Since the creation of Port Harcourt Diocese 58 years ago, the Diocese has witnessed the reign of five Bishops namely Most Rev. Godfrey Mary Paul Okoye (1961-1967), Dominic Cardinal Ekandem (1970-1974), Edmund Fitzgibbon SPS (1974-1992), Most Rev. Dr. Alexius Makozi (1992-2009) and the incumbent, Most Rev. Camillus Etokudoh (2009 to date).
No doubt, each of these Bishops made impact on the Diocese and also achieved their milestones according to their focus and their pastoral plans.
However, there is no doubt that the present Bishop, Most Rev. Camillus Etokudoh has been able to make remarkable, appreciable and verifiable impacts in terms of spiritual and infrastructural development of the Diocese since he assumed office.
In addition to the spiritual and infrastructural development of the Diocese, Bishop Etokudoh has engineered the ‘export’ of the priests from this Diocese to serve the Church at Provincial, National and International levels.
It is worthy of note that under the reign of Bishop Camillus Etokudoh, the Diocese hosted one of the most memorable Catholic Bishops’ Conference in the newly built Diocesan Pastoral Centre.
The Pastoral Centre is one of the best in the country. There has been growth in number of parishes which has led to the creation of more Deaneries with many Churches being dedicated as some of the shining examples of infrastructural achievements of the Bishop.
It is still under the reign of Bishop Etokudoh whom many have described as the architect of modern Port Harcourt Diocese, that Rev. Fr. Christian Anyanwu was appointed National Director of Communications as well as assistant Secretary General of Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Abuja, Very Rev. Msgr. Emmanuel Maru took over the headship of St Joseph’s Major Seminary Ikot-Ekpene as the Rector.
In the same vein, Very Rev. Msgr. Pius Kii became the Chaplain of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Chaplaincy, Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA) and was recently appointed the National Chaplain of the Knights of St. Mulumba Nigeria, National President of Canon Law Society and Acting President of West African Canon Law Society, the first priest civil lawyer of the Diocese, Rev. Fr. Barr. Michael Akere was appointed the national Chaplain for Catechists while Very Rev. Msgr. John Wangbu is the immediate past National Chaplain of Catholic Biblical Instructors’ Union (CBIU).
The climax of the good jobs of Bishop Etokudoh was the recent appointment and consecration of the first indigenous Catholic Bishop from the Diocese to serve as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese.
This development is testimony to the good will of the diocesan Bishop and his pastoral zeal. Bishop Etokudoh’s request for an auxiliary for the Diocese, showed that he is committed to the spiritual and infrastructural growth of the Diocese and is leaving no stone unturned to achieve that. The Diocese has never had it this good in her 58 years history.
It is on this note that we congratulate Bishop Etokudoh together with his auxiliary, Bishop Eluke, as he joins the Local Ordinary to pilot the affairs of the Diocese.
The dreams and aspirations of the people of the Diocese as encapsulated in the address presented after the consecration of Most Rev. Dr. Patrick Eluke is that the Auxiliary Bishop would work in close union with the diocesan Bishop, collaborate with the priests and religious of the Diocese as well as the lay faithful and move the Diocese forward.