May 18, 2021
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. as new CAN exco is set for inauguration today

By CHUKS EKE

Venerable Joseph Nweke, the newly elected Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Anambra state chapter has vowed to give effective protection to all the churches and Christians in the state all through his tenure in the face of the current security challenges in the country.

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Nweke who will be sworn in today in Onitsha, Anambra state, along side other newly elected executive members of CAN in the state, to take over from the out-going CAN chairman, Rev. Ndubuisi John, said having placed security on top of his administration’s priority, he would not waste time in fashioning out strategies in ensuring that Churches and Christians are adequately protected in the state.

CAN in the state had on March 18, this year, elected a five-man executive on the platform of the five Blocs that made up the association, including the Christian Council of Nigeria, CCN, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, CSN, Organization of African Instituted Churches, OAIC, TEKAN/ECWA and CPFN.PFN.

During the keenly contested election which was adjudged as most transparent, free and fair by the supervising South East Zonal CAN executive, Nweke was elected as the Chairman from the CCN Bloc, while Monsignor Jerome Madueke was elected as the Vice Chairman from the CSN Bloc, just as Rev. Moses Echefu was elected as Secretary from the OAIC Bloc. Also elected were Rev. Ugochukwu Okogbue as Assistant Secretary from the TEKAN/ECWA Bloc and Rev. Jude Godwin elected as Treasurer from the CPFN.PFN Bloc.

In his post election speech, Nweke, an Archdeacon in the Anglican Church and currently in charge of Onitsha Inland Town Archdeaconry, declared: “In Anambra state, Christians and Churches have the highest investment above government and private establishments and as such, emphasis will be laid on how to protect the huge investments of the churches in particular and the Christians in general”.

“In Onitsha, he continued, for instance, you have a multi-billion naira investments such as the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, Onitsha, which is the Cathedral of the Catholic Church, St. Mary’s Catholic church, Inland Town, Onitsha; Sacred Heart Parish, Odoakpu, St. Jude Parish, Fegge; SS Peter and Paul Iba Pope, Awada and a lot of others too numerous to mention”.

“In Anglican communion too, billions of naira were invested in building the All Saint’s Cathedral, Onitsha, Immanuel Anglican Church, Inland Town, Onitsha, Basilical of St. Andrews Anglican Church, Odoakpu and a host of others and they all need to be protected from the nefarious activities of bandits and vandals”. 

“In Onitsha alone, the church has invested trillions of naira, so also the communities in Anambra state. In all, it is crystal clear that churches alone can boast of trillions of naira investments, not to talk of schools, tourism, agriculture, oil and gas sectors”.

“The church, since 1951, equally invested hugely in human capital development to the extent that all the prominent personalities from Anambra state, including the great Zik of Africa, Nwafor Orizu, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Chinua Achebe, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Archbishop Jonathan Onyemelukwe, Sir Louis Mbanefo and lately Dr. Chuba Okadigbo were all developed through the instrumentality of the resources created by the missionaries”.

“Therefore, we need to protect these personalities and their properties. As CAN in Anambra state, we are going to lay much emphasis on security of these properties and the church members by putting policies in place to eradicate denominational disharmony, religious politics, fake miracles, commercial prophesies and above all, cultism in our private and public schools in the state”.

“For CAN to perform optimally, we need to put all the above in check so that Anambra, as the cradle of Christianization in the South Eastern Nigeria, may produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit as contained in the Epistle of St. Paul to Galatians Chapter 5 verse 22  which states inter alia: ‘the fruit of the Holy spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith and meekness”.

“In the same vein, we need a parcel of land to erect CAN ecumenical centre to accommodate offices, conference rooms, guest house and chapel. We also need an official car/bus, coaster bus for mass transportation, among others, to assist us in achieving the desired target”.

Meantime, Governor Willie Obiano and other prominent organizations and individuals, including the Bible Society of Nigeria, Lagos, High Chief Obiora Okonkwo (Dike Ora), Dr. Chidozie Nwankwo, Senator Andy Uba, Dr. Jeff Onyejegbu, the state Chairman of CCN Bloc and Bishop on the Niger, Bishop Owen Nwokolo who have so far congratulated the newly elected CAN executive, are expected to grace the inaugural ceremony, today.  

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