The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh, has been admitted into the Knighthood of Saint John International of the Catholic Church.
The induction ceremony, which took place at St. Dominic’s Chapel of Perpetual Adoration on Saturday, 15December, was followed by a thanksgiving Mass at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Obio Offot, Uyo on Sunday, 23 December, 2018.
Sir Charles Udoh, KSJ, in his thanksgiving, expressed heartfelt gratitude to God for finding him fit for the knighthood, saying that he is a living testimony of God’s goodness.
He shared his life story with the congregation on how he cheated death on several occasion right from his primary school days, but God, in His infinite mercy, has always saved him for a purpose.
In his words: “My wife and I had been in marriage for 10 years of turmoil and pressure, but we kept the faith believing that someday, God will lift us up, and today we are blessed with two kids. At times, when I look at my kids, I have a deep understanding of why some people do obnoxious things. I had lived a comfortable life without peace inside of me.”
The new Knight of St John International further stated that if anyone has God, the person does not need any godfather to succeed in life, as God is always there to help, adding that he believes in the power of being good to people.
“I went to Lagos as a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member seating on an attachment in a night bus. My friends lobbied to join the NYSC but I never did. God took me there.
“On arrival at the University of Lagos (Unilag) where I was attached to, the professor I was to report to, scornfully took a look at me and asked what school I graduated from. When I told that I graduated from the University of Uyo (Uniuyo), he threw my letter on the floor. He asked me to come back for my rejection letter. I picked up my letter and told him to his face that he has lost the respect I had for him.
“When I got to his office the next day, he said he was not rejecting me anymore. I laid siege in front of his office demanding him to reject me but another professor intervened and convinced me to work with him. That was God at work.
“Six months into my service year, the professor who earlier underrated me, sought and secured a job for me and I was given employment letter six months before I finished my NYSC. That was how the journey of my life started.”
Sir Charles also disclosed that he intentionally refused to speak the Yoruba Language throughout his stay in Lagos (since 1989) in rebel and to prove that an Akwa Ibom person can become something anywhere, hence he decided to work longer and harder, read, dedicated and diligent than anyone else.
“I never knew that at a point in the history Akwa Ibom State, there would be a man to imbibe what I couldn’t find a name for since 1989, and call it ‘Dakkada’. Tears rolled down my eyes the day the Dakkada philosophy was launched in the state.
“When I had the honour to work with that same man (Governor Udom Emmanuel), I didn’t have to think twice. And today, that journey has taken us this far,” he stated, adding that he has fulfilled the dreams of his late father who had wished to be a Knight during his life time on earth.
The Knight of St John is an exclusive organization which ranks second to the Priesthood in learning and character, saddled with the essential responsibility of defending the church, faith and continue to be steadfast in faith through Jesus Christ.
The event was graced by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo; Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem; Paramount Ruler of Uyo Local Government, HRM Edidem Sylvanus Effiong Okon; and Head of Civil Service, Mrs. Ekereobong Akpan among other top government functionaries and colleagues in the state executive council.
By Umoh-Obong Kingsley