By Austin Okechukwu Chijioke
For a very long time to come, the words of Helen Keller will re-echo in our subconscious. For emphasis, Helen Keller taught mankind to work together to achieve a lot other than going solo, which renders our productivity insignificant.
Other social philosophers have significantly added their voices on the need to create a synergy that works for the betterment of humans. In his contribution, Kay averred as follows”… If you want to go far, walk together, if you want to walk fast, walk alone”.
The import of the above quotes came down heavily on the current Abuja Archdiocesan Catholic Men Organization Executives elected on the 20th day of November 2021 and later took over the affairs of the AACMO on the 12th December of same year from the administration of Sir Peter Emmanuel Onoja led executive committee. It could be recalled that the current exco led by Sir Samson Egbunu Haruna, while receiving the hand over note from Sir Peter Onoja pledged to work hard in other to improve on the excellent achievements of the out gone administration.
Changing the trajectory of the AACMO and improving the ratings of the men who have remained in the minds of not a quite a few a docile and unorganizable bunch became the topmost concern of the present Executive led by Sir Haruna. As if on cue to reconnect with the timeless assertion of the great novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald who says that ideas rule the world and thoughts decide the way of life. It is the mind which sculptures one’s destiny.
If one thinks positively and in the right direction, then aspirations and goals are achievable, the newly installed members of the Executive met severally while getting to familiarize with themselves to exchange ideas and opinions on how to achieve identified objectives amongst set of alternatives. Over the years concerned persons including the Priest who gave the homily during the AGM mass on the 11th of June, 2023 have repeatedly expressed the fact that men do not have time to organize themselves, do not have the time to play big roles in churches’ affair in comparison to their female, CWO, counterpart or have the disposition to make out time for anything other than their specific idiosyncrasies.
This could no longer be farther away from the truth given the fact that men would rather prefer to mind their individual businesses on the pretext which could be right or wrong that fending for their families is their primary concern rather than engaging in extra curricular church activities that do not add to their bottom line. This way, the men have assumed albeit erroneously that the women are better wired to pray and engage in every other extra curricular activities in the church.
I am truly certain that not quite a few will agree that women’s robust engagements in the way and manner they have organized themselves over the years stems from the fact of their strict law to sanction any member who might decide to fall out of line, not the men who behaves principally in the typical ‘I don’t care attitude’.
Today it is heart warming that the men in the Archdiocese of Abuja is on the road to self discovery which will ultimately impact on the attitudes of the Catholic men elsewhere around the world. It is also important to point out that it has all been in the spirit of changing the narrative of the men that the current AACMO President would sometimes appear a little hard in cajoling the men to accept invitations to functions where the CWO have been invited also to ensure that men’s attendance to such functions are rated in comparison to the women’s attendance by the inviting authority. Today it gladdens the heart that our men have taken up this challenge rather than continually rueing over the tone or the fact of calling them out every now or then for extracurricular functions in the Archdiocese.
No further evidence could be attached to the above assertion than the excitement and massive attendance to the first ever annual general meeting organized under the auspices of the Abuja Archdiocesan Catholic Men Organization which held from the 9th to 11th of June 2023. The initial misgivings about the concept and objectives of the AGM later gave way to the wild excitement which greeted the event. Although, the misgivings could not be said to have been misplaced given the fact of the financial outlay of the proposed event most of which will come directly from the contributions of the parishes in the Archdiocese. Again, this is where the words of Helen Keller was reignited – “… Together, we can achieve more”. Once our minds have been appealed to and everyone united towards this uncommon goal, the sky was set up for our conquering.
Although, it is important to pick out for special mention, the AGM planning Committee led by Paul Ayaeze for its doggedness, time and resource commitment and diligence to the final execution of a program which to all intents and purposes was designed to bring out men in their cocoon environment unto togetherness and unity-Psalm 133:1, “it is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion”. Every single CMO member in the Archdiocese deserved even greater praise for agreeing to walk together in the noble journey to self-discovery. Working through the parishes under the current eight deanery structures of the Archdiocese couldn’t have been that easy, but with the oneness of mind, we even surpassed our initial target. Talking about overthrowing one’s expectations. We achieved all that to the glory of God Almighty.
It is also worthy to mention that when the history of the AACMO would be visited in the future, it would be mentioned that the men in the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja rained out awards to appreciate deserving members and friends who have distinguished themselves in the area of church building, leadership and have championed the cause of church growth in general and men’s development in particular totalling over 150 awards in one night.
It would also be mentioned that the AACMO through our common pool feted the awardees and their supporters totalling a conservative 500 guests also in one night. Then as part of cueing into Jesus’s injunction to take care of the vulnerable in our midst, the AACMO also visited the Holy Sisters of the needy orphanage home in Bwari and offered her support to the upkeep of the children in that home.
In conclusion, history will be kind to the CMO members and other Catholic faithful at St. Christopher’s parish, Games village for sparing no resources to ensure that the AGM which was initially slated to hold at Holy Family parish, Life camp and later shifted few weeks to the scheduled AGM to their domain became a resounding success. AACMO is eternally grateful for being the first statutory organ of the church at the Archdiocesan level to have a feel of their magnificent edifice which they are laboring to offer to God as a befitting place of worship. For the first time also, men willingly came out in their numbers and an unimaginable love feast other than ‘tok tok’ took the center stage.
AACMO remain indebted to our media partners and the trio of the Good Shepherd newspaper, Radio Maria and Catholic television for backing the coverage of the AGM trilogy quite committedly.
We will remain eternally grateful to God Almighty, our help in the time past and our eternal hope in the years to come for His kind benevolence on the Abuja Archdiocesan Catholic Men Organization. The AACMO 2023 AGM might have come and gone, however in the words of Irving Berlin, the song might have ended, but the melody lingers.
St Joseph, pray for us! CMO, Christ is our Leader!
…Mr Austin Okechukwu Chijioke, is Abuja Archdiocesean Catholic Men Organization Public Relations Officer.