By Chukwudi Ikpe
Founding father and legend of the Anglican Diocese of Owerri, late Most Rev. Dr. Benjamin C. Nwankiti, has been immortalized by the Diocese as one of the churches in the Diocese has been renamed after him.
Bethel Anglican Church, Amakohia, which is under Amakohia Archdeaconry, will henceforth be known as Archbishop Nwankiti Memorial Anglican Church Amakohia.
The Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev. Chukwuma Oparah, Ph.D JP, announced this at the Diocesan Thanksgiving service and posthumous award held last Sunday at the Cathedral Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord (CATOL) Owerri.
He extolled the late icon for his missionary exploits and monumental achievements towards the growth and development of Owerri Diocese.
It will be recalled that most Rev. B.C. Nwankiti, who was consecrated Bishop on 25th April 1968, was the second Bishop and first indigenous Bishop of Owerri Diocese as well as the first Archbishop of Old Province II of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). He also rose to the position of Dean of the church before his meritorious retirement in 1998.
Archbiho0p Nwankti remains the longest served Bishop of the Diocese, having reigned for 30 years, from 1969 to 1998.
The Posthumous Awards thanksgiving service was one of the programmes packaged for the 60th Anniversary celebration of the Diocese by the Central Planning Committee led by Rev. Engr. Mike Arimanwa, Ph.D.
Preaching a sermon during the service, the Bishop of Okigwe Diocese, Rt. Rev. Edward Osuegbu, Ph.D expressed gratitude to God for the Anglican Diocese of Owerri, which he described as a mother Diocese.
He emphasized the importance of thanksgiving and commended the Bishop of the Diocese for deeming it fit to ‘celebrate the faithfulness of God’.
The colourful service was presided over and conducted by the Bishop, Rt. Rev. Chukwuma Oparah Ph.D, while the first lesson from Joshua 1:1-8 and the second lesson from Hebrews 13:5-8 were read by Sir Uche Osoagba and Lady Victoria Mbata respectively.
Other distinguished personalities honoured in the Posthumous award were Prof. Sir Njoku Obi, Prof. Sir Enoch Anyanwu, Sir Jonathan Ekeocha, Sir Ephraim Ekomaru, Engr. Sir Godwin Akuruka and HRH Eze Christopher Egbuchulam.
Others include Sir Benjamin Onweni, Sir Umunna Nosiri, Hon. Sir Macdonald Mbata, Ven. Ephraim Onwubuariri, Justice Emmanuel Metu, Hon. Justice Richard Aguta and Rev. Canon John Obi.