OpinionsFor The Records40 Years After, A South-Easterner Becomes Anglican Primate

40 Years After, A South-Easterner Becomes Anglican Primate

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By George Best Okoroh

The fifth Metropolitan/Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion has just been elected.  He is the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, Archbishop of Jos Province and Bishop of Gombe Diocese.

Elected on Tuesday 24th September 2019 at the Cathedral Church of St Peter’s Asaba, Delta State duing the Episcopal Synod of the Church, Ndukuba  is the first Archbishop of South-East  extraction to be elected the Metropolitan/Primate of the Church of Nigeria and Bishop of Abuja Diocese. He succeeds The Most Rev’d Nicholas D Okoh whose term would  expire  by the end of March 2020.

The Constitution of the Church of Nigeria, allows for four nominations for the election of a Primate. This was strictly adhered to in Asaba. So, the election that produced ArchBishop Ndukuba was a contest between four Prelates, which included the former Archbishop of the Province of Ibadan and current Bishop of Ibadan, The Most Rev Joseph Akinfunwa, Bishop of Lokoja and former Archbishop of Lokoja Province, Most Rev Emmanuel Egbunu and the Vice Chancellor of Ajayi Crowther University and Bishop Theologian, The Rt. Rev Prof  Dapo Asaju.

The eventual winner, according to inside sources, was at the verge of declining and withdrawing his nomination for fear of losing out, but the spirit of God prevailed.

Taking a retrospective appraisal of the ministry of Archbishop Ndukuba, one would no doubt notice that fate  always guided him. His attainments were  well beyond coincidence, because they were simply the ways of God.

One interesting fact about the new Primate  is the uniqueness of the month of September and the number 9 in his life.

He was born in the 9th month, September 1959, ordained a Priest  in September , 1989, consecrated a Bishop in September 1999, presented as Archbishop in September 2017 and elected as Primate of all Nigeria in September 2019.

Meanwhile, according to his biography released by the Anglican Cable Network Nigeria, The  Most Rev’d Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba, who hails from Ogberuru, Orlu,  in Imo State, was born in Anambra State in September, 1959. He was ordained into the Holy Orders of Priesthood in September, 1989.He was consecrated the first Bishop of the new  Diocese of Gombe, with seven other Bishops on 21st September 1999. On 25 November 1999 the new Diocese was inaugurated as the 71st Diocese of the Church of Nigeria. In September 2017, the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) holding at St Paul’s Cathedral Diobu Port Harcourt elected Ndukuba as Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Jos.

The Most Rev’d Ndukuba is currently the Bishop of Gombe Diocese, Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Jos, and Chairman of the Liturgy and Spirituality Committee of the Church of Nigeria. His election   has been described as an act of God.   The Episcopal Secretary of the Church of Nigeria and Bishop of Okigwe South, The Rt. Rev David Onuoha, who disclosed this said the Church was grateful to God that the Episcopal Synod in Asaba was able to elect another committed, devoted and dedicated Prelate as the  leader of the Church of Nigeria in succession to the outgoing Primate, Most Rev Nicholas Okoh, who would be completing his mandatory ten-year tenure in March 2020, he added.

Onuoha  pointed out that they were pleased with the giant strides the Church has made within the tenure of Most Rev Okoh, stressing their joy knew no bounds on the election of Archbishop Ndukuba, a man who has been part of the monumental achievements and success story of the Okoh administration both spiritually, structurally and otherwise. Bishop Onuoha disclosed that the new Primate- elect had had the totality of his ministry in the north, stressing that in the face of the security challenges in the area, Archdeacon Ndukuba never thought of being translated to the South, insisting that his call was with the faithful in the North.

The fiery gospel preacher enumerated  the various roles of the Primate-elect in putting out the spiritual resource materials, like the Daily Devotion, Daily Fountain,The Dynamite, Bible study series amongst others for the spiritual development of the Church of Nigeria, describing the Archbishop as as one who by the  special grace of God has the character, competence, courage and the commitment to take the Church of God to greater heights.

The Primate-Elect is also reported to be a sound Biblical Scholar, Teacher, Master liturgist, Pastor and an accomplished Evangelist. The Constitution of the Church allows every Primate of the Church a two five years tenure or 70 years in age, whichever comes first, to retire from  his primacy.

Forty years ago 16 Dioceses of Nigeria, precisely  on 24 February 1979, were joined to constitite the Church of Nigeria, a newly founded Province of the Anglican Communion, with Timothy O. Olufosoye, then Bishop of Ibadan, becoming its first Archbishop, Primate and Metropolitan. In1986 Most Rev Joseph Abiodun Adetiloye became the Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria.

Worthy of note, also, is that between 1980 and 1988, eight additional Dioceses were created.  ArchBishop Adetiloye was succeeded by The Most Rev Peter Akinola in 2000 while the out-going Primate of All Nigeria, The Most Rev Nicholas D Okoh took over from him in 2010 .

The Primate-elect is married to Angela Eberechukwu Ndukuba, with whom he has children.

Okoroh is the Diocesan Communicator/Press Secretary , Diocese of Egbu 

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