The Metropolitan Archbishop of the Arch Diocese of Calabar, Archbishop Joseph Effiong Ekuwem was born on December 18, 1949 in Offi Udah, Mbo local government area of Akwa Ibom State. After his early education, Dr Ekuwem proceeded to the then Bigard Memorial College in Enugu and from there to Cardinal Ekandem Seminary in Uyo, where he spent four years training to become a Catholic priest.
He was ordained in Calabar on June 30, 1979. He served as parish priest of St. Mary Catholic Church Efut Abua in Calabar, with concurrent assignment as the Chaplain of the Catholic community in the University of Calabar. Ten years later on July 4, 1989, he was appointed the first Bishop of the newly created Uyo Catholic Diocese. He was appointed Archbishop of Calabar on February 2, 2013 by Pope Benedict to replace Emeritus Archbishop Joseph Edra Ukpo and was installed as Archbishop on May 31, 2013.
While serving as Bishop of Uyo Diocese, Ekuwem was known for his strict discipline. His hard work made the new diocese grow at a rate that was astounding; increasing in the number of parishes and other structural developments. He brought stability and peace all through his time as bishop. There was increase in the number and quality of educational institutions run by the church.
Archbishop Ekuwem is known for his vocal opinions on issues, especially as it concerns the ordinary citizens of the country. In the build up to the 2019 presidential election, for instance, Archbishop Ekuwem was in the eyes of the storm when he called for the resignation of President Buhari for his inability to stem the tide of killings around the country. “If the president sees himself as lacking the capacity to handle the situation, he should resign before the situation escalates to war. As a church, we are still angry with the development”,he told journalists at the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria in August 2018.