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Don’t see your election as an achievement, Akinfenwa tells new Anglican Bishops

...decries corrupt leadership

by Church Times

Anglican Bishop of Ibadan Diocese, The Most Revd Joseph  Akinfenwa has said being a bishop in the Anglican communion should not be seen as an achievement but rather should be seen as a challenge and a call to serve.

Akinfenwa made the submission at the consecration ceremony of four new bishops and the presentation of two archbishops in the communion on Sunday, August 27 at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral Church, Ikeja, Lagos.

Those consecrated are The Venerable Collins Babalola for Ajayi Crowther Diocese, The Venerable Festus Nwafili for Ndokwa Diocese, The Venerable Ifedola Okupevi for Lagos Diocese, and The Venerable Ebenezer Saiki for Akoko-Edo Diocese.

Others present at the event include the Dean-elect, The Most Rev (Dr.) Blessing Enyindah, two Archbishops-elect; The Most Revd (Dr.) Michael Fape of Remo Diocese for Lagos Province and The Rt. Rev’d Timothy Yahaya of Kaduna Diocese for Kaduna Province.

Some of the newly consecrated bishops taking oath of office

Look beyond celebration

Akinfenwa said. ‘By now I am sure people would have been congratulating you. You must have received all kinds of visitors.  Even as we talk now, some people are preparing for the celebration. I am not saying it is wrong to celebrate, but look beyond the celebration, look beyond the merriment. There is work to be done. There are souls to be saved.

“This assignment is a divine recruitment. If they make you bishop, take it as a challenge, not an achievement. From today erase the word achievement from your file. Take this call as a service, not a call to come and chop. It is a call to serve your Lord. It is not enjoyment and pomposity of office.”

While noting that the church in Nigeria has over the years become a missionary-sending church, he said, “Those leading the church can’t be preaching monarchical episcopacy. Our episcopate has to be pastoral, it has to be evangelical, it has to be apostolic.”

Don’t Lord over people

Akinfenwa said further that if we will not offend the Lord, “Even if they call us lord Bishop, be careful. We should not be acting as Lords and lording over the people we are supposed to serve. We can’t be bishops, archbishops and be commanding people to bring us tributes”

He said “The primary purpose of any church is to preach the gospel and win souls. Any church that seeks to please the Lord must prioritize soul winning.”

Primate of the Church of NIgeria, Anglican Communion, The Most Revd Henry Ndukuba,his wife and some top oficials of the church after the consecration service


The Anglican Bishop expressed dismay at the calibre of people in government while noting that many of those who have criminal records are the people in both the legislative and executive arms of government.

He said the quality of leadership in the country shows the Church has a lot of work to do to evangelise the country.

His words, “Despite the noise of worship in Nigeria, who is not embarrassed by the level of corruption in the land. A society gets the leader it deserves. Even the one that was described as an epitome of integrity, corruption gave him a technical knockout. The level of corruption under him was unimaginable. But he managed to keep us safe till his tenure elapsed.

“We have now been assured of renewed hope. But it is human beings that will run the government. When we saw the legislators, we put our hands on our heads and screamed and said ha! But then we said, it is the executive that will carry out the functions of government.”

The Nigeria Irony

Making reference to an article he wished was not true, Akinfenwa said, “Nigeria has 36 states and it has appointed 48 ministers. The US has 51 states and they have 15 secretaries, our own equivalent of ministers. Out of the 48 ministerial nominees, 41 have pending cases with the EFCC and ICPC. Out of them 9 persons who lost the governorship election resurrected and made it to the list and are already confirmed. In all, we only have about 10 new names. The list has been mainly the same people we have known from our primary school days. Most of these known names are people with moral baggage.”

The Anglican bishop wondered if there were no fresh people who could be given ministerial positions

The Most Revd (Dr.) Michael Fape of Remo Diocese for Lagos Province and The Rt. Rev’d Timothy Yahaya of Kaduna Diocese for Kaduna Province taking oath of office


Church still far from the goal

He reasoned that what is happening in Nigeria has only shown that we have not started while insisting that the church still has a long way to go.

“What this tells us is that the church has not produced enough good people or the ones we produced have not been empowered enough to get to the position of power.”

He charged the new bishops to take up the challenge of calling people out of darkness.

“We need to intensify prayers for souls. The time has come for us to pray hard and also to speak up. Don’t be a quiet bishop. Speak the truth to authority and speak in the power of the holy spirit. We have been called to speak against injustice in the land.” he said.

The Most Rev Henry Ndukuba and the newly inaugurated Archbishops and their wives

Jesus the secret

The task ahead according to him, is daunting. He said however that, “This work has a secret. If you travel the road with Jesus he will see you through. Let him lead you. We must trust in him as we proceed in this journey. If you hold unto the Lord, you will retain the joy of your salvation. You will run and not be weary. But if you go in your power, the brightness in your face will disappear”

He urged the dioceses to cooperate with the new bishops and forget the past. “Those who keep looking back will either slow down or lose out completely. As a church, we have taken useful lessons from what happened yesterday. Now it is time to march forward, to press towards the goal. Let the clergy and laity rally around their bishops. Let us be an active part of the sending church.”

The event attracted the who is who in the Anglican Communion and some notable names like the former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel. It was a celebration of Anglicanism.

Of all the newly consecrated bishops, the Bishop of Lagos is of more interest because it would be the first time the Church would elect a Lagosian and someone from within the Diocese of Lagos as Bishop in the diocese. Three of the bishops also; Akoko Edo, Ndukwa, and Lagos were replacements of bishops who died in active service.


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