Politics was temporarily set aside, Friday, as arch enemies of Edo politics came together at the St Paul Catholic Church, Benin, to honour Most Rev. Dr. Augustine Obiora Akubeze, Archbishop of Benin Catholic Archdiocese.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) top gladiators stormed the Catholic Church to honour the Archbishop on his 10th Episcopal ordination anniversary celebration.
The APC was led by the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and had Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Deputy Governor Pius Odubu, Mr. Anselm Ojezua, Edo State APC Chairman, among others in the church while the PDP was led by the party’s former BOT Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih and had Mr Dan Orbih, Edo State PDP Chairman, Chief Tom Ikimi among others in the church.
The sitting arrangement was mixed as politics was completely set aside. The Governor sat next to Chief Anenih who sat next to Mr Orbih who sat next to Chief Odigie-Oyegun. The political rivals exchanged pleasantries and complimentaries.
Edo State Governor, who was Special Guest called on Catholic Bishops and other clergy to continue to pray for Nigerian leaders so that their decisions and actions would reflect the teachings of Christ and induce greater advantage for Nigerians.
He said, “allow me to say, that we in government need more of your prayers. I wish to use this privilege of being here to appeal to Catholic Bishops to continue to pray for Nigeria as you have always done, and in particular ask God in His infinite mercy and powers to touch our hearts, as public officers who are entrusted with the resources of our great country, that we may always remember that the privileges we exercise, the powers we purport to possess, is not of our merit but of the grace of our Lord, and in exercising those powers, that we may do so in a way that reflects the teachings of Christ, so that Nigeria and Nigerians shall benefit from the decisions we take every minute, every hour, every day, every year.”
He congratulated the Archbishop of Benin Catholic Archdiocese on the 10th anniversary of his Episcopal ordination, saying “let me on behalf of myself, my family, the government and the good people of Edo State congratulate my lord on this occasion. Sir, I want to give thanks to God for sending you to us to bring us closer to Him. I can testify, as someone who has had the rare privilege of meeting, associating and having conversations with you on a variety of issues, and I am humbled by your uncommon humility, calmness and warmth.
“I think we all have every reason to give thanks to God for what He has used Your Grace to do in this State for our people, and even the support we have enjoyed from you in government. Just to say that we in Edo State are honoured to have the privilege of playing host to so many catholic bishops from around the country and several other clergy from various parts of the country.”
The ceremony was attended by people from all walks of life including the John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Bishop of Abuja Catholic Diocese, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chief John Odigie Oyegun, Edo State chairman of APC, Mr. Anslem Ojezua, the State Deputy Governor, Dr Pius Odubu, former BOT Chairman of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, PDP Chairman, Edo State, Mr Dan Orbih, among others.