Encomiums poured in torrents last Saturday in honour of the Dean of Ikorodu Deanery, Very Rev. Fr. Basil Okoro as he celebrated his 30th Priestly ordination anniversary. It was a joyous occasion for parishioners of Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Owode who turned out in their numbers, decked in colorful attires to celebrate with their amiable parish priest. Leading the pack of over fifteen clergy who came to identify with one of their own was the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Lagos, Very Rev. Msgr. Anthony Obanla who represented the Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins. Also present at the occasion was Very Rev. Msgr. Anthony Erinle; the Provincial Superior, Congregation of the Mission, Nigeria Province, Very Rev. Fr. Cyril Mbata, CM; Chaplain of Divine Mercy Hospital, Ijede; Reverend Sisters and a host of other dignitaries from far and near. In his homily, Fr. Cyril Mbata, CM described Fr. Basil Okoro, CM as a man committed and dedicated to his ministry.
The Provincial Superior, who proudly addressed Fr. Okoro as his contemporary, extolled him for his legionary works during their days as philosophy students. He narrated how Fr. Okoro went out of his way gathering left over food for a widow named Mama Theresa, who had no child. “Fr. Basil was the only student who could go out of the compound because the Spiritual Director noticed his legionary spirituality,” said the Provincial Superior. He further narrated how Fr. Okoro got the permission of the Vincentian Community to construct a thatch house for one Uzor, who had no house.” The representative of the Archbishop Msgr. Anthony Obanla conveyed the joy of the Archbishop, whom he said would have loved to be at the occasion personally but for unavoidable circumstance. He congratulated and thanked the celebrant for dedicating his life to the service of God and humanity, urging him not to relent in his good works. In his remark, Very Rev Fr. Basil Okoro, CM was full of gratitude to God for His faithfulness and for giving him the opportunity to serve God’s people, though unworthy he is.
He thanked God for all who made time out to celebrate with him, even as he intermittently sang praises to God for His blessings over the years. A major highlight of the highly successful event was the commissioning of a nearby bore-hole donated to the church and the community by the deputy governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat. Very Rev. Fr. Basil Okoro, CM, was ordained on September 1 1990 by Right Rev. Camilus Etokudo the bishop of Ikot Ekpene. He had worked with the Nigeria Telecommunications NITEL before he entered the Novitiate in September 1981. Throughout his year as a novitiate, he was the sacristan, and the one in charge of sweeping the classroom, as well as the maintenance man. His theology was at Bigards, and it was a very pleasant experience.
Father Okoro’s first appointment was as a Vocational Director. In 1993, he worked as the Director of Postulancy at Amakom. He was later posted to C. K. C. Akowonjo as the assistant parish priest. During that time he also worked as the Prison Chaplain, Lagos Arch diocese. In 1998, he went to Rome for studies. Back from Rome, he spent much time working as the Formation Director at St. Aquinas’ Seminary Makurdi before he was posted to Akama Oghe Mission in Benue State. His last posting was Good Shepherd Church Owode, where he doubles as the dean of Ikorodu Deanery. The reception took place at Good Shepherd Church permanent site. The planning committee headed by Mr. Chris Nwosu provided enough entertainment, and the highlights included cultural dance by the CWO and the presentation of a car to Fr. Okoro. Fr. Okoro brought development to Good Shepherd Church Owode and the entire Ikorodu Deanery, and the people joyfully thanked God for His blessing upon him.