Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba (right) congratulating Most Rev. Alexander Ibezim at one of the events to mark the latter’s 60th birthday<br />
The family, diocese and friends of Archbishop of the Province of Niger, Church of Nigeria and Bishop of Awka Diocese, Anambra State, Most Rev. (Dr.) Alexander Ibezim recently rolled out the drums to celebrate the Archbishop.
The weeklong event started at St. Mark’s College Nibo/Nise with prayers and a football match. The train later visited the Children’s Community Homes, Awka Catholic Diocesan Elderly Priests’ Welfare Home, and had a foundation laying ceremony, as well as commissioned/dedicated the Archbishop/Diocesan multiple projects, which were performed by the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Most Rev. (Dr.) Henry Ndukuba.
The celebration culminated with a Eucharistic Thanksgiving Service presided by the Primate himself and the cutting of birthday cake on Sunday at Saint Faith Cathedral Awka.
The celebrant laid the foundation stones for the Administrative Block and classrooms at Mary Sumner Vocational Institute, Awka and Mount Zion International Retreat/Resource Centre, Kamali Layout, Okpuno, Awka. He also dedicated Renaissance Modern Polytechnic, Mbaukwu; Archbishop Alexander Ibezim Faculty of Law Building at Paul University, Awka; Millennium College of Nursing Sciences, Awka; the Archbishop’s Palace; a 700-seater Chapel beside Archbishop’s Palace, Diocesan Archive; Queens Convent Refectory; and Hostel Blocks and Chapel of Redemption, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
Ibezim, who recalled that during his enthronement, he focused on key areas including, discipleship, education, health, women and youth ministry, among others.
“I am so glad that within these 12 years of our episcopacy and three years of our arch-episcopacy, we have been able to touch each of these areas to the glory of God,” he said.
Highlighting education and health as cardinal in his missionary mandate, Ibezim said that with the projects, enhanced practical studies and technological improvement would be achieved to usher a new hope for the nation, while thanking the primate and his wife, Angela for making the events worthwhile. Ibezim appreciated his late parents, Mr. Gilbert Ibezim and Mrs. Chizoba Ibezim; his wife, Mrs Martha Chioma Ibezim whom he wedded 28 years ago, his five children, his family members, group and individuals who have so far contributed in one way or the other to the success of his life, and promised to continue to dedicate his life to the service of God and humanity.
In his sermon during the dedication, the Head of Anglican commended Ibezim’s efforts and foresight in making the projects a reality. Describing such projects as places to groom change agents and wealth creators to drive the nation, adding with such projects from the church there is still hope for the future generation.
Born August 5, 1962, Ibezim started his journey in life as an Anglican cleric and prelate. According to him, after graduating from the University of Nigeria (Enugu Cam­pus) in 1986 with B.Sc (Second-class upper division) in Marketing; he obtained a Diploma in Theology in 1993; obtained both a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) and a Master’s degree in Education Guidance and Counselling in 1998 from University of Lagos before travelling abroad and obtained another Master’s degree in Divin­ity (M.Div) from the Trinity International University (USA); bagged Doctorate degree (Ph.D) in Biblical Studies from the University of Liverpool; and Doctor of Ministry (D.Min) from the same school.
Ibezim who planted a church at St. Faith Anglican Church in Riverdale Atlanta, USA, said he did not want to come back to Nigeria after his study abroad, but for the death and burial ceremony of his father, Mr Gilbert Ibezim.
The cleric who was ordained a priest in 1994 by the former Primate of the church, Archbishop J. A. Adetiloye, also served Adetiloye as a Chaplain, before he was posted to St. Michael’s Anglican Church, Coker, Lagos, as Vicar from January 1995 to December 1999 and shortly after, he has preferred Canon at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos that same year.
Dignitaries who graced the events included the Dean, Church of Nigeria, Most Rev. Buba Lamido; Archbishops Emmanuel Chukwuma of Enugu Province; Israel Amoo of Kwara Province; Isaac Nwaobia of Aba Province; Cyril Odutemu of Bendel Province.
Others were bishops; Governors of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo; and the Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa; traditional rulers, including the longest reigning traditional ruler in the state, Igwe K. O. Orizu of Nnewi.
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