Celebrating Father Ehusani on Father’s Day,  By Majeed Dahiru

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When Reverend Father George Ehusani called me up to get some of our media cohorts to put out opinions and editorials in commemoration of this year’s Father’s Day, little did he know he was providing inspiration for my own contribution to the significance fatherhood in raising a morally upright family. World over, June 16 is a day set aside to commemorate fatherhood, paternal bond and the influence of fathers in the society. According to Fr George, part of the problem of our society is the dysfunction of its most basic unit of the family arising from irresponsible parenting by its head [father].

 In the words of Father G as we fondly call him, ‘’being a father goes beyond a man’s ability to procreate children to his capability to nurture them into responsible members of the society through his emotional, spiritual, moral and material provision’’, as the prevalent culture of irresponsible fatherhood has exacerbated the general problem of irresponsible citizenry in our dear Nigeria. And there is no better day than Father’s Day for the media to help raise awareness about the need for proper parenting through responsible fatherhood in our beloved country. 

The truism that being a father goes beyond a man’s ability to procreate is most evident in the life of Father George Ehusani, an intellectual priest of the Holy Roman Catholic Church and the executive director of Lux Terra Leadership Foundation; an organisation I have had the privilege of working with for many years. Working closely with Fr George on the many projects embarked upon by his Foundation gave me a rare insight into his vision for humanity of a world that is made better by fraternal love, understanding, accommodation and peaceful coexistence under an atmosphere of freedom, justice, inclusion, equity and fairness. In Father George, my belief in the fact that the purpose of faith is the betterment of humanity is reinforced and that any faith that is devoid of humanism is not of God.

Whilst, Father George is famous for his fiery sermons on social justice, good governance and most recently his earth shaking intervention on the need for the government of Nigeria to pay a living to its long suffering people, not many know that his social crusades stems in part from his desire to bring succour and shared prosperity the many struggling families of Nigeria. In a Christ like manner, Father George is only but a shepherd watching out for security and welfare of his flock using his sermon as a guide towards the righteous direction. And beyond the use of his sermon to preach publicly against vice while admonishing righteousness in high places, Father George is also practicing what he preaches in private.

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Whereas, his oath of celibacy prevents him from activities that could result into procreating children of his own in the over four decades he has been a priest, Father George has become the father of many children. And like the father that Christ Jesus was of the multitude he fed, healed and saved from eternal damnation, Father George has been for the emotional, spiritual, moral and material needs of all that are blessed enough to have their crossed with his. Beginning with those of us that are staff members of Lux Terra Leadership Foundation to members of the various parishes he has conducted priestly duties to members of the surrounding community; Father George has been a father in words and deeds.

Many years ago while serving as the parish priest of the Catholic Church of Assumption in the affluent neighbourhood of Asokoro in Abuja, Father George looked out of the window of his grand cathedral into the surrounding slums of Kpaduma and other villages in search of children to father. Father George understood that for these families to escape the eternal damnation of poverty and misery will be for their children to be provided quality education. So, Father George left the comfort of his affluent neighbourhood and took a walk into the surrounding slums to ‘’adopt’’ over thirty children in the first instance. And with all of them in primary school at the time, Father George took over the payment of their school fees and general welfare until they finished their elementary studies.

Upon completion of their primary education, Father George enrolled them in some of the most prestigious private secondary schools in Asokoro in a manner reminiscent of the good old days when the children of the rich and poor, high and low, small and mighty attended the same school. And it turned out that given equal opportunities and access to quality education, social status is not a barrier to academic excellence as some of Fr George’s children from the slums graduated at the top of their classes at the expensive schools they attended with the children of the rich, high and mighty in Asokoro. To the Glory of God these children have made progress at various institutions of higher learning both at home and overseas. Earlier in the year, we converged on Lux Terra Chapel to celebrate the first graduate among Fr George’s children who bagged an LLB [Hons] Law Degree following his successful Call to the Nigerian Bar. Also in attendance was another of Father George’s daughter who had completed her six year study for a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery [MBBS] and was doing her Housemanship at the National Hospital Abuja.

Clearly, a man does not have to procreate to be a father so long as he takes up the responsibility of fatherhood just as a man’s ability to procreate without taking up the accompanying responsibility fatherhood does not make necessarily make him father. In the life of Father George Ehusani, it is clearly evident that being a father goes beyond just siring children and his good example of responsible fatherhood  should inspire and influence a more appropriate parenting culture in the overall interest of fixing our broken society and upholding moral righteousness in our country Nigeria.

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