Obiora Francis Ike enjoys excellent relations with wide segments of the society locally and internationally and has over the years been having their goodwill in the discharge of his development works.
Some of his long time friends, development partners and associates celebrate his good works in their tributes to him as he marks his fiftieth birthday anniversary, his twenty-five years priestly anniversary and the twenty years anniversary of his pet project the Catholic Institute for development justice and peace (CIDJAP).
Father of Catholic Social Teaching in Nigeria
Obiora Ike has made disciples of the Church's Social Teaching through the lives he touched. This is why I make bold to call him the "Father of Catholic Social Teaching in Nigeria".
Bishop Calistus Chukwuma Onaga
Bishop of Enugu
An Obedient and Highly Inspired Young Man
Monsignor Obiora Ike is a young, obedient, dynamic and highly inspired young man whose brainchild the Catholic Institute for development justice and peace (CIDJAP), has grown over the last twenty years to positively impact the lives of the clergy, religious and laity of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu and neighboring diocese.
The good works that Monsignor Obiora Ike is doing in Enugu diocese, many priests and the leaders of the people can equally do in their diocese and localities.
Most Rev. Anthony Okonkwo Gbuji
Bishop of Enugu
A Treasure to Our Church and Our Community
I have known Monsignor Prof. Obiora Ike for well over thirty years. We are colleagues in the priestly ministry. He is a gifted person in many fields, socially, intellectually and administratively. He has been a great catalyst of social transformation in this part of the world.
Monsignor Obiora Ike and I have been involved in several momentous interventions too many to recount, but I can particularly recall moments of great physical distress to restore good health to ailing priests and lay persons. He has effectively used his talent in the areas of human communication to bring joy of living and succour to people in all walks of life. We have excellent working relationship with one another.
There is no vocabulary that is no vocabulary that is absolutely positive which does not squarely match with Monsignor Obiora Ike's multifarious talents. He has effectively used his life to serve God and humanity in a very impressive manner. He is a treasure to our Church and our community. I wish him many more years of rewarding service in the Lord's vineyard.
Monsignor Anthony Anijielo
Holy Trinity Parish, Enugu
A Multifaceted Colossus Imbued With Wisdom
I am Mrs. Regina Obiageli Udaba, nee Akilo, a Senior Lecturer in the department of English, University of Nigeria, Nsukka and a doctoral candidate of the same University.
I feel delighted and honoured to be asked to chip in my experience of Monsignor Prof. Obiora Ike, in the capacity I know him. It has been very interesting and pleasant to watch him blossom into my expected personality. Those who had caught him at his bold strides to greatness will little appreciate the life of this wonderful man of God. Monsignor Prof. Obiora Ike was a promising lad of twelve, who accompanied his parents back home to Igboland from the northern part of Nigeria at the wake of civil disturbances of 1966.
I, too, fresh from the Teacher's College, was posted to teach at Saint Patrick's Elementary School Coal Camp, Enugu, where Monsignor Obiora Ike's parents had chosen to put him in order to link up his interrupted education. Obiora was an admirable lad in my class, primary five, exhibiting unparalleled academic performance and precocious learning abilities, coupled with sterling character traits.
All parameters for adjudging positive behavioral traits were measured against him; he was all that was in all. His moral position endeared him to me, his teacher, and to other teachers in the school. He positively influenced his peers made up of three boys of the same age and at the end for the session, he never missed topping the list of all the pupils in all the arms of primary five, totaling about a hundred.
Obviously, he was very smart and no teacher would resist his leadership quality and so he was my class monitor/perfect; his little size then notwithstanding. He was undoubtedly the smallest among his mates but he was mightily endowed. At certain occasions when both of us consulted in some administrative matters, he sharply came up with his suggestions and I marveled at his sagacious feat for that age. As a pupil, he was inadvertently summing up his own impression of this 'Miss' a term use at their own time for a female teacher.
This positive childlike attachment to his 'Miss" was transferred to his parents who came to know me personally and furnished me with 'my son's' progress especially when he went into the seminary. This idyllic relationship continued to thrive till present day. He fondly would call me 'Onye Nkuzi m' meaning my teacher, and he accompanies that greeting with a warm respectful embrace, comparable to the Yoruba unfailing prostration for their elders.
My God-given role and privilege as a co-formator of Monsignor Prof. Obiora Ike, has realized a multifaceted colossus, imbued with wisdom, concern for humanity, a fully focused personality, achiever and above all, a very humble and unassuming character. Although he is in his fifties, he has metaphorically 'washed his hands and now eats with the elders'. So, congratulations 'Nwata kwochaa aka' on your tripartite celebrations. Many more happy returns.
R.O. Udaba (Mrs.)
A Priceless Gift and Blessing to Mankind
I met Monsignor Professor Obiora Ike for the first time in my life in the month of April 2006. Although I have been studying him from a distance for quite a length time, when I met him physically, I was so overwhelmed because all I knew about him before the providential meeting was only a very insignificant fraction of what he really is and represent.
Monsignor Professor Obiora Ike is a priceless gift and blessing to mankind. Meeting him physically convinced me that he is certainly one of those God will look at and either save or condemn our present generation, particularly our country, Nigeria.
I visited his office at the twenty-year old Catholic Institute for Development Justice and Peace (CIDJAP), Enugu, to collect date and information for the research work of the committee on social and economic justice designing a policy and regulatory framework on micro finance and rural development for the Catholic Church in Nigeria.
The elucidations on the real issues of micro financing and economic empowerment people which he has championed for almost nineteen years, made me think about broadening the scope of the research and situating micro finance policy within a global context of the Church's perception of poverty in Nigeria. I feel seriously challenged by his obvious abnegation, altruism and the spirit of service.
Dr. Joseph Nwizah
Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Abuja
Professor Acts Out His Role as a Priest
"My goodness" was my exclamation, when I read the invitation on the celebration of 25years of priesthood of Reverend Monsignor Obiora Ike. I sat back and read it again! I was further amazed when I learnt that he was also celebrating his 50th birthday. I then thought "what a rare gift of God - the Lord has bestowed so much on him, and expects a lot more from him, but of course, I am sure the Lord is pleased with the results, so far!".
I like to address Reverend Monsignor Ike as "Professor", his academic title. This is because reference to him only with his clergy title really underscores the intellectual gift he possesses. Furthermore, it is not all that are endowed intellectually that productively utilize it to uplift humanity. Professor is one who acts out his role as a Priest, in actively pursuing programs that will improve the lives and welfare of the less privileged. He represents what the proper role of the clergy in a developing nation should be; working to develop programs and developing nation should be, working to develop programs and projects that would uplift the physical welfare of the people and therefore, their spiritual well being.
Despite unique talents of intellect, organizational abilities and creativity, that Professor possesses, he remains a simple, unassuming man, with a disarming charm, that easily drives home his evangelism and disarming charm, that easily drives home his evangelism and pushes you to really recognize the beauty of the life of Christ and his mission on earth. He does not shy away from arguing any subject on religious faith with you, comfortable that he is armed with the knowledge of extensive religious research on a broad spectrum of issues, with which he can turn the argument to his advantage.
With his superior communicative abilities, he challenges both the intellectually superior and less, taking you on an exciting journey into the Catholic Faith and truly providing the "raison d' etre" to be a Catholic! Professor, whom I rarely call Monsignor and some other times, just "Father", is blessed with youth and a youthful spirit, which gives him the ability to interact with both the young and old. He gets better with age, and I sincerely hop that he will always maintain the essence of what makes him so respected and admired; charm, intellect, simplicity and youth.
I congratulate you "Father" and pray that the good Lord gives you the health and years to continue to serve him through the upliftment of humanity. I sincerely believe that your achievements to date will be an understatement to the ones ahead. May God bless and keep you!
Chief Loretta Aniagolu
Managing Partner: FIT Consult Limited
Our Amiable Chaplain
The national executive of the Old Girls Association (OGA) of the Holy Rosary College and her members heartily rejoice with our amiable chaplain, Msgr. Prof. Obiora Ike on his Fiftieth Birthday and his Silver Jubilee celebration as a Priest of the most high God.
May God bless him and his apostolate in all ramifications. May our Lady of the Holy Rosary continue to guide and protect him.
Lady Agnes Emelife
Prof. Grace Offorma
A Man of the People
I have known Professor Monsignor Obiora Ike for about thirty years. My most memorable encounter with him was at the Academic Forum in Germany and he is also my fellow director Umuchinemere Community Bank, Rev. Professor Monsignor Obiora Ike is a man of the people. He is always ready to help and motivate people to work hard.
I wish him God's blessing and guidance.
Prof. Julius Onah
Dept of Marketing
University of Nigeria
A Role Model for Many
Monsignor Professor Obiora Ike is the current Chairman of the Growing Business Foundation (GBF), Lagos, which I founded with other stakeholders in 1999. He baptized my two children, Ama and Kuso and also saw to their first holy communion in the Catholic Church. Committed as I am to the sustainable economic development of the people, we in 2001 founded the Micro Enterprise Development Cooperation (MDC), a GBF-CIDJAP partnership. We have since then co-authored and published five books.
It is therefore with great joy that I celebrate the accomplishments of Monsignor Professor Obiora Ike on his Priestly Sliver Jubilee and utilize this opportunity to rededicate him to the continued pursuit of his ideals of integral human development of people as found in the Gospel of John Chapter 10 verse 10.
Obiora Ike is a simple man who has had profound influence on the people since twenty-five years of priesthood, twenty years of his corporate project, the Catholic Institute for Development Justice and Peace (CIDJAP) and the golden age of fifty. CIDJAP works in the spirit of co-operation, partnerships, trust, confidence and sustainable economic development within the small and medium scale enterprises sector, which is one of the key elements for integral human development.
The efforts advanced by Monsignor Professor Obiora Ike have led to the materialization of action on the steps taken to better the lots of the people integrally. In the several years that I have associated and collaborated with Obiora, I have recognized in him as an enthusiast for African values, with deep spirituality, principles, philosophy, self determination and dignity, eloquently symbolized by his maintenance of active interest in Africa symbolized by his maintenance of active interest in Africa culture and people.
He is a prayerful man and his work in the areas of poverty alleviation, people empowerment and sustainable economic development through micro financing has engendered improvements in the overall activities of the simple people for job creation and wealth generation. He is a lover of God and entire creation and has utilized his ideas to develop series of strategies for investing in people and partnerships that have reshaped the lives of many, particularly the youths, the women and the poor.
Working with me and other partners in the "Centre for Ethics, Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility", I have truly found him to be a man that has not only left a legacy through the many projects and initiatives of the CIDJAP, but has continued to strive to build a framework that involves social, ethical and cultural values in individuals, institutions and society at large. Obiora Ike is a role model for many on African shores and beyond. We have not yet heard the last of this man who is a gift on God to Africa.
Ndidi Nnoli Edozien
An Enigma of Selfless Limitless Dimension
The management and staff of Peace Foundation congratulate Monsignor Obiora Ike on his Fiftieth Birthday, Priestly Ordination Silver Jubilee and Twenty Years of CIDJAP. We are talking of an enigma of selfless limitless dimension. The man the gods have blessed. We rejoice with him and say to God the father 'Thou art greatly and mightily benevolent' on our brother, a role model of an achiever, Monsignor Prof. Obiora Ike.
A son of Ezeagu, a star rising from eastern Nigeria and blazing across to various earth bounds. He is the soul of the people and has various earth bounds. He is the soul of the people and has continued to bless people with the true meaning of God's love on mankind, as a practical gospel of God's command.
He will always glow because hits antecedents speak volumes of God's gifts to mankind, materialized in the Catholic Institute of Development, Justice and Peace (CIDJAP) and its various arms, namely, the Internet Center, the farms; the publishing house; the prisoner's project, the bookshop, the library; education course; the micro credit lending; skills acquisition center and etcetera. In health, he is Ntasi Obi Ndi Nona Afufu and in hospitality, the Ofu Obi Africa edifice says welcome.
In economy, his generic vision of Umuchinemere Community Bank holds a vantage anchor for its internationally progressive outlook. In his chosen career to serve his creator, he become a Monsignor before you attained the age of Forty-four and long before his Silver Jubilee as a Priest of the High God in the universal Church. Surely, God rejoices in his faithful success, we are proud of him and together we proclaim God's glory and Honour, Praise and Adoration.
Dr. Chief Mrs. Vero Mogboh
Letter of Appreciation
I write convey my deep gratitude for your wonderful sermon on Easter Monday April 17th 2006 at the Holy Ghost Catholic Cathedral, Enugu, during a thanksgiving service marking the reception of Osita Ogbu Ph.d, Economic Adviser to the President/CEO of the National Planning Commission.
There is no gainsaying that we have been fed and nurtured with spiritual food, which to me, was obviously the best that has been consummated in the last three years or thereabout. The sermon as a matter of fact was inundated with spiritual forthrightness as well as solemn moments that will help us become utter Christo.
To all intent and purpose, it was fit and proper for the recent times and indeed a true reflection of the prevailing circumstances facing us today in Nigeria. Our nation needs healing and this act of humbling ourselves before God and before one another will make room for God to heal the land.
I pray that God will continue to inspire and direct you in the struggle to propagate the ecclesiastical gospel in tandem with the light of the Holy Spirit of enable us reap the necessary indulgence needed for our lives to sublime. May God bless you abundantly.
Senator Ben N. Obi
Illustrious Pupil Of My Class
Things of goodness are to be remembered and can only be temporarily forgotten. I always thank God for his goodness and mercy on us, which he manifested by giving us an illustrious son, Rev. Professor Obiora Ike, a benefactor of the poor. As a primary school teacher, I taught Rev. Professor Obiora in 1962 in the Catholic School, Gombe.
I was teaching class two then and he happened to be in my class. Rev. Obiora Ike is created philosophically and politically. He was the smallest among the pupils in my boys in my class. He was the smallest among the pupils in my class the, but he was created with extra determination. He was smart, obedient and very understanding. In fact, he was a responded with smiles to punishment for wrongdoings.
He performed his duties efficiently and it was his intelligence that inspired me to appoint him as my class monitor and he gave my class the happiness, which is every man's desire. As I mentioned earlier, Rev. Prof. Obiora Ike has a lot of philosophical instincts in him. The spirit of God signified in his infancy that he would be a Priest, a philosopher and a doctor. The evidence was very clear in our drama of 1962 in Jubilee Hotel, Gombe.
The small Obiora Ike nicknamed "Fasco" by his classmates, came out with an advanced learner's dictionary and boldly before the audience declared in his recitation, "I am a natural born philosopher and politician whom God sent to save Africa from philosophical and political anachronism, imperialism and satanic jingoism.."
One that day, God gave him the golden ornament for success in life. I will leave no stone unturned in praising my God for bestowing me with my little knowledge as a class teacher to write about the shining life of one of my pupils. Rev. Dr. Prof. Obiora Ike.
I pray that God in his infinite mercy will continue to shower blessings on Rev. Prof. Obiora Ike as he has chosen him to be a Priest and benefactor of the poor and the needy. May God's name be praised both now and forever. Amen
Amankwo Oghe, Ezeagu LGA, Enugu State
Obiora Ike Imbues Umana Ndiagu With Hope
We express our unalloyed and unflinching gratitude to Monsignor Professor Francis Obiora Ike for his unquantifiable monetary, material and non material contributions toward the development of our dear town, Umana-Ndiagu. It is no exaggeration to state that his single contributions account for more than three quarter of all development projects in Umana-Ndiagu.
The records and the landmarks speak for themselves. Namely; the Saint Mark Catholic Church building, the water project, the Saint Clara Maternity Hospital and the attraction of international organizations to implement multi-million naira projects in our town, to mention but a few.
His love for our community, his assistance to develop the town, his towering contributions in the fields of human development and his personal donations to development ventures endear him to very Umana-Ndiagu indigene including the dead, the living and the unborn. There is no doubt that he is a beacon of light that ways, he has demonstrated the desire to pull Umana-Ndiagu out of ignorance, poverty, disease and hardship. Words alone cannot show the depth of our gratitude or the magnitude of our love for him.
May he live long in good health and abundant energy to render more service to our hometown and the people of God. May God shower him with love and immeasurable blessings.
Umana Ndiagu General Assembly
A Rare Gem
When a man attains a certain age, he looks back to count his gains and losses, and forges ahead to adjust his life for better or worse. At fifty years, Monsignor Obiora Ike has every reason to count his blessings and name them one by one. He celebrates fifty years of lively existence ant Twenty-five years of priestly ministry and to crown in all Twenty years of service of humanity through the relentless efforts of CIDJAP.
I have heard so much about Monsignor "Obiora" that I looked forward with eagerness to meeting him. Little did I realize that the daunting image painted about the achievements and charisma of this man match very little with his physique. I was surprised to see the great and famed "Obiora Ike" when finally met him in December 2005, when the Dominicans into the Diocese of Enugu to engage in pastoral and communication, apostate.
Monsignor Obiora Ike mesmerizes his audience on every occasion with his words. His tongue is simply sweet! He gives one the impression that all is well in every situation, and even when the chips are down, Obiora Ike makes one think that nothing adverse will happen. It is so remarkable how people are moved to action at the instance of this words. It impresses me greatly. He has a way he touches people.
To the young, he speaks their hearts and makes them his friends, even to the point of empowering them to leadership positions. To the older ones, he is a know- it all. One never leaves his presence disappointed or angry because he seems to know where it touches one the most. Everyone who matters in the society knows Obiora Ike or is known by him. The generosity of his heart suffices to quench the yearnings of those who seek his help.
I admire his skill as an eloquent speaker; a voracious reader and a assiduous researcher. Simply put, Monsignor, Professor, Director, Francis Obiora Ike is a rare gem. More power to his elbow.
Ad Multos Anno
Rev. Alex Okondu-Ugba, O.P.
For the Dominicans, Enugu Diocese
A Reflection of the Virtues of Our Saviour Jesus Christ
"Whom shall I Send" (Isaiah 6:8) "The Lord has given him the tongue of those who thought that he may know how to answer well the tired-one with a word" (Isaiah 50:4). The Sliver Jubilee of Priesthood, Fifty years of age and the Twenty years anniversary of the Catholic Institute for Development Justice and Peace (CIDJAP) as an Institute means different things to different people and organizations.
Perhaps, what makes it different is the mission and vision each holds and pursues. While some think this is the time for relaxation for a job well done and enjoyment of the benefits of the works done in the past, others who may not be fortunate enough to have achieved their life goals, do structural adjustment refocusing and re-engineering to ensure a better future. Obi, as he is popularly called by his peers is a man whose dictionary does not contain the word failure.
There are mentors, but we are grateful to God for the special mentoring he gave to us. We call him "A Priceless Gift" because he is really a gift to us from God. He is not just a mentor to his relations and organizations which he founded, friends and his staff, but to everybody around him.
If we are asked to choose a mentor again, we will choose him a "thousand times". His care, humility, kindness, firmness and most especially, his guidance and actions are worth emulating. His concern and feelings for the poor will be his defense at the judgment throne. "For the will stand at the right hand of the poor and they will save him from those judging his soul" (psalm 109:31).
In fact, Fifty years of age is too small compared to the numerous achievements in the areas of education, health, agriculture, poverty reduction, prisoners welfare, economic empowerment through micro credit disbursement to SMEs, children sponsorship and many others, have made him to stand very tall in the midst of others.
Surprisingly, with all these achievements, God's grace and the power of exposure have trimmed him much that he does not see himself as a great man, but for others to praise God for his greatness. "Let another praise you and not your own mouth, a stranger and not your own lips". (Prov. 27:2). He is an unwavering priest, epitome of dedication and commitment to the Catholic Church.
In every situation, he stands out from the crowd reflecting the virtues of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I congratulate him on his Twenty-Five years of being a Catholic Priest, Twenty years anniversary of CIDJAP, which he is the Director and Fifty years of age. On behalf of my family, I join his numerous relations, friends and well wish the world over to wish him more fruitful years in the Lord's vineyard. Amen.
Generosity is the key for Greatness (John Powell)
When he was born, he was given the name Obiora, it was not just a name, but an inspirational name. Since birth, he has been "the mind of the people".
God gave him a very large heart for humanity. His large heart gives hope to the hopeless, joy to the sorrowful, peace to the troubled, food to the poor, light to the blind, feet to the crippled, justice to the oppressed, anchor to drowning souls, smile to the face of Africa and challenge to the entire world.
Humility found a place in him and may God in His love and mercy grant him good health and equally multiply his wisdom.
Dr. & Dr. (Mrs.) Anikwe Ikechukwu
Monsignor Obiora Ike Makes Life Worth Living
Monsignor Obiora Ike is a gift from God. The first day I set my eyes on him, he was full of immeasurable charity. He makes life worth living to fellow men. He is a God-sent father to the fatherless. He has done a lot to alleviate the sufferings of people.
He taught me that self confident is the starting point of the actualization of my dream, and that I should always be nice to people, work hard and be determined in whatever I engage in. Monsignor Obiora Ike is far ahead in his life career and still leading and moving ahead in knowledge wisdom.
He gives the people God's love and he is living by it, such that most times he works without having time to rest, sleep and eat. He is always so busy and always moving on and about meeting the needs of the people. He is a citizen on the world, a noble man, a redeemer, a role model, an extra special man, so real, a true Catholic Priest, ever ready to serve and obey.
God bless Monsignor Obiora Ike. I wish him happy Fiftieth Birthday anniversary and Twenty-fifth anniversary of Priestly ordination. I wish him happiness and abundant blessings.
Obiora Ike Is Holistic In His Prison Pastoral Care
Monsignor Obiora Ike, founder and director of the Catholic Institute for Development Justice and Peace (CIDJAP), Enugu, is holistic in his approach to development in Enugu Prisons where he initiates, develops and ensures the sustenance of projects.There is no area of the Prison system where the footprints of CIDJAP is not left in an effort to give succour to prisoners.
Beds and beddings in the prison clinic, education sponsorship and development for prison inmates, borehole in the prison-yard, facilitation of jail delivery for inmates, building and furnishing of the prison chapel, provision of football and kits for prison inmates, end of year gifts to prisoners and supply of stationeries for administrative works are some of the support of CIDJAP to Enugu Prison.
Professor Obiora Ike's prison pastoral care is indeed a complete reformation of inmates, reorientation of inmates for better tomorrow and the reintegration and resettlement of ex prisoners into the society. I thank Obiora Ike for his steadfast love to the inmates and authorities of Enugu Institute for Development Justice and Peace.
Dickson N. Wambayi
Deputy Comptroller of Prisons
Obiora Ike Puts Smiles On People's Faces
God created everybody to be part of his plan to meet people's need, to be an answer to people's question and to put smiles on people's faces. I observed these great virtues in Monsignor Obiora Ike within the few months I served manager of the CIDJAP Press.
I observed the way he relates with people, both poor and rich. He brings himself to the level of all manners of people. I always see smiles on his face and it is a sign of welcoming everybody, even angels to himself without eve knowing it as he celebrates Twenty-five-year-Priestly anniversary, thousands of people are somewhere looking for someone like him to put smiles on their faces.
They can only get the smiles if other people learn from him and do like-wise, and the world will be a better place. My prayer is that he continues in this way and God will even increase and lift him more than he is presently.
Elam Ezekiel Chidama
Hong LGA, Adamawa State.
On this glorious moment, with every lips filled with praises for Monsignor Professor Obiora Ike and the whole air rhapsodically agog with mirth for a colossus of intelligence and an epitome of human kindness as reflected in his name, 'Obiora', I join my voice to myriads of voices from the world over to wish him many more, fruitful years on earth and in the vineyard of the Lord.
My joy stems from a unique background, because it is the joy of the son unto the father. He picked me up when I was little, and endowed me with his super abundant knowledge. He taught me comportment in priestly life and instilled in me the courage and boldness to grapple with the varying vicissitudes of life without recourse to human but divine assistance.
Thus, even my own name, "Chukwubuike" God is my strength, made greater sense to me and became a deep source of strength to me. I bless the day that he born and I know that the good Lord who has already begun this meritorious work in him will bring it to an accomplished end. Happy Birthday and hearty congratulations Monsignor.
Fr. Hilary Chibuike Ike.
Answer The Call Of The Poor
Rev. Monsignor Prof. Dr, Obiora Ike is a famous man that I have been hearing about all my life. The fist day I met him was on 1st April 2002 at his house in Enugu. That day was the day I saw a real human being that is a gift to the world, and particularly to me as a person. He reformed me and taught me how to have self confidence and dedication to duty.
In spite of his high level of education and his personality, he loves to associate with everybody. He is the voice of the voiceless and the answer to the call of the poor. He is caring. He loves decency, punctuality and justice. He is always there to ensure justice
An Inspirer and Provider
Jesus Christ is his model, inspirer, motivator and guide, but Reverend Monsignor Professor Obiora Ike is a model, inspirer and provider to millions of people in Africa and the world over. A young Catholic Reverend Father, ordained in the power, order and service of Melchizedek, Monsignor has gathered several aplomb and laurels as a man who stands for, protects and fights for the poor, the voiceless and the helpless.
Through his Twenty-five years experience as a Catholic priest, Monsignor is a visible presence who gives Christly succour, joy, justice and help to all people at all times, in all manners of social interventions, espoused by the true spirit and letters of the Catholic Social Teachings and the wordings of Gaudium et Spes.
His leadership qualities and competencies are amazing; his appreciation of the human condition is startling; his mind and its contents are simply encyclopedic his capacity to cheer and give relief to the distressed and pained is spontaneous; he is simply a Christly figure who loves humanity as only a divine figure could.
His humility and simplicity is even delectable and unsurpassed when we remember that the Achilles heel of most accomplished global leaders is arrogance and an over-sized ego. Monsignor is a man with several academic laurels and distinctions in more than seven of his words, a man of action who has the best practical lessons for all who are into NGO, research and community development.
With CIDJAP, Monsignor Ike has shown that he is a visionary par excellence and a program planner whose transparency and prudent management of human, material and financial resources is not only a demonstration of excellent leadership framework and management competence, but a skillful and successful combination of vision with good planning.
His sermons and preachments during mass are like the sweet and short words of Jesus moving direct into the soul for salvation and Upliftment. Monsignor Obiora Ike is a millennium man of God who cries each time the poor cries, and rejoices each time the poor is not only saved from sin but also from hunger.
Dr. Ani Casimir
A Moving Force
Monsignor professor Obiora Ike is my colleague on the board of Umuchinemere Community Bank (UCB) Nigeria Limited, Enugu. He is in fact the moving force behind the rapid growth, development and outstanding successes recorded by the bank within a short space of time in its history. He is a workaholic, full of winning ideas and so energetic.
Obiora is a goal getter and has been employing his intellect and wisdom to ensure that the bank retains its Catholic character, remains international in outlook, African in nature and the Igbo in resilience. Obiora is a creator of joy. He is a very admirable person with an infectious smile. He has my best wishes and may God continue to bless him with top health and long life.
Chief Sir A.E.O. Nwachukwu
Rotoney Investments Limited
I feel very excited and delighted to comment on Monsignor Prof. Obiora Ike. I believe that the reward for hard work is more hard work and I think that the main purpose of his coming to the world was to intensify and stimulate the teaching and works of our Lord Jesus Christ in a grand style. Of course, his concepts and system of bringing succour, justice and peace to the people is second to none, to God be the glory.
I have associated and worked with Monsignor Prof. Obiora Ike in the areas of human development and socio-economic well being of the people, that is, loaning funds for small enterprises. He saw the marginalized, the down-trodden and the poor and sought for the best solution to alleviate their sufferings. He discovered that self realization, self help and self reliance are the answer.
However, he is acknowledged as a social crusader whose tent is pitched on justice, fair play and equity for all men. He identified poverty, hunger, sickness and unemployment as serious problems and distraction for mankind to enjoy the God given comfort in the world. He also noted that ignorance amongst our people was a dangerous disease which must be fought and eliminated.
To fight all these ills in the society, he devised and nurtured the system of establishing institution that can initiate programs aimed at developing and creating conducive atmosphere and enabling conditions for annunciating a better life for the people. Some of the institutions he founded and established include the Small and Medium Scale Promotion and Training Association (SEPTA), the Grass Root Women Education Development Empowerment (GWEDE), the Small Project Fund (SPF) human resources development centre, the Vocational/Industrial Teaching Training Centre (VITTC) and Nazareth House Skills Centre for Woman.
The above institutions are where I have associated and worked very actively with Monsignor Prof. Obiora Ike. May I humbly confess that this period was a period of learning, emulating hard work and dedication to the best of my ability. At any rate, those who know him well know that he mostly would work to early hours of the morning before he takes a short sleep to continue again where he stopped the same day.
In conclusion, it suffices to say that this minister of God's sanctuary has been able to empower and motivate the marginalized and the poor into exalted, respectable heights in their own rights, reduced poverty and enhanced sustainable livelihood through dynamic and innovative systems and programs aimed at creating peaceful co-existence, justice and fair play for the stability of the world.
Finally, may God be the glory for the grace of wisdom and knowledge which he bestowed on his humble servant, Msgr. Prof. Obiora Ike, who has been making a lot of things to happen so that the poor and marginalized will triumph as children of God. The reward of hard work is more hand work and I pray God to give him more strength and courage to stand the challenges of the future.
Engr. Stephen Onyeama
Solomon Of Our Time
Msgr. Prof. Obiora Ike is a goal-getter; he exhibits and expects perfection, no long stories. His activities center more on helping the needy, the poor, the oppressed and the destitute, whom he is their mouth piece and strength. He is a man for everybody, the rich and poor, big and small, even the mal-adjusted. He appreciates people with high intellect.
As Chaplain of the Holy Rosary College, Enugu, where I was once a teacher, his ministrations were very encouraging. At the Sacred Heart parish Enugu, where I worship, his sermons inspire me to understand the true meaning of life and the magnitude of God's conferences and workshops, he always takes the lead and his presence must be felt because he gives insight to participants on topical issues of the moment around the world.
In one of his projects 'Olu Aka di Mma' (VITTC), Enugu, he gives youths, school drop-ousts and destitute life and hope through various technical and vocational training, Msgr. Prof. Obiora Ike 'The Solomon of our Time'
A Benefactor Of Prison Inmates
My name is Cosmas Ezeh, a native of Obollo-Eke, Udenu Local Government Area, Enugu State and a condemned convict of Enugu Prison. I have known CIDJAP through Monsignor Obiora Ike for about ten years and they relate to me in terms of my Christian faith.
CIDJAP cares for the less privileged, sponsors prison schools and has equipped the prison's clinic up to the standards that meet the needs of inmates. The institute has done many great things for the oppressed inmates of Enugu prison and helped them regain their freedom.
Monsignor Obiora Ike has impacted my person through the word of God, helped take me away from the darkness and towards the light and helped me know that I can prosper without crime. CIDJAP has bought drugs and other necessities for me. Monsignor Obiora Ike is provider, a supporter, is giver, hope and charity.
In my words, CIDJAP has brought succor and relief to the needy especially we the inmates of Enugu Prison death-row. Through the efforts of Monsignor Obiora Ike, CIDJAP has lifted the souls of the inmates. I wish 'Monsignor Obiora Ike' more prosperous years in Jesus name. Amen.
Condemned Convict, Enugu Prison
All Will Go Well For Him
I congratulate Monsignor Obiora Ike on the celebration of his Fiftieth Birthday, Priestly Ordination Sliver Jubilee and Twenty years of CIDJAP. Because Monsignor fears the Lord and honors him, he will be blessed with happiness and joy. To honor the Lord is a heartfelt delight, and it will give him a long happy life, and at the end, all will go well for him. God will bless him.
I have known CIDJAP for six years and I commend Monsignor Obiora Ike and the CIDJAP family members for their good works in Enugu Prison, because they take care of the prisoners health, care for the prisoners welfare, help prisoners to get released, take care of the prisoners reformation an rehabilitation, and help the illiterate prisoners to become literate.
I have spent eighteen years in prison and I am confident that Monsignor Obiora Ike will not leave me.
A True Servant of God
My name is Linus Iyame Agbo. I was trader before I had a case which led me to the prison. I have known CIDJAP since year 2000 and my relationship cannot be expressed with words. The activities of the institute are numerous and it has been taking care of my needs since six years now.
Monsignor Obiora Ike through the institute has taught me to love and the share. As a condemned convict, the institute has gone a long way in soliciting for mercy on behalf of prisoners, and this is where it affects me most. CIDJAP is wonderful. Professor Obiora Ike is my Priest and the Prison Chaplain.
He is the voice of the voiceless, the help of the helpless. He is a true servant of God who preaches love, peace, repentance and justice. He is humble and his manner towards every matter impacted my person so much. Monsignor Obiora Ike has tirelessly improved the lives of many and has rescued a lot of persons denied justice. Monsignor is a mirror of a better world.
Linus Iyame Agbo
Condemned Convict, Enugu Prison.
The Beginning Of A True Legend
Obiora Ike is a shinning star. At Fifty years of age, he continues to sparkle. At Fifty, his life has only just began. At Fifty, he still has many more pastoral, intellectual and social miles to run. At Fifty, he still has so many people to inspire, encourage and mentor. At Fifty, he still has so many people to meet their needs.
At Fifty, the prophesy of Reverend Father O'Shea SJ, an Irish, has been validated. At Fifty, Obiora Francis Bartholomew Ike has only just started on the road to emergences as the first 'Saint Obuoha' in manifestation of the May 1956 presage of Richard Maduabuchi Ike for his beloved infant boy he gave the spiritual name Obuoha. The light shines on.
From the beginning of this Biography to the end, there has been out pouring of euphoria, love, admiration and best wishes for Obiora Francis Bartholomew Ike, a true legend best distinguished Christian statesman, who works with the spirit of God that has continuously put him on the lead. This Biography is a code and a blueprint for high performance. It is a white paper and a road map for people aspiring for selfless service. This Biography is a propeller and a moving true life story.
It is the beginning of the life and works of Obiora Ike, a powerful and influential man, whose work ethics make him record and give good account of every second, minutes, hour, day, month and year of his life. This is the beginning of a lesson on excellence, and a lesson for the perfection of God's given gifts God and mankind, and a lesson on hard work and determination.
This is the beginning of an incredible source of hope and inspiration to the people. This the beginning of a challenge to priesthood and a shift from shepherding the flocks just with the bible and only from the altar, but a time to pastor the people with the bible and empowerment that put bread on their table.
This beginning of great things to happen and a foretaste with his winsome voice, smile and carriage. This is the beginning of the beginning pf great things to happen and a foretaste of the life and works of Obiora Francis Bartholomew Ike, a man with the mid as touch, who turns everything to gold.
F. A. Nnengene Nwaolisa
Obiora Ike: Father of Catholic Social Teaching in Nigeria
Catholic Social Ethics is a branch of systematic theology which concerns itself with the systematization of the Churches social, economic political and ethical pronouncements and their methods of application in real life. It is a "foot on the ground theology and not an armchair bourgeois Theology". It has "fundamenatum in re". It is all about the Churches approach to "Social questions".
Some call it the theology of 'Church and society', since it give insight into the stand of the Church in respect to the dignity of labour, the person of the worker, just wage, peace and justice, ideal politicking, the fate prisoners, the role of the family, nuclear armament, integral human development, structural development, ethics of budgeting and sate economy, the role of the sate and that of the individual.
Unfortunately, our seminaries merely gloss over these aspects of priestly formation and do not include them in their curriculum except in relation to moral theology or Ecclesiology. It was thus a thing of joy when scholars from other European traditions besides the Roman tradition started to make in road into the Nigeria Philosophical and theological shores. The Ihejiofors in philosophy and the Ugorjis and the Uzukwus in theology did their best, but, then, intelligence and degrees abound, but applicability was insufficient.
In 1966 however, a radical and dazzling radiance encompassed the socio-religious, socio-economic, socio-political and socio-cultural terrain of Nigeria. From then, it was no longer how intelligent or how many degrees a scholar from overseas studies have, but, to what extent the knowledge impacts on the Nigeria society. Then, a young Priest fresh from studies in Austria Germany, returned home to Nigeria a Social Ethicist and a political Scientist among others.
Above all, he returned and infected the society with t he positive results of his studies abroad. He proved the saying that "People who make concrete changes in the world also live and work in the practical world-not just the world of idea". Very Rev. Msgr. Prof. Obiora Ike has depth, praxis and the ability to effect the necessary change. As it were, he is the first known Social Ethicist in Nigeria.
He majored in Catholic Social Ethics under Professor Lother Roos of the famous University of Bonn, and although he finished his studies more than two decades ago, the University till today remembers him with great respect. He returned immediately after studies and his major worry was the social situation he met in the country and which made him to immediately establish an Institute to help him realize his social message.
Being a man of two natures, depth and practice, and having been formed in a culture that cherishes the applicability of acquired knowledge, this child of his brain was to reflect this quest and objective. Without going into the details of how he started, le us know that Monsignor Obiora Ike built and established the Catholic Institute for Development Justice and Peace (CIDJAP).
The symbol of the Papal Social Doctrine in Africa. From this Institute, both the practical and theoretical Social Ethical Teaching of the Church as already enumerated started spreading to dioceses, the province and the entire nation. Through international, national, provincial, and diocesan seminars organised by CIDJAP, he was able to enlighten, liberate and empower the academically ignorant, the socio-economically marginalized and the politically downtrodden in our society.
This is in line with his understanding of the mission of the Church in Nigeria. According to him: The first task of the Church would involve working out a sound, forceful and authentically biblical theory of development of the whole human person with special emphasis on social justice. The second task is to come out every strongly in defense of human rights, human worth and human dignity. The third task is a challenge on Church members to make faith relevant in action and translate the 'good news' within their own milieu.'
He has been consistent with his mission in his own right. This is why he has more than three hundred employee in the different projects he solely attracted to the Catholic Diocese of Enugu. Many people where trained is Israel, Austria, Germany, England and parts of Africa in various fields through his influence. Many Priests within and outside Enugu got scholarships to study overseas as a result of his effort.
Many sick people have received treatment overseas, through his instrumentality. Many women are sustaining their families today through GWEDE, the micro credit scheme for women he established. Many prisoners have repented and are rehabilitated through his preaching and actions. Many people who were homeless and abandoned have gotten shelter and a new lease of life through his "Nwanne Di Na Mba" Social Housing Scheme. Many doctors, nurses and their patients have gotten succor through the numerous medical assistance give by Monsignor Obiora Ike.
Over five hundred persons are at present enjoying the scholarship scheme provided by him through CIDJAP. One has to stop somewhere but not without mentioning his political influence in this State Enugu. He even went through turbulent times because he was fighting for the rights of the rights citizens of Enugu State.
According to Joseph Cardinal Hoffner: "even if the most important task of Christian Social Teaching is to investigate the socio-metaphysical, socio-ethical, and socio-theological foundations, it must nevertheless always be concerned to understand 'the signs of the time' Monsignor Obiora Ike, the Social Ethicist, not only understand this signs but acts according to tit.
Today, many Priests in Nigeria are specialists and some currently specializing in Catholic Social Ethics following the foot steps of Monsignor Obiora Ike as he is fondly called. Actually, almost every diocese in Onitsha and Owerri Provinces sent Priests abroad to specialize in Catholic Social Ethics following the good works of Monsignor Obiora Ike.
In the same way, may diocese in Nigeria have invited him to unravel the mystery behind his success through talks and seminars. In his opening speech at the first ever inter-continental symposium on the 'Social Question' held 1991 in Nigeria, he said: Respected and revered guests, distinguished scholars, ladies and gentlemen, in deciding to organize this inter-continental symposium, we also chose to create awareness among our people of the great truths contained in the Church's Social Teaching which have remained largely unknown among our people within the pas one hundred years".
Today, we can all testify that he has not only created this awareness but has also made disciples of this awareness through the lives he touched. This is why I make bold to call him the "Father of Catholic Social Teaching in Nigeria". That is what he truly is and represents. I wish him many more years and dexterity in making positive change in the lives of many.
Rev. Fr. Dr. C.V.C. Onaga
Vicar General, Catholic Diocese Enugu
Msgr Obiora Ike a Cheerful Giver
"When a man has done his best, has given his all, and in the process supplied the needs of his constituency, his community, his parishioners, and his society, that man has succeeded".
Professor Monsignor Onwa n' etilora Obiora Francis Ike, you have succeeded in these 30 years of Priesthood and 55 years of your Life. As a priest, spiritual guardian, preacher, teacher, theologian and evangelist, you have steered a lot of individuals and families on the road to moral rectitude and heavenly bliss.
As a wordsmith, a man with the gift of articulate speech, pure, humane, instructive and therapeutic words tumble out of your mouth so effortlessly and always the right words for every occasion or situation. When you combine this gift with your compassion, fatherliness, human rights activism and philanthropy, you have saved and continues to save, a lot of people, young and old, from the jackboots of the injustices, poverty, tyranny, cultural dehumanizing processes, sadism and the hopelessness and helplessness that characterize our society.
Obiora Ike is of immense help to the Catholic Diocese of Enugu. He has contributed his knowledge not only to the development of the Church but to the betterment of humanity.
Late Bishop Michael Ugwu Eneja