the special guest at the occasion said that he was greatly humbled by the encomiums showered by all who appreciated him in one way or the other.
He thanked God who, he said, made it possible for him to be alive to witness such a great ‘nonour done to him. He was also full of thanks to the Bishop, for tolerating his inadequacies 14 years that he had to lead the Council.
The highlight of the meeting was the toast proposed in honour of the ex-President, Sir Israel Ekezie, by Sir Oliver Enwerenem, the current Vice President II of the Council, at the instance of the seating president.