The ASFA in a group photograph with the chief celebrant, Rev Fr Coach Obinna Dike after the special Mass for Dr Ifeanyi Ubah at the Fides Chapel Okpuno, June 18. On the immediate left of Fr Dike is the ASFA Vice Chairman, Barr Sir JBC Obikwelu.
About 30 Association members including Board of Anambra State Football Association (ASFA) and Local Football Council (LFA)members gathered on Sunday, 18th June, 2017 at Fides Chapel of Fides Communications, Okpuno, Awka, to pray for the release of the CEO of Capital Oil and the Chairman of ASFA, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, who had been detained by the DSS over alleged economic issues until June 19.
The Mass started at 11.30am with Rev. Fr. Obinna Dike (Deputy Director of Fides and Director of Sports Awka Diocese, DOSAD) as the chief celebrant. The cleric who was appointed by the state government as the Chairman of Gov Willie Obiano Traders' Cup Football competition 2017, admonished members of ASFA not to lose hope and to have faith. He commended them for their solidarity to their boss at these trying times and assured them that having placed him on the altar of the Most High, God has already intervened.
Quoting from the gospel, Fr. Dike said that Christ is the saving grace to all. He said that God's divine mercy and love for mankind has opened to us the free gift of equality and the communion of Christ. He added that prayer was the only key to every difficult situation and encouraged all the ASFA members to always pray for Ifeanyi Ubah. He said it was providential to be offering the special mass on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The Rev Father who is the first Catholic priest in Nigeria to bag a professional grade one football coaching licence, as well as the recently acquired CAF C license, said Christ's Body and Blood is the ultimate level of supplication that forgives and gives authentic freedom.
Fr. Dike, who is also the Chairman of the Reconciliation Committee of ASFA assured the board members that God will see them through because of their sacrifice and love for humanity. He told them to believe in God and that what they have demonstrated was an act of faith. He prayed for God's intervention for the ongoing investigation and for the release of Ifeanyi Ubah.
The Holy Mass in progress at Fides Chapel Okpuno
In an interview with FIDES, the Vice Chairman of ASFA, Barr. JBC Obikwelu revealed that the ASFA has engaged in some legal actions to get Ubah free even after the court has pronounced him innocent; but to no avail. He said that because of this delay and some other unforseen forces, ASFA decided to offer a mass for penitence and freedom on behalf of their boss Dr Ifeanyi Ubah.
'Even though the court pronounced him innocent, we believe there are some other forces that are withholding them from freeing him. We want to take our matter to God to intervene because it is now beyond what the human eye can see. It is a continuous prayer effort that will still carry on', JBC added.
Obikwelu added that he was impressed about the mass turnout of Board Members and Local Council Members for the mass. He encouraged all family members, relatives and members of staff not lose hope and should keep praying for him.
Meanwhile, the DSS released Ifeanyi Ubah on Monday evening, June 19, 2017 prompting celebration among the FA and many Nigerians. The ASFA Vice Chairman, Barr. JBC Obikwelu in a phone chart with Fides thanked God for promptly answering their prayers.