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Bishop Ezeofor : The man on a rescue mission

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By Chris Okeke

Some understandable degree of excitement currently greets the im­minent enthronement of Bish­op Chukwudi Ezeofor as the Bishop of Aguata Diocese.

The prevailing atmosphere of ecstasy and euphoria all over the Aguata Diocese over his enthronement may not be forgotten in a hurry by Chris­tian faithful there. The taste of the pudding, they say, is in the eating. His triumphant entry from his erstwhile dio­cese of Ogbaru says it all as over five hundred of the laity laid siege to welcome their Bishop who came in a convoy of numerous vehicles into the St John Cathedral, Ekwulo­bia, his new abode.

The man, Bishop Samuel Chukwudi Ezeofor, was born nearly 51 years ago in Onit­sha to Ichie and Mrs. Noel Ezeofor of Ezioko village of Oko in Orumba North local government area of Anambra state. His home church is St. John the Divine Church Oko in Aguata Diocese of the An­glican Communion and he is the Second Bishop of Oko ex­traction, and the third Bishop from Aguata diocese.

In his early days, Bishop Samuel was so committed to the church that he was one of the few people selected and sent by the church to be trained in 1979 under the aus­pices of the Anglican Prayer Association, APA. He was also later trained as an officer of Boys’ Brigade at the Dennis Memorial Grammar School, DMGS, Onitsha in 1982.

Bishop Samuel began his academic and educational life in Oko Primary School, Oko and was later transferred to Central School, Oko in Pri­mary Three. He passed his primary education in 1979, later proceeding to the Agua­ta High School, Aguata for his secondary school edu­cation. He later proceeded to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he read Re­ligion with special bias in Biblical Studies and Biblical languages. He graduated in 1990 with first class honours degree of the university.

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His resume, indicates he served in Ibadan and later en­rolled in University of Ibadan for his master’s degree. Sam­uel studied the Old Testa­ment and came out in 1992 as the best graduating student of that department. He pro­ceeded to Immanuel College of Theology, Ibadan for his Di­ploma in Theology which he concluded in 1994. He came out of the college with the best result of the year and the only distinction grade of the year. He bagged his doctor­ate degree in the year 2000. Today, he has become the good ‘face ‘and ambassador extraordinaire of not only his community, Oko, but the en­tire Aguata diocese.

In his interaction with yours truly, I asked him of his rooky days as a Bishop when he as­sumed duty at Ogbaru. The Lord Bishop chuckled. I had also sought to know what the diocese looked like be­fore they came. “Well, it is not our making that the light of the gospel has gone into the whole of Ogbaru. We know how the place was when we came. Spiritually, the whole place was in a kind of dark­ness. But through the preach­ing of the gospel, light has really shone into the place. It’s like the Bible saying that when Jesus came into the place of Zebulan and Nathan, the people who sat in dark­ness saw light. That is exact­ly what has happened and it translated into the physical development. Churches are planted into the different plac­es. Structures are raised and coming into Atani which is the city of the diocese and the local government headquar­ters, you could see the new Cathedral church; The Basil­ica of Saint James the Great Cathedral and the women ministry project, called the Emmanuel Castle of Refuge. There is a seminary at Atani for the boys and a convent at Okpoko for the girls.”

Lissome and cheerful with manners polished to high gloss, Chukwudi Ezeofor, a choir and EFAC boy, who bootstrapped himself to become the first missionary Bishop of Ogba­ru diocese, has effortlessly become an enduring exam­ple of what notable church leaders should be – respect­ful, responsible, respon­sive, and result–oriented.

Samuel Chukwudi, pos­sesses an abundance of hard-to-find qualities. Colleagues and his subordinates are of­ten amazed at the extent to which he delves into facts while performing his celes­tial duties. He takes each is­sue and works it to death to get to the right perspective, the right result. He also has an unusual ability to dive straight to the heart of the matter. Even in light-heart­ed matters, Chukwudi can sometimes be a grind. Hard­ly one to raise his voice, his words are forever measured, precise and direct. But he occasionally stings, especial­ly when he thinks no one is prepared to listen to reason or logic, when he thinks he has entered a logic-free zone and needs to jolt his audience back on track. Those who have had the rare privilege of listening to an angry Chuk­wudi know his words can be weighty and fatherly.

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On his message for his new flock he says, “We want to see Christ in everybody and in every community be­cause he is the foundation and chief corner stone of our lives, of our homes and fami­lies. Anything that is not laid upon that foundation will not stand. I see the foundation as a primary stone laid; so, it should reflect in the life of everybody. I also see the foundation stone as a direc­tion stone, so our lives and families and communities should take their direction from Him. I also see that foundation as an instruction­al stone. He should instruct us. Basically, I want to see Christ in everyone. Clergy­men should represent Christ and people should see Him as foundation of our lives”.

With his achievements since working in the vine­yard of God, you would be hard pressed to find anyone, today, who has questioned whether Bishop Chukwudi Samuel Ezeofor has put his education and versed train­ing to good use or how his talent and abilities stack up in his chosen career.

So far, it has been a very fruitful and disciplined life, and we know it will remain so for the rest of his episco­pal work. Bishop Chukwudi Ezeofor has the indisputable ability to stay the course. His, indeed, has been a life of hard work; a life worth emulating. Please raise your glasses for the fresh-minted Bishop of Aguata Diocese.

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