Governor Willie Obiano is now leader of all Catholic knights in the Southeast geopolitical zone, according to a statement issued today in Awka, Anambra State capital, by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba.
Governor Obiano’s new leadership is as a result of his elevation on Wednesday, January 15, in the Vatican City to the status of Knight Commander of St Gregory the Great by Pope Benedict in recognition of his enormous contributions to both the church and society.
While the immediate past All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) national Chairman, Sir Victor Umeh; the immediate past Anambra State governor, Chief Peter Obi; the chairman of Seplat Petroleum which is the only Nigerian firm quoted on the London Stock Exchange, Dr Ambrosie Orjiako; and the chairman of Orange Drugs, Sir Tony Ezennia, are just papal knights, Governor Obiano is a knight commander, the highest honour bestowed on a lay Catholic anywhere in the world.
“The first son of a catechist, church missionary and teacher who practised the Christian faith with all his heart and might, Governor Obiano has never wavered in his commitment to the growth of the faith”, according to the statement by Information Commissioner Adinuba.
“He and his wife led the Catholic community in Gbagada, Lagos, to build the parish house of St Gerald Catholic Church and refused all entreaties by parishoners to name the church after his patron saint in appreciation of his outstanding role.
“He and his wife have for 10 years been the national patrons of St Anthony of Padua Prayer Movement in Nigeria and also have all this while been supportive of St Anthony’s Church in Houston, Texas.
“In addition, they have been patrons of the National Catholic Laity Council of the Onitsha Archdiocese, Catholic Women Organisation and other pious organizations.
“Governor Obiano has also over the decades trained numerous priests and nuns as well as religious in the ministry”.
Meanwhile, the Anambra State government has congratulated Chief Obiano on the papal honour.
According to the Information Commissioner, Deputy Governor Nkem sent Chief Obiano a congratulatory letter “on behalf all members of members of the Anambra State Executive Council on this eminently deserving honour.
“Governor Obiano is a Catholic committed to ecumenism, or the unity of all Christian churches, as provided in John 17: 21 ‘that all may be one’”, said Dr Okeke.
“We are proud of his record in church growth as we are of his record in the development of Anambra which on his watch has become the most competitive state in Nigeria.
“This great papal honour is just the shape of things to come for the people of Anambra State”.