The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has celebrated the Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Benin, Most. Rev. Patrick Ebosele Ekpu on his 50th Episcopal anniversary and 90th birthday celebration, saluting his contributions to the development of Edo State and Nigeria.
Speaking at the celebration, held at St. Paul Catholic Church, Airport Road, Benin City, the governor said the clergy’s service in God’s vineyard has drawn more Christians to God.
According to him, “Our father has lived a very illustrious life and a life of service. His service in the vineyard of God has provided the opportunity for many Christian faithful to sustain personal connection and relationship with God.”
Obaseki said Ekpu and other Nigerian patriots, in the midst of the civil war, were called into the service of God and accelerated to become Bishops in the Catholic Church, adding, “50 years on, they have changed the face of the church in Nigeria.”
He said, “The role of the Catholic Church became significant and very prominent particularly after the civil war, because of the diligent work our father commenced as a Bishop of this Diocese. As a priest, he has risen to the pinnacle of his Episcopal calling and has seen it all. We will continue to cherish his wisdom and experience.
“In his service to the work of God, he brought the Church closer to the people and created an awareness where the people, regarded as fetish, got to understand Christianity better and became closer to God.”
Noting that the clergy has made huge contributions to the development of society, the governor noted, “At the age of 90 years, he continues to provide leadership even in retirement. We will continue to tap from his rich pool of wisdom to guide us as we chart our path through these very difficult times.”
Welcoming guests, the Archbishop of Benin and President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Most Rev. Augustine Akubeze said Ekpu is being celebrated because of his industrious labour in the vineyard of God.
“He has brought success to the Church and an author of many books which has touched lives and transformed the society, state and nation at large.”
Other guests at the occasion include the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu and his wife, Maryann; Secretary to the Edo State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq.; Chief of Staff to Edo State Governor, Hon. Osaigbovo Iyoha; the Esama of Benin Kingdom, Chief Dr. Gabriel Igbinedion; Former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mike Ogiadomeh; Edo State Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa Esq.; and Edo State PDP Chairman, Tony Aziegbemi, amongst others.