The Most Rev'd Dr. C. A. Manduoma (JP)
The Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province
and Bishop of Ideato

Diocesan Crusade

2016 October to Remember.
Theme: Ideato For Christ
The crusade ended in a Church service with Archbishop's Admonition encouraging the Anglican Believers of Ideato both home and abroad to take the work of God in Ideato Diocese as their piority. Adding that so many brethren from Ideato are useful in many Churches outside Ideato Diocese, while their home churches are in need of people like them. He also stated that this programme will be a yearly event and St. John's Church Osina is the center
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Umunkwukwa Parish Inuaguration

Preferment of Archdeacon of Ven. Emmanuel Ideagha at the Synod

Event Title...SYNOD Thursday, April 25, 2019 02:00 PM 135 Days

Akokwa Women at the Diocesan Women Conference 2018

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THE HISTORY OF IDEATO DIOCESE

 

PREFACE

 

 

The history of Ideato Diocese is a simple narrative of status lost and status regained. It is an attempt to highlight the arrival of the gospel message in the area now designated as Ideato Diocese, the impact of the gospel message, the cultural conflict it suffered and the resultant effect on the area that is the seat of the gospel message, St. Peter’s Church Arondizuogu, where the flame of evangelism was lit by one blind Abraham Imo Okike in 1908. This history narrates in simple style what led to the loss of the status of St. Peter’s Church as the headquarters of the churches in Okigwe and Orlu Anglican Communion in 1921.

 

This history records the conscious and consistent efforts of the Ideato Christian Representatives led by Sir B.U. Ohanugo and late Sir Peter Abamara (Chairman and Secretary respectively) to regain the lost status after 78 years of patiently and faithfully working with the Lord in the belief of Ezekiel’s prophesy that “The bone shall rise again:. The patience was rewarding as the lost status was regained.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The history of Ideato can be traced to the activities of one blind Abraham Imo Okike who traveled to C.M.S. Hospital Iyi-enuOgidi to receive treatment to regain his sight. To the Glory of God, he regained his sight. In addition, he also received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. Back home with a few handful Christian converts, the flame of the gospel message started blazing and spread to most parts of what is now known as Orlu, Okigwe North and South Dioceses. It is an unfortunate incident that this leadership of St. Peter’s Church was short-lived. Through Imo Okike, the gospel message spread to some parts of what is now Ideato. The impact of the good news was very strong in these areas. Heathens abandoned their beliefs and practices and embraced Christianity.

 

The early coverts in these areas demonstrated strong faith in the Lord, cleared evil forests and shrines and established Anglican churches that comprise the present Diocese of Ideato.

 

THE LOSS OF LEADERSHIP BY ST. PETER’S IN OKIGWE AND ORLU ANGLICAN COMMUNION

 

It is a well known history that the Aros have a strong belief in their culture which found expression in the popular Ikeji Festival with the display of masquerades as a major event. Attempts to convince them to marry their culture with religion or set aside their culture in place of Christian Religion proved a Herculean task for the early evangelists.
In 1921, the popular Ikeji Festival fell on a Sunday. Rev. J.E. Ibeneme was the then resident Priest as St. Peter’s Church Arondizuogu. Which he was on the pulpit preaching, a masquerade dance group (Ogbangbada) was drumming and passing through the church premises. The cacophony generated by the dance group so disturbed the church service that the church Wardens were forced to intervene with the purpose of persuading the group to pass quietly through the premises. The group regarded the intervention of the church wardens as ants’ ranting, and instead of reducing the sound of the drums, they increased the pitch. This infuriated the Priest and he was forced to come down from the pulpit to confront the group as his church service was greatly disturbed. The masquerade and the group regarded the action of the Priest as an affront, since according to them, those who have not been initiated into the masquerade cult group have no right to talk or disturb the masquerade. The coming out of the reverend Pastor created an ugly scene as some unfortunate things happened. As a result, there was a free for all fight between the church member and the masquerade group.

 

Later, the problem was resolved but the damage had been done. Without notice, the resident priest (Rev. J.E. Ibeneme) who felt humiliated, moved out of Ndizuogu and went to Nkwerre. Little did people know that the headquarters status of St. Peter’s Church Arondizuogu moved with him. The St. Peter’s Church remained without even a church teacher in 1922. Attempts to invite Presbyterian authority to take over the church did not work, as the strong adherents continued to worship in St. Peter’s Church under administration of Rev. J.E. Ibeneme with assistance of Mr. Ezeoke from Nkwerre.

 

THE GROWTH OF THE CHURCHES IN NDIZUOGU AREA

 

Despite the ugly incident 1921, the fire of evangelism continued to blaze with tremendous success. Following the spiritual growth noticed in the churches in Arondizuoguarea, ndizuogu area was constituted into a district on January 21st, 1949 and inaugurated by Rt. Rev. C.J. Patterson, the Bishop on the Niger.

 


The district comprised the following churches:
1.        St Peter’s Ndizuogu headquarters
2.        St. Paul’s Church Urualla
3.        St. Peter’s Akokwa
4.        St. John’ Osina
5.        St. Mark’s Ndizuogu
6.        St. Paul’s Church Ndiuche
7.        St. Stephen’s Ndizuogu (now Uwakonye)
8.        St Andrew’s Ndizuogu
9.        Emmanuel Church Akpulu
10.      St. Paul’s Umuobom 1
11.      St. Thomas Isuokpu (now Obodoukwu)
12.      Emmanuel Church Umuobom 11
13.      St.Stephen’s Uzii
14.      St Luke’s Obodo (now Obodoukwu)
15.      St James Okwe (now Okigwe)
16.      St. Philip’s Umuduruegbeaguru (now in Okigwe)   

 

THE GROWTH OF NDIZUOGU DISTRICT
The Ndizuogu district attained both material and spiritual growth. It continued to play her role creditably in the Diocese on the Niger. The district was one of the 12 districts that comprised the Diocese of Owerri on the creation of Owerri Diocese on 27th January 1959. The area known as Ndizuogu District was constituted into an Archdeaconry by Rt. Rev. S.C.N. Ebo(rtd) following the creation of Okigwe/Orlu Diocese on November, 1984. VenM.U. Opara was the first Archdeacon, followed by VenG.N. Ugokwe. VenH.C. Akaniro was the last Archdeacon. At the time of seeking for the Diocesan status, the following parishes had been created, namely; Akokwa, Osina, Nwabosi, Urualla, Umuobom, Ndiuche and Isiekenesi. These parishes contributed immensely both in men and material to see through the creation of Ideato Diocese. The Ideato Archdeaconry was a strong factor in the development and growth of Okigwe/Orlu Diocese, contributing up to 25% of the Diocesan quota. Okigwe North and Okigwe South were created separate Dioceses on the 7th and 8th January 1994 respectively, leaving Ideato Archdeaconry out of the scheme. It dawned on Ideato Archdeaconry that delay is always dangerous and the situation agitated the minds of the members of the Archdeaconry Board and the quest for the creation of Ideato Diocese was then started.

 

THE DEMAND PROCESS FOR THE CREATION OF IDEATO DIOCESE
It is never an easy task to carve an empire out of an existing empire. After the creation of Okigwe North and Okigwe South Dioceses, the Christian Association which had been formed in Ideato Archdeaconry continued to grow stronger. Mention must be made of the pioneering efforts of the following individuals who made meaningful contributions towards the realization of the Diocesan status under the auspices of the aforementioned Christian Association. Late Sir Charles Okoli who was first Chairman of the Christian Association, Late Chief James Ugwu, Late Sir Peter Abamara, Late Sir Abba Uzoekwe, Sir B.U. Ohanugo, Late Sir R.C. Moneke and some others.

 

Consultations were also made with foremost indigenous Priests such as Rev. Canon R.J.UEze, Late Ven.G.N. Ugokwe and Late Rev. Canon G.C. Asiegbu.
Realizing how strong the Christian A ssociation had grown, the then Bishop of Orlu, Rt. Rev. S.C.NEbo made a pronouncement, banning the existence of Christian Association throughout the Orlu Diocese. This was aimed at frustrating future agitations for the creation of any Diocese from Orlu.

 

Undaunted by this pronouncement, the frontliners in the demand for the creation of Ideato Diocese resolved to go by a name different from Christian Association. This gave birth to Ideato Christian Representatives under the dynamic leadership of Sir B.U. Ohanugo and Late Sir Peter Abamara both serving as Chairman and Secretary respectively.The Christian Representatives decided to work with the Archdeaconry Board to gain the support of the Archdeacon Ven. H.C. Akaniro since he was supposed to take directives from his Bishop only. Praise should go to him for being able to manage the two situations.

 

To make the demand official,the Christian Representatives resolved to write an application for the creation of the Diocese of Ideato but not in the name of Ideato Christian Representatives because it lacked statutory powers. To this end, the Archdeaconry Board Secretary Mr Eric C. Emenike was asked to liaise with the Chairman of the Board, VenH.C. Akaniro, to direct for the preparation of the application. The Archdeacon complied with the request and the application was prepared. After it had been vetted by two lawyers who were members of Christian Representatives namely Sir Barr Ernest Okoli and Sir Barr P.C. Umensofor, who eventually became the Chancellor and Registrar of the Diocese respectively, the application was signed by representatives from parishes who were members of Archdeaconry Board. The application was then submitted. On 27th April, 1996 at St Luke’s Umueshi Archdeaconry Board meeting, the Chairman Ven.H.C. Akaniro reported the submission of the application.

 

Following successful submission of the application, the Ideato Christian Representatives intensified efforts in sourcing for funds within and outside. A team of five namely Sir B.UOhanugo, Sir Julius Ezeani, Lady Eunice Iwuchukwu, Lady Franca Onyekwere and Lady Florence Abamara was sent out to townships to appeal for funds. Launchings were organized and heavy sums were realized.

 

The Archdeaconry house was started under the chairmanship of Sir DrG.N. Iheaku with Ven. G.N. Ugokwe as the Archdeacon. The work was later taken over by the works committee of the Christian Representatives. Some structural changes were effected to make the building a befitting Bishop’s House. Other phases of work and contracts were taken up.

 

APPROVAL OF APPLICATION FOR THE CREATION OF IDEATO DIOCESE
On 14th June 1997, during an emergency meeting of the Archdeaconry Board, the Board Chairman Ven. H.C. Akaniro broke the news of the approval of the application. In the same vein, a Diocesan Reference Committee appointed for that purpose, fixed 28th June, 1997 for inspection of the facilities provided for the proposed Diocese.

 

On the 17th September 1997 the report of the reference committee on the creation of Ideato Diocese was read in the Archdeaconry Board. The reference committee commended the effort of the Archdeaconry in the facilities already in place and advices that the bank account should be beefed up to make the inauguration of the Diocese faster. With this development, the Archdeaconry became involved financially as it teamed up with Christian Representatives and its leadership to direct things to make the proposed Diocese inauguration ready.

 

The one day synod at St. Barnabas Church Okwudor presided over by His Lordship Rt. Rev. B.C.IOkoro, now his Grace, strengthened the expectations as the Synod approved the creation of Ideato Diocese out of Orlu Diocese.

 

With this development the inauguration committee was created withn Sir B.U. Ohanugo and Mr. Eric C. Emenike as Chairman and secretary respectively. Everything that was required for the inauguration was put in place. A Logo of the Diocese was prepared –Christ the corner stone-which was meticulously composed by Lady Dr. Bessie Umeh turned into a beautiful Diocesan Anthem.

 

THE LOST STATUS REGAINED
12th July 1999 remains an important historic date in the life of Ideato Diocese and the entire congregation, as it marked the return of the headquarters status of St. Peter’s Church which shifted to Nkwerre in 1921.

 

To God be the glory for this divine event that beat the imagination of ordinary mortals, for in 1921, the ecclesiastical headquarters of the Churches in Okigwe and Orlu Anglican communion moved to Nkwerre and 78 years later, a Bishop was raised from the soil of Nkwerre to groom and nurture a Diocese of Ideato with headquarters at Arondizuogu to restore its dignity.

 

This Diocese is celebrating its 10th birthday today. This is a day of stock taking. The beginning of anything is never easy, how much less starting a new Diocese with rural setting. The new bishop Rt. Rev. G.C. Echefu took off with zeal in a grand style. He took off on 16th July 1999 with a maiden Diocesan Board and announced his intention to start the Diocese with a one day synod on the 13th August 1999, an occasion that enabled him to enunciate his policy actions on how to move the Diocese forward. This included the maiden development launching in which the Diocese sought to raise 2.5 million naira for a five year development plan that was to terminate in 2004. However the target was not fully realized.

 

The Diocese made progress in other areas like increase in the staff strength of the Diocese. Stations increased from 40 to 51; parishes 8 to 16. Five Archdeaconries were created, with two proposed.

 

Investiture of Knights of Saint Christopher and Dames of St. Mary covering the years 200, 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2013 was carried out.

 

On the area of Women Ministry, the Bishop’s wife Mrs Evelyn N. Echefu (Nnediugwu) initiated the sinking of a borehole on the premises of St. Peter’s church which could not be realized before 2004. Worthy of note is the establishment of Elizabeth Mary Sumner Convent at Akokwa to provide education for female students in the Diocese, since Saint John Christysostom Seminary Osina had already been in place for males.

 

Following the retirement of Bishop G.C. Echefu in 2004, Rt. Rev. Dr. C.A. Maduoma JP was enthroned on 7th August 2004 as the second Bishop of Ideato. Dr. C.A. Maduoma was faced with the task of reordering the priorities of the Diocese and working assiduously to get the Diocese stabilized. More churches were established and more workers employed to manage these churches. Archdeaconries were increased from 5 to 8. 19 parishes and 64 church stations were created to enhance effective evangelism.

 

Striking landmarks made by Rt. Rev. Dr. C.A. Maduoma JP to his credit in the area of production and recruitment of versatile Priests who are able to evangelize and able to develop the churches. He has also encouraged meaningful development in the churches in the Diocese.

 

He is not alone in these landmarks. His wife Mrs Onyinyechi Maduoma JP has successfully sunk a borehole to produce sachet and bottled water with NAFDAC approval. Through her, the women ministry is spiritually alive. The Diocese has taken up the sponsorship of Eha-amufu Missionary Diocese in the area of financing. The Diocese has also taken long strides in the area of purchase of plots of land at Abuja for development. Thank God the Diocese is doing well and has come to stay.

 

 

 

Primate

The Most Revd. Nicholas Dikeriehi Orogodo Okoh

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