By Chidi Onyemaizu
When a good man joins a noble Order such as the knight of St.John, you probably will see him exude increased humility. The aura you feel around him could be celestial. And his words could be edifying, inspirational.
For Cross River state governor, Sir Ben Ayade, the above are not new normal. They are ingrained in him already. They are part of his enchanting character traits.
He has always worn this pious and disarming mien which radiate the the whole gamut of his inner heart, his nature-kind and large heartedness, loving and forgiving.
Thus, when on Saturday, August 24, 2019 the governor emerged from the induction process into the Order of St.John at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Calabar, seat of the Metropolitan Arch-Diocese of Calabar, it was clear that knighthood had merely reaffirmed the elegant virtues of his.
The newly minted knight spoke piously from the heart as always, evoking that infectious aura of humility which defines his personage. He talked about selflessness. He harped on service to humanity. He dwelt on rededication to God. And made solemn promise of quality leadership to Cross Riverians.
According him, with his knighthood, all the titles and positions he had acquired in the past pales into nothingness, describing his new status as “a very solemn thing and very emotional thing. It is a rededication of my life and service to humanity.
“I think it is the highest point one can rise to when you have risen above the physical, the material and the mundane and worldly things. It is highly edifying in spirit and in soul.
“From the lectures I got during my initiation process, it is obvious that the knight of St.John is about charity, empathy and brotherhood. Brotherhood in the sense of provision and support for humanity”, he said.
Continuing, Sir Ayade maintained that Knighthood was a higher life- changing calling.
“This is actually a call for greater service to
humanity and winning of souls for God.”
He expressed gratitude to God for His favours and blessing in his life, saying nothing could be more rewarding than serving God.
Ayade: “My Knighthood represents a new life, a new journey towards God, putting everything I have towards the attainment of the whole essence of mankind; bringing value to humanity and getting closer to God.
“I’m very lucky that God has allowed me attain heights-university, PhD, Professor, Lawyer, Senator and now governor. I have never spent a day in the hospital. God has been fair enough to me.
“I have passed 50 years and it is time for me to know that the journey to my end is shorter than where I am coming from. All the achievements would not have been possible without God, so it is time for God.”
While pledging to continue to provide quality leadership to the people of Cross River, the governor enthused that knighthood is inspirational and a platform to get closer to God.
“I will use my office as the governor to serve God and humanity. Irrespective of religion, God is the ultimate. That is why I chose spiritual growth, spiritual highness above other considerations. In all the titles I have acquired, none means more to me than “Sir” Ben Ayade.”
At the thanksgiving mass celebrated by the Archbishop, Most Rev. Joseph Ekuwem, Ayade, resplendent in his Knight regalia,and flanked by his brother knights listened with rapt attention to the homily delivered by the Archbishop who admonished them to be good ambassadors of the Order.
He later danced soulfully to the alter for thanksgiving.
Outside the Church premises, security personnel had a hectic time fending off the surging crowd of ecstatic faithful who struggled to catch a glimpse of their governor amid shouts of “our digital governor, Sir Ben Ayade”
Chidi Onyemaizu is SA Print Media to Governor Ayade
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