Confession: What I Have Not Learned from Peter Obi


Have you read St. Augustine’s “Confessions”? Most confessions are camouflage, but in that book, we see a repentant sinner recalling his past life with regret.

My own confession this morning is that I have learned a lot, almost everything about life, from Mr. Peter Obi, but I have yet to learn the practice of daily attendance at morning Mass. Maybe because it is not accounted as a sin like deliberately not attending Sunday Mass, I have not taken it seriously. Why the reference to Obi and morning Mass?

Yesterday morning, on my way to Nnewi to represent Mr Obi at a function, Mr Jude Atupulazi called me and said that some journalists wished to know if I could arrange for them to talk to Mr Peter Obi about the security situation in Nigeria. According to him, they are on the street, and Nigerians would like to hear his voice on that. Well, because Mr Obi was in town, I told him to arrange for just a few journalists I could take in my car from Awka to Onitsha to see him this morning. I made it clear that having not discussed the matter with His Excellency, we would accept his decision to speak or not speak on the matter in good faith.

Behold, by 7:30 a.m., we arrived at his house to be informed he was in his chapel attending morning Mass. I joined him and was privileged to listen to the sermon by the celebrant, who happens to be his younger brother, Rev. Fr. Fabian Obi. This was how I attended morning Mass today—the daily, saintly practice I am yet to learn from Oga.

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I first encountered Fr. Fabian in 1984, when he was one of our auxiliaries at St. Dominic Savio Seminary, Akpu. Our impression of him then was that of a disciplinarian. I remember once when students were rushing the afternoon prayer preceding lunch amidst fanning. He waited calmly, only to announce at the end of prayers: “Let all fanning stop, let the leader of the prayer be slow and let us start afresh.” Reluctantly, students stopped fanning, but most did not join in the prayer. Again, he repeated: “Let everybody join, let us start afresh.”

I still have many memories of him. In 1984, he spoke at a symposium Seminarians organized, and the topic was “Religious Fanaticism and the Maitatsine Group.” He asked us a question he has yet to answer: “Apilico abu njo?”

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Fr. Fabian had another Seminarian, his bosom friend, who was an auxiliary at St. John Bosco Seminary, Isuaniocha, Rev. Fr. Dr. Cosmas Ebebe, a lecturer at the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA). We had different tales about the two of them, how they even cooked their own food while on apostolic work. They were perceived as so close that we wondered why Fabian did not answer to Damian.

In his sermon, Fr. Fabian, who is the Rector of Tansi Major Seminary in Onitsha and a long-time lecturer in Church history, talked much about St. Peter and St. Paul, whose feast the Catholic Church is commemorating today.

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He preached on different aspects of their lives that should be emulated by Christians. He went as far as letting us know how both were martyred in Rome and how St. Peter’s Basilica, started by Pope Julius II, was built. He told us about Peter’s chair and how the Catholic Church was built on Peter (the 1st Pope) following the direct commission by Christ, thus Christ founded the Church.

Happy St. Peter and St. Paul’s feast to you all.

Thank God HE has agreed to talk to Jude and others. The interview is about commencing.

What are your thoughts?

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