akubezeMost Rev. Augustine Akubeze, the New President of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), has appealed to Christians to speak with one voice on matters that affect the church and the country.

Akubeze, the Archbishop of Benin made the call in his inaugural speech at a Mass to end the first 2018 CBCN Plenary Session at Saint Charles Lwanga Parish, Apo, Abuja.

Akubeze took over from Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos Catholic Archdiocese, who served two tenures of three years each.

Akubeze assured the faithful that the leadership would be opened to diverse opinions and would seek to build consensus on matters that required collective decision.

“We want to thank God for giving us the opportunity to serve you and the church in Nigeria.

“We thank all of you for the confidence you have in us by electing us to various positions

“We assure you we will do our best, relying on God’s grace to ensure that this body continue to perform its statutory function in the face of the contemporary challenges,’’ he said.

Quoting from the Gospel of Mathew, Chapter 20: verses 25 to 28, Akubeze said the executive would strive to make the commandment of Jesus Christ their guide.

“We will make the commandment of Jesus our guide in our provision of leadership as we serve you during our tenure in the next four years,’’ he assured.

The President, however, thanked the outgoing president for his unique leadership skills, saying “ you have left the CBCN stronger than you met it.

“Under your leadership, you have brought all of us together to pray for the unity of the country.

“I am sure with your advice and the collective wisdom of my brothers bishops, we will not fail the church in Nigeria.’’

Other principal officers are Bishop Lucious Ugoji of Umahia Diocese, who is now the Vice President of CBCN, while Bishop Camillus Umoh of Ikot Ekpene is the Secretary and Bishop Charles Hammawa of Jalingo Diocese, the Assistant Secretary.

Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Antonio Filipazzi was among the 53 catholic bishops that attended the Mass.

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