By Mercy Hill
On Saturday, 26th October 2019, the popular Alex Ekwueme Square in Awka was a beehive of activities and a convergence of the crème de la crème in the society as the Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Sen. Uche Lilian Ekwunife (IYOM), celebrated an interdenominational thanksgiving service in praise to God for her landslide victory at the polls during the last general elections in February, 2019.
Sen. Ekwunife who is popularly known for quite representation of her people in the house, evident in the several achievements she had both as a mother, wife and public servant, gathered people of different tribes, religious beliefs and sect to thank God for having enjoyed God’s benevolent gifts and successes.
Speaking during the homily at the Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus C. Ezeokafor, represented by the Director of the Social Communication Department, Catholic Diocese of Awka, and the Director Fides Media Limited, Rev. Fr. Dr. Martin Anusi, said that Christians, especially leaders, should imbibe the attitude of thanksgiving, as he themed his reflection “Leadership as a Vocation’. He explained that leadership existed in two vital levels of which one was explained in the book of Isaiah 63:7-9, where the prophet Isaiah, thanked God for his lovingkindness and great goodness on the account of others. Also, he noted the second level as reflected in the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, where he recalled the glorious works of God and thanked him for the position he was given to do for others
Fr. Anusi summed these up to say that Leadership was a vocation and as such it went beyond carrying out daily duties but thanking God through good services to humanity.
He explained further that Sen. Uche Ekwunife, understood that leadership was an opportunity given to her by God to serve and had come to thank Him, even though she was only carrying out the physical thanksgiving because she had already been thanking God through her good works and service to humanity.
He then advised that Leaders all over the country would imbibe such attribute to thanking God constantly through their dedicated services to the people they represent.
Anyanwu Nri women accompanying her to the altar for offertory
The Archbishop on the Niger, Rt. Rev’d. Godwin Izundu Nmezinwa Okpala and the Bishop of Awka Diocese, Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev’d Alexandra Chibuzor Ibezim, represented by the Bishop of Eha- Amufu Diocese, Rt. Rev’d Daniel Olinya, expressed joy and admiration over her good works, noting that it had earned her the love and support of her people. While he prayed for God’s everlasting covering over her and her family.
The interdenominational Service had in attendance lovers and supporters of the party from across the state who came to share in her joy and celebrate God’s graciousness over the years. Fides observed that admirers from other political parties were not left out as Governors and political stalwarts from other states graced the epoch occasion to celebrate the political icon.
Speaking during the event, the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi eulogized Sen. Ekwunife, noting that she had demonstrated her capacity as a leader and a thorough party member by bringing different leaders of thoughts and elder statesmen together to celebrate the historic victory.
He advised that all leaders should endeavor to use all funds generated by the government to improve the society.
Representing all the state Governors at the event, was the Governor of Imo state, Rt.Hon. Chukwuemeka Ihedioha, who commended her sagacity well demonstrated in the last elections and with the involvement of all a sundry in the thanksgiving service. He added that her works had earned her the title ‘a man in woman’s body’.
In her vote of thanks, Sen. Uche Lilian Ekwunife (IYOM), thanked all who were present at the event while she boasted of God’s faithfulness and graciousness towards her household. She appreciated in a special way her husband, Larry Ekwunife, who she described as a living saint. ‘He had always been supportive, not minding the negative things people say of female politicians’ she said.
Also, she thanked Ndi Anambra for demonstrating their unalloyed support and love at the polls during the general elections. While she promised to continuously in her capacity give voice to the people through her representation at the house.
Other people who attended the event were the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Governor of Adamawa State, Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, a former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, traditional rulers amongst others.
It would be recalled that the Lawmaker representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Sen. Uche Ekwunife (IYOM) polled a total of 18,412 votes ahead of her counterparts in the last general elections which made her the winner of the Anambra Central Senatorial District.