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Harvard Prof: Why we took Ndukuba, Anglican Primate, others to Court

by Church Times

A Nigerian and Professor at Havard University, Prof Jacob Olupona has explained why the Board of Trustees of the Anglican Diocese of The Trinity in Indiana, US, (ADOTT) took the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, The Most Revd Henry Ndukuba, Bishop Nathan Kanu and Bishop Kayode Adebogun to court over decision of the Church to dissolve ADOTT

He made the explanation in a letter tagged, “Open Letter to all ADOTT Faithful..the superiority of light over darkness”

Olupona who is also chairman of the Board of Trustees of ADOTT and chairman of Concerned Elders Committee of ADOTT said the letter became necessary to correct some of what he called a false narrative of the Anglican Church in Nigeria.

Steps before court action

In the rather long letter, Olupona said ADOTT board of trustees took several decent steps that did not yield fruit before it finally went to court.

While noting that the Nigerian Anglican Church had always excluded Bishop Adebogun as one of the defendants to justify its alleged false narrative, Olupona said, “They have failed to tell concerned Anglican members both home and abroad the decent steps we have taken to seek audience with the Primate about the dissolution in which a letter was written to the Primate and the House of Bishops.”

Some of the bishops according to him confirmed the receipt of the letter adding however that they could not come up with a way forward.

Olupona said media noise was made about the danger of dissolving the diocese but that still did not yield fruit.

“Suing the Primate, Coordinating Bishop of Church of Nigeria, North American Mission (CONNAM), Bishop Nathan Kanu, and Bishop Adebogun who is the bishop of the diocese in the competent law court in Indianapolis, Indiana, where ADOTT was registered was our only viable and last resort,” Olupona said.

He punctured the argument that it is not right for the Church of Nigeria to have a diocese in another territory other than theirs because according to him, members of the diocese are not just immigrants from Nigeria, but also “American and Canadian citizens who have a right to have a diocese and freedom of association and affiliation.”

The TEC and ACNA example

According to Olupona, The Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Church in North America both have dioceses outside North America, especially in Europe and South America.

Making a further argument on his position, Olupona said ADOTT board of trustees is privy to a letter Archbishop Foley Beach wrote to Archbishop Henry Ndukuba on September 19, 2023, “saying his request was not to have ADOTT dissolved but to have a brotherly conversation where they could reach a common consensus on the operations of the Nigerian mission in North America under ACNA.”

While expressing worry over alleged misinformation being peddled around, he noted that the authority of the Nigerian Anglican Church have been threatening clergymen in ADOTT “to write under duress that they gave their permission for ADOTT to be dissolved”

He said further, “Most clergy and laity, except for a privileged few, knew nothing about the issue of ADOTT’s dissolution until after the September 2023 General Synod Meeting of the Church of Nigeria. No notice was ever published in this regard.”

Silence of House of Bishops

The Havard Professor decried the silence of members of the House of Bishops in what he described as “a matter that does not have constitutional backing in the Church of Nigeria Constitution”

He reiterated that ADOTT is not fighting for Bishop Olukayode Adebogun or that it is Bishop Adebogun coordinating the activities of the Elders. “Nothing can be farther from the truth, our stand as concerned ADOTT Elders remains a struggle and fight for justice for everyone and anyone. We are committed to ensuring the finality of the restoration of ADOTT as an independent Diocese, by the grace of God.”

Read also: Anglican Church, Bishop Adebogun, and the Challenge of ADOTThttps://churchtimesnigeria.net/anglican-church-bishop-adebogun-and-the-challenge-of-adott/

Way out

To avoid the present chaos Olupona called for a consultative forum with members of ADOTT in which everyone’s voice would be heard through active laity participation.

“A One-day synod may have been proposed in such a major Ecclesiastical decision-making as this,” he said.

He cited the example of how former Primate of the Church, Nicholas Okoh handled the debate on women’s ordination saying, “ADOTT should be allowed to deliberate in their diocese before making a definite decision.”

Constitutional matter

He insisted that the House of Laity was not carried along in the dissolution of the diocese adding that “the Primate could have ensured that his action was thoroughly provided for” in the Constitution of the Church.

According to him, “The Constitution created the office of the Primate and the General Synod as the legislative arm of the Church; this means that the Primate or the General Synod cannot lawfully pursue actions not provided for in the Constitution”

ADOTT a cash cow

Olupona in the letter insinuated that the dissolution was intended to “make ADOTT a sort of cash cow for their self-enrichment and unfair ownership”.

He cited a Church of Nigeria Publication form that is being circulated with the permission of the CONNAM Coordinating Bishop (Bishop Nathan Kanu) on how financial remittance of certain items sold directly to priests in the USA and Canada are to be made.

He said in the publication that missionary Bishops and Canon Missioners were bypassed in monetary matters.

Olupona said also there are “many disgusting items listed for sale in the said “2025 approved booking form for Publications/materials.” Truth be told, this is unacceptable and pure merchandising of the gospel.”


The letter called for a halt in the alleged intimidation of those who refuse to do the bidding of the Nigerian Anglican Church in the name of canonical obedience.

He said in the letter that this was the first time the church would experience what he called “Primatial Unilateral Upgrade of Suffragan Bishops To Become Missionary Bishops.”

Anglican Bishops according to him have always been elected

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