Catholic Men Organisation
That was in 1997. Venue was at St. Michael Catholic Parish Ketu, Lagos. It was then a young parish created in February 1993 by Anthony cardinal Olubunmi Okojie. The pioneer priests were two young Irish men of St. Patrick’s Missionaries both called JOHN. The priest incharge was John Trout who was popularly known as John One. His assistant, John O’Rouke was called John Two. John One pioneered the church from 1993 – 1999. O’Rouke left in 1997. The young parish then had two umbrella Organizations, the CWO and the CYON each struggling to consolidate. The men, numbering over 1500, didn’t have any common forum for any activity. Then came September that year, it was the annual harvest and there was no sign that the men would perform. Worried about the situation some elders in the parish decided to make the men make an impact, at least for once. The leader and initiator was Prof. F. Osa Isibor, now late, Chief Alphonsus Ehindero and Pa Gabriel Oyafemi, also late, strongly stood behind him. The harvest of 1997 was used as a testing ground for building a men’s organization. The elders asked man to contribution a minimum of N500 (five Hundred Naira) only towards the harvest. The programme was code- named “Ketu Plan 97”. The eventual harvest envelope of the men contained only N7,000 (Seven Thousand Naira) from twenty men. That may sound discouraging, but it was a tonic that was needed to gather the men under one umbrella. At that time there would be special rejoicing and dancing if the total income from our annual harvest managed to hit half a million naira. By June of 1998 the ketu Plan 97 group set up a planning committee to work towards establishing a Catholic Men Organization (CMO) in the parish. With strong support from the parish priest, forms were distributed after mass for prospective members to fill. The response was very encouraging. The planning committee swung into action working towards the birth of a formal organization. The committee funded all its activities. On Sunday 2nd August, 1998, the first contact meeting was held and over 100 men attended. The enthusiasm was electric. The support was overwhelming. Many donated money for the formation of the organization. Three weeks later, on Sunday 23rd 1998, the second contact meeting was held. The constitution drafted by the committee and some members who were lawyers and was ratified. The anthem written and composed by Chief Ehindero was approved and learnt by the members. The logo of the organization also designed by Chief Ehindero was adopted. The executive was elected the same day based on the new constitution. It was a period loaded with work in tune with the eagerness and expectations of members. Finally, on Sunday 6th September 1998, the organization was inaugurated by the Parish Priest Rev. Fr. John Trout. The Ketu Plan 97 which started as a dream and experiment had become a reality. The first CMO was born not just in the parish but in the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos. In 2002, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okojie officially inaugurated CMO in the Archdiocese giving St. Michael CMO, ketu its first child and subsequent grand children. The major objectives of the CMO are to help lead men to God, give support to the Church and specifically the Parish, and assist each other as well as other parishioners as much as possible. The pioneer Executive of the parish CMO comprises the following:
Mr. CY Okonkwo (President)
Chief Alphonsus Ehindero (Vice – President)
Mr. Innocent Oshomagbe (Secretary General
Barrister Paul Ojeogwu (late) (Asst. Secretary General
Mr. Anthony Omokaro (Financial Secretary)
Chief Asoegwu (Publicity / Social Secretary)
Otumba Thomas Adesanya (Tresurer)
Capt. Francis .B. Odujobi and Sir Michael Ohiokhuaroboh (late) (Provost)
Prof. .F. Osa lsibor, Pa Gabriel B Oyafemi and Engr. Chris Oleah (Ex – Official members of EXCO).
Since then the parish CMO has had four presidents, now Chairmen;
Mr. Cy Okonkwo 1998 – 2002
Chief Emeka Asoegwu 2002 – 2006
Mr. frank Etuokwu 2006 – 2011
Mr. Paulinus Offorzor 2011 till date.
Since the birth that 1998, St. Michael CMO has been keeping faith to its objectives. It has been acting as a motivator and adviser to CMO formed in many parishes before and after 2002. It initiated some key projects like Insurance Project, The Widows Christmas Gifts, The Land Ownership project and many others. The parish has also produced a Deanery Director and an Archdiocesan President in the person of Chief Emeka Asoegwu.