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Msgr. Prof. Ike Turns 53 Years Old

Our icon and industrious chairman (UP-MFB), Rev. Prof. Monsignor Obiora Francis Bartholomew Ike, a prodigious multilinguist and rare great intellect of our contemporary time was 53 years of age on April 7, 2009. Monsignor Ike, a child prodigy, who hails from Umuana Ndiagu in the Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State, was born on April 7, 1956 in Gusau, the capital of present day Zamfara State of Nigeria. As a multilinguist, he speaks Igbo, Hausa, English, German, French, Latin, Biblical Hebrew and Greek Languages very fluently.

Prof. Ike, who possesses intimidating credentials or profile, started his journey into priesthood and life of celibacy in 1975, when he entered the famous Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu and Ikot Ekpene from where he later moved to Austria, Europe where he was ordained a priest on July 4, 1981 at amazing and remarkable age of 25 years, due to his exceptional intellect. Before enrolling into Bigard, he had his primary education in Gombe, Nguru, Kano and Enugu, while his secondary education took place at All Hallows Seminary Onitsha and St. John's Seminary, Nsukka in the early 1970s.

He studied in University of Bonn, Germany; University of Sorbonne, Paris, France; International School of Post Graduate Studies, Dubronvnik, Yugoslavia; University of London, United Kingdom; and University of Innsbruck, Leopold Frabzens, Tyrol, Austria. In the course of his sojourn for Golden Fleece, Prof. Ike acquired academic degrees up to doctoral levels in various disciplines.

He read Philosophy, Divinity, Theology, Journalism (London), International Studies, French Language, Political Science, German Language, Economics, Latin language, etc. Ike, who was appointed chaplain of the Holy Father (Monsignor) by Late Pope John Paul II in March 2000, was baptized in Gusau on May 19, 1956; had his First Communion at Nguru Northern Nigeria on April 18,1965, and his confirmation at the same Nguru on July 29,1965. He is the Founder and Director (till date) of the Catholic Institute for Development, Justice, Peace and Caritas (CIDJAP) Enugu since 1986.

Among his pastoral activities are spiritual Director at Deutschordens Wohnstift Cologne, Germany (containing over 400 aged persons); Priest at Sacred Heart Parish Uwani Enugu since 1986; Vicar General of Enugu Diocese (from 2000 2005); chaplain of H.R.C Enugu, C.W.O Enugu Diocese and Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province; Chairman JDPC Onitsha Province till 2005; Project Director, Enugu Diocesan Curia for Priests Welfare and further studies Commission, etc.

Rev. Ike who became a Professor at the age of 37 years in 1993 at Theologische Faculteit, Tilburg, The Netherlands, teaches Ethics and African History at the same university. He is also a professor at Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt, Germany since 1997. Rev. Prof. Ike has been chairman of Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro-Finance Bank Limited since 2007, when the bank became a state MFB with N1 billion authorized capital base. He is also chairman of Club of Rome, Nigeria chapter; Growing Business Foundation (GBF) Lagos; Muslim Christian Dialogue, Enugu State; Enugu State Development Trust Fund (EDTF); International Prison Chaplains Association, Canada; Africa Fund on Self-Reliance (AFOS) West Africa; Poverty in Africa Alternative (POVINA), etc.

He is a Director of Centre for Public Policy and Research, Abuja; Commonwealth Education Fund (CEF), Abuja; International Catholic Commission for Prison Pastoral Care (ICCPPC) Rome; Africa Studies Association, Los Angeles, USA; International Political Science Association, Ottawa, Canada; New York Academy of Sciences; Global Ethics Network, Switzerland; International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, United Kingdom, Pax Christi International; Godfrey Okoye University Governing Council, Enugu; etc.

Due to his generosity and patriotism to the human race, irrespective of creed or origin, his Umana Ndiagu community unanimously conferred him with the traditional title of Onwa na-etili ora (the moon light that shines on all people) of Umana Ndiagu. He was given 'Men of Achievement' award, Cambridge Publications, London; Peace Prize award, Germany; Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary International, Munich/Ludwigshafen, Germany; and Citizen Plenipotentiary Aachen, Ripuaria, Aachen Germany. The ingenious Catholic prelate who is contained in the United States of America 'Who is Who' in the World, and 'Who is who in Nigeria', has over 67 published titles: books and articles, among which are: Nigerian Prisons Hell above ground (2006); Church and society in Dialogue (1990), The Fantasy of Human Rights (1997); Understanding Africa; Traditional Legal Reasoning and Jurisprudence (2001); Freedom is more than a word (1998), etc.

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