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By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

A former Inspector -General of Police ,Sir Mike Okiro, the renowned human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), and APC chieftain and Governorship candidate in 2019 election in Cross-Rivers State, Senator John Owan -Enoh are expected to play key roles at the official inauguration of Old Seminarians Association of Nigeria, OSAN in Abuja.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Falana is expected to serve as Chairman of the occasion, while the erudite Jurist , Centus Nweze of the Supreme Court is slated as one of those to deliver the keynote speeche which will center on the unity of Nigeria and discipline among the citizenry .

A statement issued by the Association, signed by the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Publicity Committee Mr. Vincent Egunyanga and Comrade Johnbosco Agbakwuru, respectively, stated that the body was formed to propagate national integration and cultural cohesion.

According to the statement, other prominent members of OSAN expected to play key roles at the inauguration are the President of Industrial Court, Justice Benedict Kanyip, as well as a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Ambassador Joe Keshia.

Others include the Clerk of House of Representatives, Chinedu Akubueze, a Commissioner Federal Civil Service Commission, Obong Simon Etim, the Vice Chancellor, Veritas University of Nigeria, Professor Hycinth Icheoku, the Chief of Staff to the Adamawa State Governor, Professor Maxwell Gidado (SAN), Ambassador Mike Kurforiji, Senator Ikechukwu Obiora and Dr. Ndubuisi Osuagwu of University of Calabar.

The statement further stated that the coming together of Old Seminarians was also “to use our intrinsic values and training to promote national harmony, good ethics and selflessness in Nigeria’s public life.

The association which draws its membership from former students of Catholic Seminaries across the country and beyond was formed for ” the fellowship of love and solidarity among Old Seminarians in Nigeria, irrespective of ethnic and cultural background.”

The statement quoted Chairman of Contact and Mobilization Committee of the association, Dr. Ugo Jim Nwoko as saying that “it’s high time Old seminarians from all over Nigeria came together to put into practice and promote the good values which they were brought up with as young people in the seminary for a better Nigerian society.”

He bemoaned the sorry state of Nigeria especially on leadership failure and dearth of good values among citizens.

On his part, the Vice- Chairman of the OSAN Inauguration Committtee, Ambrose Obioha said the association will utilize its rich and wide membership to provide a new orientation and value -redirection for the country in all spheres of national life.He further enjoined all Old seminarians from all across Nigeria to be part of the association especially now that it is at its formation stages.

Speaking further on membership criterion, Dr Jim-Nwoko explained that membership is open to all old Catholic Seminarians across Nigeria.

He noted that, “Whereas it is a very well-known fact that education is power, and qualitative education becomes a veritable instrument for social transformation; no version of educational curriculum and system assumes superiority to Catholic education.

“Catholic education has been adjudged an outstanding variant of human development package and formation all over the world. This is why most families globally crave for Catholic education through catholic schools for their children and wards, irrespective of their belief systems.

“They may be Hindus, Atheists, Muslims, Buddhists or Christians of other denominations; Catholic schools as run by the likes of the Jesuits, the Dominicans, the SMA Father, St Patrick’ missionaries, Spiritans, Franciscans, Vincentians congregations, Marist Brothers, Reverend Sisters of diverse Order, Catholic Diocesan and/Arch-diocesan Presbyteries; to mention but a few, attract a lot of patronage from people of diverse religious and belief systems.

“This is also enhanced by the non-discriminatory practices, systems and policies of the Catholic Church in dispensing its social services or in the exercise of the Church’s social teachings and responsibilities.

“Catholic education and civilization is attractive to both the poor and the rich globally; because of its richness and embodiment of values that make for the total man-modelled after the values propounded by Jesus Christ.

“Values that have been tested and trusted over the ages and several centuries, which have stood the test of time. Education, that is relevant and impactful in all societies and in all circumstances; and imbues in its beneficiaries values of respect and dignity for the human person.

“Progressive, developed and modern civilizations have copied a lot from the Catholic values and civilization. The Catholic Church as the oldest institution in the world is a testimonial to its enduring virtues and values; and the reason, modern human institutions in the world admire to emulate it.

“The staying power, values and modest virtues that beautify catholic education are certainly, diluted abstractions from the curriculum and formation handbook of the Catholic seminary.

“The seminary is not a secondary school; it rather has secondary education as its integral part, it is much more than the usual secular post-primary institution. It is a nursery home, separated from the secular world for the formation of new human persons who will function as the light of world and a salt of the earth. A Day In The Seminary Is Never A Joke!

“It is therefore necessary at this stage of Nigeria’s social, political and economic history and development for those who were opportune and privileged to receive the seminary training to boldly come out and put to use their capacities, competences and character in favour of the larger Nigerian society and its people; just like Jesus Christ our Master admonished. “You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house.

“So let your light shine before men, that they to may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” – (Mathew: 5: 15-16)