• Achebe rolls out value re-orientation plan for youths.

By Ononye VC
It was a momentous ocassion as the traditional ruler of Onitsha,His Royal Majesty, Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe,celebrated his 81st birthday at St Mary’s Catholic Church,Onitsha Inland Town with a thanksgiving mass.
The thanksgiving mass which started with songs of praise was colourful and attracted the cream of Onitsha indigenous personalities and members of the Obi’s cabinet,the Otu Odu and Agbalanze members.
In his homily titled,”Celebrating my birthday in the presence of God,”the Metropolitan Archbishop of Onitsha,Most Rev Valerian Okeke commended Igwe Alfred Achebe for submitting himself to the presence of God while celebrating his 81st birthday,pointing out that it has many spiritual advantages.
Archbishop Valerian Okeke who was represented by the Chancellor of the Archdiocese,Very Rev Fr Dr Prudentius Aroh,said that Igwe Achebe’s birthday thanksgiving celebration before the Lord shows his deep respect and reverence for God irrespective of the fact that nothing could have stopped him from celebrating in his palace but he chose to celebrate inside the house of the Lord.
The Archbishop listed some of the advantages and disadvantages derivable from celebrating such milestones in the presence of God.
The advantages he pointed out include thanking God for the gift of life and opportunity for self evaluation.
The Archbishop gave two biblical instances of tragic birthdays not celebrated before God and the consequences.They are the tragic birthday of Herod who beheaded John the Baptist as requested by his daughter and King Pharaoh who killed his Chief Baker on his birthday.
In his remarks,the celebrant Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe expressed gratitude to God for the gift of old age and good health.
He thanked Archbishop Valerian Okeke for identifying with him on his birthday and maintenance of good relationship between the church and Onitsha indigenous community since his 20th year of kingship of Onitsha.
Igwe Achebe disclosed that owing to the rising youth restiveness and diminishing values among some indigenous youths,he has set in motion a strategy for value re-orientation for youths in Onitsha indigenous community.
In his contribution,the Episcopal Vicar,Onitsha Region and Parish Priest in charge of St Mary’s Catholic Church,Onitsha Inland Town,Very Rev Fr Johnbosco Okafor,congratulated Igwe Alfred Achebe on his 81st birthday, describing him as a man of honour,respect,dignity,wisdom and knowledge.
Fr Johnbosco also welcomed some of the dignitaries present.They include the traditional ruler of Omor HRH Dr Chris Chidume,Hon Lynda Ikpeazu,Hon Eddy Ibuzo,Hon Commissioner Agha Mba and President of Onitsha Improvement Union,Sir Ekweogwu.
Some of the priests in attendance are,Rev Fr Justin Oguama,the (Parish Priest of A Jude Catholic Church,Fegge,Onitsha),Fr Okala,Fr Anazonwu,Fr Oliver Anolue,fr Oforba and fr (Barr) Cyril Akunne.
Highlight on the ocassion was presentation of gift items to the Igwe by parishioners of St Mary’s Catholic Church and rendition of special birthday songs for Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe.


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