Izzi Nation voices out as Royal Father produces Catholic Priest
By Victor Nwegede
In Ebonyi, the stakeholders of Izzi clan including Abakaliki, Ebonyi and Izzi Local Government Areas have rejoiced and celebrated with Rev. Fr. Joseph Gabriel Ogobuchi Oketa, the son of Nkaleke Echara Traditional Ruler, HRH Eze Sunday S.N Oketa who was ordained on Saturday 22nd August, 2020 as a Catholic Priest of Abakaliki Diocese by His Lordship, Bishop Michael Nnachi Okoro at St. JohnPaul II, Ugwuachara in the state.
One of the stakeholders who was the former Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Goodwin Ogbaga (aka Ezeudo) described Rev. Fr. Oketa as Izzi brand new Priest.
Ezeudo appreciated the Priest for his successful ordination and also commended the Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru for his decision of giving the Priest a Lexus 350 car as a gift on behalf of Izzi Nation.
His words: “We have to appreciate our brand new Priest. Thank you Mr. Speaker, for the calculation, and at the end of the day you arrived at this very important decision. Speaker has stated that many gifts are coming to the brand new Priest and we know to whom much is given, much is expected. I am sure that, God cannot give any person the cross he will not carry. So, no matter the magnitude of the temptation, God will provide the solution to it. You must be strong in faith, and infact, the extraordinary support people are giving you have shown that Izzi clan has come back to our normal fold.
“We have been very happy since you celebrated mass service in the church. It seemed as if you have been ordained Priest before now. As we pray for you, perform well, and we need also your prayers.”
Also speaking, the Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru said, God has slated that day for Izzi Nnodo Ekumenyi to celebrate Rev. Fr. Oketa.
Nwifuru hinted: “A true son or daughter of Izzi clan must have the reasons to rejoice for this feat. Today is our day for merriment. Our own brother Joseph Oketa has offered himself to God and stands as a sacrifice for humanity particularly the Izzi Nation.
“He has decided to be an ordained Priest, to be praying for us. He chose to be a Reverend Father and forget about getting married with a woman to give birth to his single children. He cannot even look around for a girl or a woman to befriending no matter what. His choice is greater and tasking regards the calling. What we are doing today is to celebrate with him, especially on the ground he vowed to have no personal child. We must congratulate him and also thank God who called him to serve humanity in His vineyard.
“We see this celebration as a unique one because it is very rare for a son of royal father to become an ordained Catholic Priest. Nowadays, majority of our ladies always pray and go around searching for royal sons for friendship and if possible to lure them into marital relationship. But he overlooked all these and moved on to serve God as his Shepherd in His vineyard. We know his father is not a mere man. He is a polygamist and also a father to many people as a traditional ruler. We thank His Royal Highness for having allowed him to go for this vocation. It should be our collective effort to pray and assist him to deliver because, many challenges are facing priests and other ministers of God these days. The temptations coming from female folks in the Christendom can no longer allow great men of God to concentrate on their callings. At this juncture, we advise you, our brand new Priest, please, try to make Izzi clan proud. Indeed, we understand the challenges are enormous but you must win all like your senior fellows. You will not be a party to what will bring shame to Izzi clan and the Christendom.
“Izzi people have a modality of doing things. The PDP Chairman have attested to this statement. You can’t take Izzi people forgranted. We are full in all ramifications. Izzi Nation has men and women of integrity and nothing good is lacked in Izzi communities. It is rare for a traditional ruler to produce a Catholic Priest.
“Now, the three local government areas in Izzi land, and the Izzi stakeholders bought a Lexus 350 car for you. It is a brand new car from Lagos. You should beware that the unity of Izzi clan is not in doubt. Your father is the Chairman of Izzi foundation. We have made him to understand the challenges before him is to ensure the unity of Izzi is not tempered by anybody. That’s why our people in our one voice sent people yesterday to Lagos to bring the gift for you. It is just a start. You are Izzi father and as well the Priest of God, we only sent you an errand. Please, try to deliver very well.
“Ndi-Izzi! We are one forever and nothing can stop it! Whoever works against our unity shall never have peace of mind. We appreciate each and everyone here present who are rejoicing with us today for the successful ordination of our son and brother as a Catholic Priest. We thank all of you for your support and good wishes to our brand new Priest and the Izzi family in general. Ezza Nation, we can see you present and we really appreciate you for your care and support. As you celebrate with us for this feat, so shall we celebrate with you in Jesus name, Amen. But, we must ask our dear brother to never struggle what belong to Izzi clan, because, we have never struggled what belong to others. PDP is for humanity and other political parties are nothing but the empty vessels. All the good tides you came with, shall follow you in double portion, but the bad one should disappear in Jesus name, amen.”
In his part, the Ebonyi State PDP Chairman, Barr. Peter Onyekachi Nwebonyi, also appreciated the young Priest and said: “Our prayer is that the good Lord, who has called you to serve Him as a Catholic Priest will give you the grace, the enablement and protect you to meet up with the expectations.
“We came as a clan, and as a party under the platform of PDP because, our party believes that power belongs to God and not a human. We feel to honour and celebrate with you for this great feat you accomplished today.”
Other Izzi stakeholders including the Caretaker Chairman of Ebonyi Local Government Area, Hon. Francis Nwogbaga, and his wife, Hon. Mrs. Chinyere Nwogbaga; the member representing Izzi East State Constituency Rt. Hon. Anthony Onyibe Nwegede, his counterparts of Ebonyi North East, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Ezeoma and that of Abakaliki South, Hon. Joseph Ununu with the former Senior Special Adviser to Ebonyi State Governor on Higher Education, Prof. Adaeze Nwuzor, among others congratulated the Priest, wishing him God’s grace, wisdom, guidance and protection while rendering services in His vineyard for humanity.
Responding, Fr. Oketa appreciated and assured them of keeping to their advice. He also urged them to keep working together to ensure the cord uniting the Izzi Nation as one people does not cut off and prayed for those working towards building humanity, installation of peace and unity in the society shall always accomplish their goals.
“For our leaders, the good ones, as far as you are moving forward, to defend Christ, as far as you are moving forward to defend humanity, as far as you are moving forward to defend the rights of the speechless, the poor and the less privilege, be rest assured that as a Priest of God, and the Priest of Roman Catholic Church that nothing made of human will be a blockage to that movement. God will be with you at all time. You will be proud of the Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki and for the sacrifices you made today”, he prayed.
Meanwhile, the Priest’s father, being the Chairman of Izzi Traditional Rulers Forum, HRH Eze Sunday SN Oketa, has thanked the Izzi stakeholders and all his supporters during the ordination merriment, wishing them God’s abundant blessings as he expressed surprise at the magnanimous nature of the gifts offered to his son by the people. He therefore, wished an excellent future to Izzi Nation and their various supporters, praying that in 2023, the son of the land would take over the number one seat of the state as he pointed out that Izzi people had since the creation of Ebonyi State been the dominant supporters of all the government in power including their lands and other sacrifices offered for the building of government structures and facilities without grudges.
Daily Newstimes Nigeria equally gathered that the priest was given four cars including Toyota Highlander 2009 Limited Edition, Toyota Rava 4 Limited, Lexus 350 and Toyota Corolla by the parishioners, his parents, Izzi clan and Senator Obinna Ogba respectively with other valuables from friends and well-wishers as gifts during his ordination and thanksgiving ceremony.