‘Our impact on members, society is real’

Supreme Knight, Sir Diamond Ovueraye

The Order of the Knights of St. Mulumba, Nigeria, 4th Degree had their Admission and Investiture Ceremony at St. Agnes Catholic Church, Maryland. Head of the Order, Supreme Knight, Sir Diamond Ovueraye spoke on the activities of Order which are not limited to the Church but also to impact on the society. ISAAC TAIWO was there.

Congratulations on your assumption of office, though a year now as Supreme Knight. Please tell us how it has been since your assumption of office and what are those action plans you intend to achieve to enhance the growth of knight of St. Lumumba Nigeria and to impact on the society?
I came into the office 9th February, 2018. Since that time, we have hit the ground running, embarked on changes that would enhance the operation of the order and the cornerstone of my administration which has to do with asking my brothers to look after themselves, to be our brothers’ keeper as well as our sisters’ keeper. Even though we had a challenge of integration, we refused to allow it to reflect on our core responsibility of helping the public and the church, bearing it in mind that we also have to look after ourselves which has been one of the key activities we are embarking on. At the time I took over, we had just incorporated the Ladies of St. Mulumba (LSM). So, we had a challenge of integrating LSM and Knights of St. Lumumba (KSM) with a view to working together as brothers and sisters to pursue our common goal. That was not very easy knowing that LSM were on their own, doing their things in the way they chose. However, they have realized the inevitability of operating on a common objective, and have consequently succumbed to follow the footsteps of the brothers. We put in place the committee to look at various ways we have been doing things and see how we could integrate and work together as a common body.

We have also been looking at other aspects of our administration. For instance, we have been going on pilgrimages to Uganda on our own without recourse to the national council of pilgrimage body that the Federal government is using.
We later discussed with them and are now on board. So, we now go on pilgrimage to Uganda and also to Israel using Federal government facilities that are available to other pilgrims going to Israel. We started it this year. We had some sets of KSM and LSM who went on pilgrimages to Uganda and Israel. The advantage, of course, is that whenever we want to make any purchase of foreign exchange, we will be able to do that just like the Federal pilgrimage body by purchasing from the Central Bank as they do. It is a big advantage that forecloses our going to black market.

We are also pursuing growth of the body. Take for instance, if we were to have a project with only 200 members of KSM contributing, it cannot be compared with when the merger of KSM and LSM made up of 400 members are contributing which is better. The pain will be less with 400 contributing and we will achieve better result.

In addition to that, we realized at the beginning of our administration that the small dues the ladies and brothers contributed on monthly basis could not generate enough fund for us to do any meaningful thing. We, therefore, decided to embrace entrepreneurship. We are going to set up our own private companies that will generate funds. For instance, there are two things we are contemplating upon. We are in the process of establishing a water production plant in Owerri. We have the land and are trying to build the facility so that in the next six or seven months, we will be able to produce our own water and sell to our brothers and sisters as well as the public.

We also intend to set up a farm in Abubra, Cross River State. That area is characteristically a farming area with arable land, a very good soil for food production.

We are in the process of acquiring 50 hectares to start it and we will plant yam, maize, cassava, okro, potatoes and all others so that at the end of the day, we will be able to generate funds with a view to moving our order forward. We would get funds that would enable us to do charity, funds that would enable us to look after ourselves as well as looking after the Church. So, basically, knighthood is essentially a body that fights for the Church. We also support the church in many activities that they do.

We have also embarked on a process of beautification and canonization of our founding father in Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Abraham Anslem Isidahome Ojefua who established the Order in Nigeria on June 14, 1953 and died many years ago. We are believing that looking at the way he lived his life and did so many things, we will be able to establish our order. He deserves to be honoured and just a week ago, we had Francis Ferdinand Arinze who came from Rome to give us a talk on the process of achieving this.

We are lucky also to have a supreme Chaplain, Monsignor, Dr. Pius Kii, who was our advisor a year before and taught us the process to follow. He is actually the pilot in that area.There are so many other things we are doing that we believe would enhance the position and activities of both KSM and LSM which will make us altogether, a stronger body.

In which area have you impacted on the Church and the society at large? What is the significance of 4th degree in comparison with 1st, 2nd and 3rd degrees?

We built a Church and a big Seminary at Abeokuta. We built its hospital, furnished it and financed their hospital services. We helped to organize a nearby school which belongs to Lagos State, by furnishing the Science room with equipment. These are the ways which KSM Nigeria helps the Church.

of course, we also train Priests and Reverend sisters. We built Verify University in Abuja at a cost of more than 400 million naira.
As regards the “4th degree” it can only be explained in comparison with when you go to school and move from class one to two, to three and to four. Essentially, you have to do examination and pass from one class to another. It is the same principle we apply in the order. When you join the order, you are a first degree knight. After two three years, you would have enough knowledge and you would do an examination and as you pass the examination, you go a step higher to second degree. After about four or five years of being in second degree, you would have acquired more knowledge and you undertake another examination that moves you to third degree. Again, after about four years, you would have been deemed to have acquired more knowledge and you will take another examination which moves you to the fourth degree, that is the last degree of the order, right now. So, getting to the fourth degree will be hinged on the knowledge and time you have spent with the order. Therefore, graduation comes in this order.

What is the stand of KSM on killings and banditry ravaging the country?
I think the federal government needs to forget that some ethnic groups are like “sacred crows” that should not be touched. We can vividly recollect when some people were killed in Benue and Plateau states, where Fulani herdsmen were rampaging everywhere including Western part of the country, killing and kidnapping. This must stop. If it is not abated, it may grow and become another Boko Haram sect. Government needs to tackle this seriously and ensure lives and property of Nigerians are protected.

How would you want insecurity in the land to be tackled?
We have been writing and publishing it in the paper. What we need to consider is the possibility of having regional security forces known as regional policing so that there would be sanity. In that direction, police would be able to know the criminals, where they are, the forest in which they are hiding, fish them out and bring them to book.

In this article:
Diamond Ovueraye
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