Jonathan, S/East governors, Archbishops, others to grace Archbishop Anikwenwa’s burial

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By Stanley Nwanosike

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), says former President Goodluck  Jonathan and South-East Governors, led by Gov. Chukwuma Soludo, will attend the burial of late Most Rev. Maxwell Anikwenwa, the age-long Dean of the Church of Nigeria.

“Other dignitaries who will attend are: Archbishops, bishops and overseers of churches; Prince Arthur Eze, an international business mogul; Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly, Chief Somtochukwu Udeze, and many others,” the Archbishop Ecclesiastical Province on the Niger, Most Rev. Alexander Ibezim, said.

Ibezim, who also doubles as the Anglican Bishop of Awka Diocese, said this in a statement he signed and released on Thursday in Enugu on behalf of the Church of Nigeria, announcing the burial schedule of Archbishop Anikwenwa.

The statement was also signed by the Chairman, planning committee of the burial, Dr Emma Ezenwaji, and Ven. Uche Anikwenwa for Anikwenwa’s family.

Ibezim said that the remains of the former Dean had begun its final journey home from June 13.

He said the obsequies for Anikwenwa began with an evening of tributes, held at the National Christian Centre Central Business District, Abuja, on Tuesday, June 13 by 5pm, and another, to hold at Paul University, Awka, Anambra, on Tuesday, June 27, at 11am.

“The evening of tributes will be followed by Service of Songs, first, at St. James Church, Awkuzu, Anambra on Sunday, June 25; at Church of the Pentecost, Awka, on Monday, June 26, at 4pm and then at the Basilica of St. Andrew’s Onitsha, Anambra, on June 26 at 5pm.

“Wednesday, June 28, will be the lying in State at Archbishop Anikwenwa’s country home, Awkuzu, at 1pm, while commendation service will be held at St. Peter’s  Church, Awkuzu, the same day at 4pm.

“Anikwenwa’s body will leave Iyienu Mission Hospital Mortuary, Ogidi, to Awka on Thursday, June 29 at 6am for lying in State at his Awka Residence, No 1 Nnediogo Crescent by Demonstration Sch. Road, Ifite-Awka, Commissioner’s Quarters, between 7am and 9am.

“The funeral service for the late Archbishop Anikwenwa will take place at the Cathedral Church of St. Faith, Awka, Anambra, on June 29 at 11am, before his remains are moved to his native parish which is St. Peter’s Church, Awkuzu, later in the evening for interment,” he said.

The archbishop said other activities, including condolences at the late Archbishop’s Awkuzu residence (Amara Grace House), Awkuzu funeral rites, as well as condolences by the late Bishop’s in-laws at the same venue on Friday, June 30.

“The condolences will continue on Saturday, July 1, while burial activities will be concluded on Sunday, July 2, with an 8am outing service at St. Peters Church, Awkuzu,” he said.

It would be recalled that Anikwenwa died on March 13, 2023, as announced by the Secretary General of the Church of Nigeria, Bishop Anthony Poggo. He died at the age of 83.

Archbishop Anikwenwa was the former Archbishop of Province II and the retired Bishop of Awka Diocese (Anglican Communion).

He was born in Anambra State in 1940, was educated at Trinity Theological College, Umuahia, and was ordained priest in December 1966.

He was appointed the first Bishop of Awka in 1987, made Archbishop of Province 11 in 2000, and later Dean of the Church of Nigeria. He retired on Nov. 22, 2010. (NAN)