Valentine Ozigbo, a Nigerian business mogul and philanthropist, has stressed the importance of emulating Christ Jesus by living selflessly, as Christians worldwide mark Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten period, on Wednesday, February 17, 2021.  

Ash Wednesday is a day Christians consider holy and observe it with prayer and fasting. Roman Catholics, Anglican, Methodists, and some other orthodox denominations mark their foreheads with ashes to symbolise both death and repentance. It is the first activity leading up to Easter. 

Mr Ozigbo made these remarks to journalists as he left St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, Awka, where he observed the Ash Wednesday evening mass. He urged Christians all over the world to emulate the virtues of obedience, righteous living, and sacrifice, which the Lord Jesus Christ exemplified during his time on earth. 

According to Ozigbo, who is the immediate past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, Lent's sacrificial period presents a moment for all believers to re-dedicate themselves to the service of the Lord. 

"Today, we begin the Lenten period with Ash Wednesday which symbolises repentance and the death of our Lord Jesus Christ," Ozigbo said.

"This Lent is beginning at a trying time for many people across the world. The COVID-19 pandemic is still raging in parts of the world, and people are still hurting from the impact of the pandemic and the loss of loved ones. 

"It is, therefore, apt for Christians to seize the opportunities in the Lent period to seek the face of God in humility and repentance. We need to pray for the manifest grace of God and healing in our land. 

"I encourage my fellow Christians to draw close to God, reflect on our purpose on the Earth, and refresh our commitment to Christ-like living," he added.

A devout Catholic, Ozigbo further urged Ndi Anambra to be far more generous this period than ever before as Lenten period symbolises dying a little for the good of others, where we need to offer alms and sacrificial giving to those less privileged.

The respected business leader and philanthropist is a leading governorship aspirant in Anambra's forthcoming November election. He is the founder of one of the top non-profit charities in Nigeria, Valentine Chineto Ozigbo (VCO) Foundation.