The Master of the Order, Brother Bruno Cador, appointed Brother Charles Emeka Ukwe, OP, on Thursday 30th November 2017, as his Socius for Africa and Coordinator of the Inter-Africa (IAOP), for a six-years term. The appointment was publicly read at the Convent of Santa Sabina, Rome and took effect the same day. Brother Charles becomes the sixth Socius for Africa.
A native of Nigeria, 58 years old and a trained canonist, Brother Charles succeeds Brother Gabriel Samba (Congo-Brazzaville, Vicariate of Equatorial Africa), whose six-year term has come to an end. The transition between the outgoing Socius and the incoming Socius took place during the plenary session of the General Curia at Santa Sabina, Rome, at the beginning of November. Brother Charles was assigned to the convent of Santa Sabina by the Master of the Order, on 17th November. He left the same day for Nigeria to prepare and to deepen his learning of French in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, before the arrival of the Master of the Order for the canonical visitation of the new province of St. Augustine in West Africa (January 29 – February 7, 2019). The new Socius will definitively return to Rome in February 2018.
As former Prior Provincial of the Province of St. Joseph the Worker of Nigeria and Ghana (2009- 2017), Brother Charles is familiar with the Dominican Region of Africa, the challenges of Inter-Africa as well as the orientations and decisions of the last IAOP General Assemblies held in May 2017 in Ibadan, Nigeria. It was during this 13th Assembly that, in accordance with the Statutes of IAOP, the members of the assembly proposed three candidates by secret consultative vote to the Master of the Order for the nomination of the Socius for Africa and Coordinator of the Inter-Africa. The brothers and the Master of the Order placed their trust in Brother Charles Emeka Ukwe.
Brother Charles Emeka Ukwe was born on February 4, 1959 at Orlu, in the Eastern part of Nigeria. He joined the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) in 1981. He made his first profession on September 27, 1982 and solemn profession on September 27, 1985. He was ordained a priest on October 2, 1989. After his ordination, he was assigned to St. Patrick Catholic Church, Agbor-Obi, Delta State, as Assistant Parish Priest, and Parish Priest of All Saints Catholic Church, Oyigbo, Rivers State, in 1994. He went on mission to the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA, from 1998 to 2001. He studied Canon Law at the Catholic University of America where he obtained a Licentiate in Canon Law in 2003, and Doctorate in Canon Law from the Angelicum, Rome, in 2006. While he was writing his doctoral dissertation in the US, he served the Diocese of Arlington, VA, as a Judge in the diocesan tribunal from 2005 to 2007. He returned to Nigeria in 2007 and taught Canon Law at the Dominican Institute, Ibadan. In 2008, he was appointed the Judicial Vicar of Ibadan Archdiocese by Archbishop Felix Alaba Job. In that capacity, he ran the Tribunals of First and Second Instances. In 2009, he was elected the Provincial of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph the Worker, Nigeria and Ghana, and in September 2013 for a second term which ended in July 2017.
We express our congratulations and our thanks to Brother Charles for humbly accepting this responsibility to serve his Dominican brothers and sisters in Africa and the Order. We assure him of all our fraternal support and our prayers. God bless his ministry.
fr. Gabriel Samba, op
(30 November 2017)