The versatile, scholastic, eclectic and highly venerated chairman of Umuchiemere Pro-credit Microfinance Bank, Very Rev. Mgr. Obiora Ike, clocked 55years of age last April and 30years in priesthood on July 4, 2011.
Born precisely on Afo market day on April 7 in 1956 in Gusau, the capital of present day Zamfara State in the northern part of Nigeria, Obiora Ike, Professor of Ethics at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, as a child prodigy achieved a rare feat of becoming a Roman Catholic priest at a very young age of 25years, when on July 4, 1981 he was ordained a priest in far away St. Karl church, Innsbruck, Austria by Bishop Bruno Wechner.
The Umana Ndi Agu Ezeagu born prelate who is also a Guest Professor at Wolfgong Goethe University, Frankfurt, relishes being fondly referred to as "Nwa afo"(Afo child)
The 30years of the priestly life of Prof. Ike was joyfully celebrated on Sunday, July 10, 2011 by his parish, St. Leo The Great, Federal Housing Estate, Trans Ekulu, Enugu. The celebration attracted many dignitaries in the society, among them top government officials, Europeans, Rev. Fr. Edward Kanife, Prof. Ike Ndolo of the Mass Communication Department of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, who rend a lengthy citation on the celebrant, and the vice chancellor of Godfrey Okoye University, Rev. Fr. Prof. Christian Anieke who delivered the sermon at celebration mass, centred mainly on the virtues of the celebrant.
The event which co-incided with the feast of the parish, launching the parish hall fund rising and the priestly ordination anniversary of two other priests in the parish also featured cultural dances and other farms of fanfare.
The parish expressed gratitude to God for the gift of the priests to them and for the successes they have individually recorded in their pastoral work.
The Very Reverend Monsignor Professor Obiora Ike studied Philosophy, Theology, Economics, Political Science and History in universities across five countries in Nigeria, Austria, the United Kingdom, France and Germany from 1975 - 1985. After graduation, with the doctorate in Systematic Theology/Catholic Social Thought, he returned to Nigeria in 1986 and was appointed to serve the Social ministry of the Church as Chairman of the Commission for Justice, Development, Peace and Caritas.
He founded the research and development organ known as Catholic Institute for Development Justice and Peace (CIDJAP) and is Director and Chair of the Institute. The very enterprising Ike has served the Church as Vicar General; Vicar for Public Relations; Consulter, Curia Member, Chaplain for the Youth; Chaplain to the Catholic Women Organization and the Holy Rosary College and currently is Parish Priest at St. Leo the Great Parish, Federal Housing Estate, Trans-Ekulu, Enugu.
He is active on the national and international scene with many research and practical initiatives to bridge the growing gap between faith and life, Church and Society and worked for several years as one of the experts at the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria. Professor Ike is the current President of the Club of Rome, Nigeria chapter; Founder and Chairman of over 20 non-governmental organizations (NGO's) and a regarded philanthropist.
Widely travelled and author of over 60 books, Ike has lectured in several universities worldwide and holds teaching positions with the Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt/M Germany as Professor of Social Ethics and African Studies and the Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu.
Highly honored with Awards at international and local levels, Mgr Obiora Ike received in June 2010 the prestigious Heinrich Pesch Prize in Cologne, Germany for his outstanding contributions to the dissemination and practical application of Catholic Social Teaching in Africa. He thus became the first African to receive such Award. Pope Benedict XVI invited him to the Vatican in October 2009 to join the Second Plenary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Africa as a Synod Father.
He is the second chairman of the Umuchinemere Pro-Credit Micro Finance Bank (UPMFB), having been so appointed by the bank's shareholders at its Annual General Meeting of October, 2008. Prof. Ike will deliver the Odenigbo Lecture of 2011. The theme of this year's lecture is "NTOHAPU: ORU OMA NKE OZIOMA". It will take place at Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri, Imo state on Saturday, September 3, 2011.
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