By Sam Eyoboka & Olayinka Latona
CATHOLIC clerics and other stakeholders yesterday showered encomiums on the retired Catholic Archbishop of Metropolitan Archbishop, Anthony Cardinal Okogie describing him as an enigma, infectious and charming, a workaholic, a compassionate leader and a committed builder.
Speaking at McGovern Hall, St. Agnes Catholic Church, Maryland, Lagos, at a ceremony to celebrate the life and of His Eminence Anthony Cardinal Okogie Emeritus, the eminent persons including the immediate past National President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, board room guru, Chief Pascal Dozie and erstwhile TV personality, Julie Coker, acknowledged the sterling contributions of the cardinal to the nation’s development.
The occasion put together by the Catholic Artistes and Entertainers Association of Nigeria, CAEAN, Directorate of Social Communication and Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria was to mark the 50-year anniversary of Anthony Cardinal Okogie’s as a priest.
Chairman of the occasion, Chief Dozie flagged off the flurry of encomiums when he described Okogie as a man specially sent to Nigeria by God with special assignment, stressing “his loyalty to the Church is second to none, to the nation and humanity is unequalled. As a social critic, and defender of the poor, he was unshaken,” noting that the bottom-line of every government was to address the challenges of the citizens and Okogie has done everything to put every government on its toes.
Okogie’s counterpart in Ibadan, Archbishop Alaba Job Emeritus who has known him since 1954 said the man fought for the Church, government and the poor people of Nigeria as well as other sectors of the nation’s economy including education.
Immediate past president of CAN, Pastor Oritsejafor who was represented by Pastor Damilare Akinola also acknowledged the giant contributions of Okogie to the nation’s development, arguing that the emerging Nigeria can only ignore such voices at the nation’s peril.
According to him, “when will Nigeria listen to the voices of people like Okogie, archbishop Benson Idahosa, Alaba Job, and several others who risked their personal lives for the benefit of the nation? Until the Church comes together as one indivisible entity that can speak with one voice, the nation will continue to grapple with the current socio-economic challenges.”