Fr. George Akanigwo was born on June 4, 1940, to late Mr Akanigwo Nwemazu and late Mrs Monica Ugwunwa Akanigwo of Umudimogo village, Ihiala in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State. Fr. George did his secondary education at the Holy Ghost Juniorate, Ihiala from 1960 to 1965.
He joined the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers as a novice at the Holy Ghost Novitiate, Awo-Omamma (1966- 1967) and made his First Religious Profession in 1967. He did the one-year Perfecting Programme at the Holy Ghost Juniorate, Ihiala from 1967-1968. After his philosophy and theology studies at the Holy Ghost Scholasticate, Awo-Omamma and Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu respectively from 1968 to 1973, Rev. George Akanigwo was ordained a Catholic priest in the Holy Ghost Congregation on April 29, 1973, at St. Martin’s Catholic Church, Ihiala by His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze, the then Archbishop of Onitsha. Since his ordination,
Rev. Fr. George Akanigwo, CSSp has worked in the following parishes:
1. St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Ngwo, Enugu Diocese, covering Army Barracks, 9th Mile Corner, Hilltop and 12 St. Mark’s Catholic Church, Nsude, an outstation then, from 19th August 1973 to 10th August 1975.
2. St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Awgu, now in Awgu Diocese: 10th August 1975 to 10th August 1978. The parish had eleven outstations then, one of which, Okpanku, is about 45 miles away from the main Parish Centre.
3. Obollo-Eke/Obollo-Afor Parishes in Nsukka Diocese from 10th August 1978 to 10th August 1979.
4. St. Joseph’s Catholic Parish, Aguleri in Onitsha Archdiocese from 10th August 1979 to 26th November 1979.
5. St. Anthony’s Parish, Isienu, Nsukka Diocese from 26th November 1979 to 10th August 1986. The parish then had 25 outstations. While at Isienu, Fr. Akanigwo built some of the outstations into full-fledged parishes. Examples are St. George’s Ishiulo and St. Jacob’s Oba, whose church is currently one of the biggest in Nsukka diocese; next to the Cathedral.
6. Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Woliwo, Onitsha Archdiocese from June 8, 1986, to January 13, 1997, as the first Parish Priest, assisted by late Rev. Fr. Boniface Ochionu, C.S.Sp.
7. St. Peter’s Catholic Parish, Oko, Awka Diocese from January 14, 1997, to July 2007. With the help of God, Fr. George completed the church building and made it one of the most beautiful churches in the diocese.
8. St. Michael’s Catholic Parish, Ezinifite, Nnewi Diocese from August 2007 to 2010. While in Ezinifite, Fr. George was attacked by armed robbers who brutalized him on October 16, 2009.
By this attack, he said: “I fulfilled in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body in the Church (Col. 1:24). I have read the Scripture at last; I came to understand the words of Zachariah the Prophet ‘What are these wounds on your face… The wounds I received in the house of my friends’ (Zech. 13:6). Following St. Paul, I can now assert that I was ‘in danger from robbers’ (2 Cor. 11:26).
In all these cases, I follow my Lord Jesus and pray: ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34).” These nine parishes in which Fr. George Akanigwo exercised his pastoral duties for over 37 years have now more than 30 independent parishes. To God, be the glory.
Other offices held:
1. Fr. George Akanigwo was appointed Vicar for the Religious by His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr Michael Eneja from 1979 to 1986.
2. His Grace, Archbishop Stephen Ezeanya, Onitsha Archdiocese appointed him the Promoter of the National Eucharistic Congress held at Owerri in 1992; Member, Onitsha Archdiocesan Marian Year +Committee, 1987; Vicar for Religious, Onitsha Archdiocese, 1990-1996; and Chaplain, Catholic Teachers’ Association, Onitsha Archdiocese.
As a retired and tired soldier of Christ, “Charger” Fr. George O Akanigwo now resides at the Holy Ghost Haven, Mgbidi in Imo State. He still quotes the Scriptures in season and out of season.