- The Order has etched itself as a global brand – Sir Mbelede
- It is time for appraisal, stock-taking, sober reflection – Lady Obah
The Order of the Knights and Ladies of St. Mulumba Nigeria, recently celebrated its 70 years of excellence. The grand finale of the anniversary event, which was attended by dignitaries and top ranking executives of the Order took place on Saturday, June 17, 2023, in Abuja. “In 70 years KSM has become a house hold name. The Order through its consistent trajectory of success, innovation, evangelism, investments, and other benchmarks and capacity building in its thematic activities, has etched itself as a global brand,” Sir (Dr.) Charles Mbelede, Supreme Knight of the Order of the Knights of St. Mulumba, Nigeria, gave a graphic illustration of KSM at its platinum anniversary. He goes down memory lane, “The Order which was founded on 14th June 1953, was exactly 70 years three days ago, on June 14, 2023. KSM, the little mustard seed has become an Iroko. “It has grown from a Subordinate Council of 23 founding members, two of whom later became Bishops and with the Founder Abbot Abraham Isidahomen Ojefua of blessed memory, now on the road to Sainthood as the of Pioneer Grand knight, to a towering strength of 283 Subordinate Councils across the nine Metropolitan Councils, patterned after the nine Ecclesiastical Provinces of Nigeria, with a current numerical strength of over 22,000.” Sir Mbelede spoke about the scope of KSM, origin of name and link with Uganda martyrs. “Membership cuts across all the professions and host of other skills across every sector of the economy. It has an emphatic presence in Mamfe Cameroon and Kampala in Uganda, where two Sub-Councils are thriving. “Beyond merely adopting the name of one of the leading lights of the Ugandan martyrs, Mathias Kalemba- the Mulumba as patron saint, the knights of St. Mulumba have permanently engraved the names of the Ugandan Martyrs in the ecclesiastical history of the Catholic Church.
“The recognition of the commitment and sacrifice of the Martyrs of Uganda by KSM is perhaps next to their canonisation by late Pope Paul VI. It was a pointer to Abbot Ojefua’s world view and commitment to his African roots.” Speaking further, he said KSM also instituted a yearly pilgrimage to Uganda to participate in the National Celebrations of Ugandan Martyrs at Namugongo. According to him, the consistency of the programme ensured that the Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, approved a yearly bouquet to Uganda and Israel for the Order. Sir Mbelede itemised some achievements of KSM in the past seven decades of its existence. “KSM has impacted the socio-cultural and religious lives of members of every community where it operates. “Our members true to their calling as knights and soldiers of Christ, have always endeavoured to defend not just the Church and its faith, but have become purveyors of charity, and providing succours to vulnerable Nigerians. “The Order has strenuously remained a forceful voice for the oppressed and had raised the alarms through its Media Advocacies over the security, economic and moral decadence in the country. “The Order as a Body Co-operate, with Christo-Centric ideals has come out boldly and loudly to condemn the poor management of the country which had rendered millions of Nigerians impoverished. “Without sounding immodest, KSM has made its mark and has left towering footsteps in the sands of time and therefore deserving of accolades and the right to celebrate its 70 years of existence and stewardship with aplomb and in grand style.”
The Theme of the Celebration was, “70 years of KSM Nigeria, Reappraising the Past, Redefining the Present, and Reshaping the Future”. The Supreme Knight who described the theme as apt and germane for introspection said the theme is expected to chart the way forward for the Order and its membership. He added, “We are indeed enthused that the Order is waxing stronger in a clime notorious for the death of brilliant ideas and innovations. That the Order survived the vicissitudes of its pioneering era and has remained the foremost knighthood Order in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, calls for celebration and thanksgiving.” Sir Mbelede commended the pioneering roles of the founding fathers and the zeal and industry of all his predecessors in office, nine of them, for keeping the flame aglow and for their doggedness in initiating sound administrative models and programmes that have ensured the steady progress and growth of the Order. Lady Ngozi Anthonia Obah, Noble President, Ladies of St. Mulumba (LSM) Nigeria noted that incorporating the Ladies into the Order and further integrating them into the core fabrics of the Order transformed KSM into a true family Order, hence making it the pride of the Catholic Knighthood in Nigeria, Africa and indeed, globally. She further stated that the 70th anniversary celebration accorded the Order a unique opportunity for innate reflections on the vision of our founding fathers and how far the current members have lived up to their vision. The Noble President said, “It is a time for celebration, appraisal, stock-taking, and sober reflection. There is no doubt that we have achieved a lot in the past 70 years. “However, a great deal still needs to be done, especially in the face of the enormous challenges confronting the Church and our country.
As I commend the worthy Supreme Knight and his able team, as well as our past leaders for their sacrifices in bringing the Order thus far, I urge you not to relent in your commitments to continue to advance the course of our honoured Order and our core values. Lady Obah envisioned the Order in the next 3o years. Hear her, “In the next 30 years, the Order shall mark its centenary, and those who will be in the saddle of leadership by that time should be able to look back and pay glowing tributes to those of us, who by then may have become part of the ancestors of the Order, for doing our best in our own time.” On a final note, she prayed, “May the good Lord bless us and grant us His enabling grace to continue our service to Him through the Church and humanity. Once again, congratulations to us all and 70 hearty cheers to KSM Nigeria”. The highlights of the event were Thanksgiving Mass, final unveiling of the Platinum Anniversary logo and Mascot and Fund Launch, Raffle draws with exotic prizes, including a super deluxe car as the star prize; recognitions and presentation of merit awards of excellence to deserving Nigerians. Others included, production of a classy brochure as a historical document, airing of a documentary on KSM at 70 and photo exhibition as well as the Gala Nite that rounded off the celebrations.