The ancient Mbutu community in Aboh Mbaise Local Council of Imo State stood still on Saturday, 29th of September 2012. Ceaseless sirens altering the idyllic nature Mbutu tells of special occasion in the community. Sea of heads dotted the community, streaming into the elegant home of the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and Saint Peter’s Anglican Church premises. Both the home of Hon. Ihedioha and the church premises wore ornamental, inviting outlook to capture the real essence of the events. It was all for one Woman, Dame Dorathy Ihedioha.
The event was the celebration of 80 years birthday anniversary of Dame Dorathy Ihedioha, beloved mother of the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and the dedication of Saint Peter’s Anglican Church in Mbutu.
From Owerri, the capital of Imo State, Sam Mbakwe Airport and other strategic areas of the State there were signs that the state was playing host to unusual but high profile guests. Apart from the fact that most hotels were fully booked by the guests, the Airport witnessed unprecedented flight operations. Unusual crowds milled around the Airport on Friday preceding the event to welcome guests and on the day of the events as well.
Expectedly, there was build-up of vehicular traffic on the major roads leading to Mbutu, all day long on Saturday. Not even the heavy down pour in the early hours of the day deterred the guests from attending. It was a day the officers of the Road Safety Commission, the police and Nigeria Civil Defence and Security had a hectic day controlling the traffic.
There was a long list of important persons from across Nigeria. A checklist of high profile personalities who attended included; the Senate President , Senator David Mark, his deputy Senator Ike Ekweremadu; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and the deputy leader of the Senate and House- Senator Abdul Ningi and Hon. Leo Ogor. Former Deputy Speakers, Rt. Hon. Austin Opara, Rt. Hon. Usman Nafada and former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Mantu were also present. Also in attendance were several members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, including Senators Andy Uba, Chris Ngige; Hon Abike Dabiri and a host of others.
The Governors list of attendance was equally a long one. It included Imo State Governor, Anayo Rochas Okorocha; Anambra State Governor, Mr Peter Obi; Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji; Cross River State Governor, Chief Liyel Imoke; River State Governor, Rt. Hon Rotimi Amaechi; Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole. Former Governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim and former Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke also attended the event. Indeed, the Governors tried to outdo one another in style and grace as loud ovation from the crowd heralded their procession into the venue.
Also at the event were Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah; Senators Ike Nwachukwu, Ifeanyi Arurume, Authur Nzeribe , Anie Okonkwo; Prof Dora Akinyuli, Prof Ndi Onyuike-Okereke, Dr Walter Ofonagoro, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and several others. The captains of industry included widely acclaimed richest person in Africa, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Tony Elumelu, and several others.
At the Church dedication, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh blessed the people and enjoined them to have faith in God. The church building was recently expanded and refurbished in such a manner that it would compete favourably with any elegant but modern church building located in any part of the world.
The new Saint Peters Anglican church is an architectural masterpiece decked with well-designed, fascinating pillars and glittering marble that emphasize sophistication and decency. It thus etches in the mind of the people of Mbutu and their guests an impression of a richly ornamental temple which King Solomon built for the Lord. As it is well known, Hon Emeka Ihedioha, facilitated and contributed immensely towards the accomplishment of the church project.
In his remarks the Anglican Primate expressed deep appreciation for the central role played by Hon Ihedioha in ensuring the realisation of the project. He explained the significance of dedicating the church to God with saying that the dedication has enabled the church to be set apart for holiness. He extolled the virtues of Dame Dorathy Ihedioha stressing that the celebrant is a personification of God’s blessings.
Dame Ihedioha is a retired teacher, a community leader, devout Christian who has worked for the Anglican Communion in different capacities. These have earned her several top awards in the church. At 80 she still walks tall, hale and hearty. The Primate attributed this to the glory of God radiating in her. He called on government not to be playing politics with pensioners fund as they need the money to take care of their old age.
•Uganwa is SA Media and Publicity to the Deputy Speaker
Senate President, Senator David Mark praised Hon Ihedioha for facilitating the church project thereby putting God first. He expressed contentment that unlike the penchant of many others, they were invited to the event to dedicate the church building and not to donate for the church project. Unmistakably, for a long time to come these events would form agenda of discussions in Mbutu, Imo State and the entire South East region.