By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, ABUJA
THE Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Hassan Mathew Kukah and Justice Centus Nweze of the Supreme Court are expected to be keynote speakers at the official inauguration of the Old Seminarians Association of Nigeria, OSAN in Abuja.
Other members of the association that will play a key role at the inauguration are a former Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Sir Mike Okiro, a renowned human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Mr Femi Falana,
Mr Falana is expected to serve as Chairman of the occasion alongside the President of the Industrial Court, Justice Benedict Kanyip and other dignitaries.
A statement issued by the Publicity Committee and signed by Vincent Egunyanga and Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively stated that the body was formed to propagate national integration and cultural cohesion.
The statement said it is also “to use our intrinsic values and training to promote national harmony, good ethics and selflessness in public service.
It further said that the association which has its membership cutting across different parts of the country and walks of life was formed for ” the fellowship of love and solidarity among Old Seminarians in Nigeria, irrespective of ethnic and cultural background.”
Also speaking, Chairman of Contact and Mobilization, Dr Ugo Jim Nwoko said “it’s high time Old Catholic seminarians from all over Nigeria came together to put into practice and promote the good values which they were taught while in the junior seminary for a better Nigerian society.”
He bemoaned the sorry state of Nigeria especially on leadership failure and the dearth of good values among citizens.
Dr Jim-Nwoko said the association will utilize its rich and wide membership to provide a new direction 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.
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 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 are 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 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 the 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 hidden. 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 may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” – (Mathew: 5: 15-16)