2012-06-14 00:00:00

The Catholic Archbishop of Ibadan, Most Rev. Felix Alaba Job has stated that only virtuous leaders and workers who have the fear of God, love and respect for the dignity of the human person can take Nigeria out of her present political and socio-economic woes.

According to him: `Every effort must be made to ensure that ‘ministers, commissioners, the judiciary, civil servants and politicians who have the immediate control of the nation`s wealth are such that these things can be entrusted to.`
Archbishop Job made this remark in his homily at the thanksgiving Mass to mark the retirement of Archbishop Joseph Edra Ukpo as the chief Shepherd of the Catholic Archdiocese of Calabar. The ceremony took place at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Calabar, on Saturday, June 9, 2012.

Calling on the faithful not to lose hope but have faith in God, over the current state of the nation, the local ordinary of Ibadan Archdiocese admonished: `Find Christ, brothers and sisters, in the depth of your hearts and give him praise and thanksgiving irrespective of the woes and confusion of our world.`
The Archbishop continued: `To effect all desired changes, nothing is more helpful than institutes for teaching where the citizens` education is in the hands of none but good and god-fearing men and women. This is why we are asking for the return of Voluntary Agencies` schools where in this nation, they were taken and not yet returned. Nigeria shall be redeemed.`

Speaking on the meaningful importance of thanksgiving in the life of man, Archbishop Job noted that: `True thanksgiving is from the heart, the heart that is fully turned to the Lord - humble and contrite hearts. Relating this to the cause of the celebrant`s thanksgiving celebration for his 75th birthday , Archbishop Job noted: `Our thanksgiving is in recognition of the faithfulness of Christ in his life, on the love expended on him by the Most High and strength given to him to be faithful despite all the odds of seventy five years in this valley of tears` He added: ` … our celebration is more meaningful as these years have been spent in the presence of the Lord, in the Court of the Most High and in the service of the Body of Christ.`

Going down memory lane on the life history of the celebrant, the homilist described Archbishop Ukpo as a very intelligent chief shepherd who has spent 47 out of his 75 years on earth in the Lord`s vineyard as a priest, bishop and Archbishop. He continued: `As the first Diocesan priest of the old Ogoja Diocese, he went through the baptism of pastoral initiation and being appointed the first Nigerian Bishop of the same See, he was a pioneer in his own right. Having established and developed the diocese for 31 years, he was translated to Calabar.`

While congratulating the celebrant for his spiritual and pastoral achievements in Ogoja Diocese, Calabar Archdiocese, the Episcopal Conference and the Church in Nigeria in General, Archbishop Job called on the faithful of Calabar to continue to appreciate the Archbishop in retirement by taking good care of him. He urged them not to overburden themselves over the issue of a successor because: `That is the business of Rome and Rome will fill the post as soon as possible.`

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