It needs to be recalled that the idea for the Missionary Diocese of Kubwa to be created from her mother diocese, Diocese of Abuja, was conceived by the Church of Nigeria Standing Committee (the type that shall convene in the Diocese of Kubwa come February 1 – 5, 2016), in her meeting of September 2004, at Enugu. In that meeting approval was given for the creation of 9 new missionary dioceses. Kubwa was one of them. Furthermore, the Episcopal Synod of the Church of Nigeria, popularly known as House of Bishops, met at the Chapel of St. Peter, Ibru Centre, Agbarha-Otor in Delta State, January 2005, in a weeklong annual Episcopal Retreat. There the then bishop of Gusau Diocese, Rt. Rev. (now late) Simon Bala, was translated to lead the new Missionary Diocese of Kubwa. The new diocese was then made up of 6 archdeaconries: Cathedral, Kubwa, Nyanya, Karmo, Lugbe and Kuje. On March 12, 2005, the new bishop of Kubwa was enthroned at the Cathedral Church of St. Bartholomew, Kubwa, by the then Primate, Archbishop Peter Jasper Akinola. Then the journey to build a new diocese began. Unfortunately, barely three years into this hitherto exciting journey, precisely on Sunday October 19, 2008, tragedy struck. The very young Bishop Simon Bala (44) was snatched by the cold hands of death. To the parishioners of the ‘baby’ diocese, it was sunset at dawn. The shock of the sudden demise of the hardworking bishop cast a long terrible gloom on the entire diocese until reprieve came with the translation of the towering Bishop of Zonkwa, Rt. Revd. Duke T. Akamisoko, to the Diocese of Kubwa. In no time, the new bishop rolled up his sleeves and got everyone back into the busy mode. From then onwards, dull moments beat a hasty retreat from the diocese.
In his very first interview with Christian HERLAD (the magazine of Kubwa Diocese) while still at the Diocese of Zonkwa, before his translation to the Diocese of Kubwa on the 15th of February, 2009, Rt. Rev’d. Duke Akamisoko declared: “…My coming to Kubwa is to work. It’s not for fun. So if you are congratulating me for coming to work, that is okay!” Again, at his 5th anniversary as Bishop of Kubwa, just before the foundation stone for the commencement of work on the new ultra-modern Cathedral Church of St. Bartholomew, Kubwa was laid on the 21st of July 2013, he revealed to the Christian HERLAD (CH) the secret behind his approach to leadership. As a historian, he had studied the lives of many great leaders, including that of Alexander the Great, the founder of the city of Alexandria in Egypt, whom he regarded as his hero. He (Alexander the Great) lived only for thirty three years; and within just three years of his reign, conquered the known world.
Said the Bishop, “If my mentor, Alexander the Great, was alive today to see how little I have accomplished within these past four years of my leadership of Kubwa Diocese, he would certainly be angry with me…” And this was in response to the position of the CH that he was moving too fast for a lot of people with the many projects he had embarked upon. At that time, apart from its preparation for the foundation laying ceremony of the new Cathedral building, the diocese was also getting ready to take off with its proposed Anglican University, while still grappling with the challenges thrown up with the ongoing Anglican Comprehensive Secondary School, Kpeyegyi, FCT projects, among many other gigantic projects.
He began right from the first week of his enthronement with the foundation laying ceremony of the now finished and dedicated state-of-the-art, 50-bed Anglican Hospital, Kubwa, a project that was originally the brain-child of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of the Cathedral Church of St. Bartholomew, Kubwa.
+ Duke as part of his start off in the Diocese of Kubwa and in his plan to move faster in the volume of work before him, made ten Deacons on 6th of December, 2009 to add to the team of Priests in the Diocese of Kubwa. They are: Rev’d. Istifanus Zakka , Rev’d. David Macson, Rev’d. Solomon Esomu, Rev’d. Innocent Ofurum, Rev’d. Melfold Ewurum, Rev’d. Anthony Ishaya, Rev’d. Godwin Iloba, Rev Alloysius Duru, Rev’d. Ibrahim Dauda and Rev’d Samuel Gaiya. This was after a rigorous post Theological/Seminary 3 months in-house training, that included Saturdays and elimination assignments and examination(marked with positions and prices given), 10 books reviews and a week of Church services/indoor/prayers and not external communication (No phone, e-mail, no family members contact etc). They were ordained Priests a year after. The following were also ordained Priest on 6th of December, 2009: Rev’d. Can Dr. Louis Ochei, Rev’d. Can Emeka Anyaorah, Rev’d. Kenneth I Ekeh, Rev’d. Tom R. Pam and Rev’d. Ojo Kayode Samuel.
When in November 30, 2011 (barely 2 years old on the saddle), Bishop Akamisoko and other bishops, laid by the Primate of All Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, dedicated three giant projects – the new imposing bishop’s court, the magnificent new St. Andrew’s Church, Kubwa, and the equally magnificent Cathedral Conference Centre – in one fell swoop, not a few thought that that was a defining moment in the life of the diocese. But certainly, it has proved with time to be only the beginning of greater landmark accomplishments by the Akamisoko-led Diocese of Kubwa.
It needs to be recalled that the idea for the Missionary Diocese of Kubwa to be created from her mother diocese, Diocese of Abuja, was conceived by the Church of Nigeria Standing Committee (the type that shall convene in the Diocese of Kubwa come February 1 – 5, 2016), in her meeting of September 2004, at Enugu. In that meeting approval was given for the creation of 9 new missionary dioceses. Kubwa was one of them.
Furthermore, the Episcopal Synod of the Church of Nigeria, popularly known as House of Bishops, met at the Chapel of St. Peter, Ibru Centre, Agbarha-Otor in Delta State, January 2005, in a weeklong annual Episcopal Retreat. There the then bishop of Gusau Diocese, Rt. Rev. (now late) Simon Bala, was translated to lead the new Missionary Diocese of Kubwa. The new diocese was then made up of 6 archdeaconries: Cathedral, Kubwa, Nyanya, Karmo, Lugbe and Kuje.
On March 12, 2005, the new bishop of Kubwa was enthroned at the Cathedral Church of St. Bartholomew, Kubwa, by the then Primate, Archbishop Peter Jasper Akinola. Then the journey to build a new diocese began.
Unfortunately, barely three years into this hitherto exciting journey, precisely on Sunday October 19, 2008, tragedy struck. The very young Bishop Simon Bala (44) was snatched by the cold hands of death. To the parishioners of the ‘baby’ diocese, it was sunset at dawn. The shock of the sudden demise of the hardworking bishop cast a long terrible gloom on the entire diocese until reprieve came with the translation of the towering Bishop of Zonkwa, Rt. Revd. Duke T. Akamisoko, to the Diocese of Kubwa. In no time, the new bishop rolled up his sleeves and got everyone back into the busy mode. From then onwards, dull moments beat a hasty retreat from the diocese.
Within the period under review, the diocese suffered yet another sad loss in 2014. This time it was the pioneer Chancellor, Chief John Kayode Jegede, SAN, (77) who was called to eternal glory on Wednesday 9th April, 2014. He was buried in his home town on Friday 6th June, 2014. Chief Jegede was a retired member of the bench, who rose to the very pick of his flourishing legal career and retired as the Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Bwari, Abuja, before he took up the office of the first Chancellor of the Diocese of Kubwa.
For us in this fledgling Diocese, there are innumerable reasons to give thanks to God for especially making us part of the history that keeps unfolding in the Church. We may not have all the statistics, but from available records this remains one of the fastest growing dioceses in the history of the Church of Nigeria. Barely 10 years old, the diocese has grown to 13 archdeaconries, up from 6 archdeaconries at inception. The young diocese is proprietor to three thriving and top-notch secondary schools in the FCT. It also operates a Monotechnic of sort – Kubwa Anglican Diocesan Training Centre (KADTC) – an institution providing diploma courses in lay ministry. It is saddled with an on-going gigantic university project. It runs a guest house. And more recently it established a 50-bed state-of-the-art Anglican Hospital, the very first in the history of any diocese in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).
In a short while, the ultra-modern St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral, Kubwa, with a sitting capacity of about 5,000 worshippers shall be dedicated by the Primate of All Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh. The new cathedral built in record 2 and half years, ranks among the biggest church in all of Church of Nigeria. Surprisingly, in spite of all these, Bishop Akamisoko insists that he has done nothing yet to be proud of. In a recent interview with the Christian HERALD, he advised those complaining that he is having too many projects on-going at the same time to stop, because he has not even started.
To compliment the healthcare services of the Diocese, there is also the Kubwa Diocesan Development & Welfare Services (KDDWS), a Faith-Based Organization established in 2007 and registered under the Companies and Allied Matters of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in 2011. KDDWS is structured to work with stake-holders and international partners to harness the resources of local communities through capacity building, collaboration, education, advocacy and direct service delivery. With the deployment of about 150 community volunteers, who had been trained and equipped with motor-cycles, the penetration of KDDWS into the remotest parts of the three Area Councils of AMAC, Bwari and Kuje of the FCT, is incredible. Among its major sponsors is Christian Aid Nigeria which partners with KDDWS to give services to rural communities of the FCT in the areas of Community Health, Water Sanitation & Hygiene, Peace and Conflict Resolution, Community Development, etc. The great impact that this service arm of the Diocese has had on the benefitting communities is indeed unquantifiable.
Besides, the growth and fruitfulness of the Diocese are clearly manifest in the number of archdeaconries born within the same period. This six-archdeaconry-missionary-diocese at inception has more than doubled in less than 10 years, rising to thirteen presently. They are: Cathedral, Kubwa, Nyanya, Bwari, Karmo, Karshi, Kuje, Lugbe, FHA Lugbe, Saburi, Airport, Aco, Pegi, and Dutse. Interestingly, each of these archdeaconries has one giant project or another that it has successfully prosecuted or is still prosecuting. They include new church buildings finished and dedicated in Church of Pentecost, FHA-Lugbe, St. John’s Church, Sauka, St. Peter’s Church, St. Luke’s Church, All Souls’ Church and Multi-Purpose Hall, AMAC/Aco Estate, Sabon Lugbe, all along Airport Road, and St. Peter the Rock, Navy Estate, Karshi. New vicarages finished and dedicated include: Emmanuel Church, Dutse, St. John’s, Sauka, St. Mark’s Airport, St. Matthew’s and St. Luke’s in Airport, and recently St. Andrew’s Church, Kubwa.
New Churches still under construction include: St. Barnabas’, Byazhin, Anglican Church, Kungabakun, St. James’ Ijayaipi, all in Dutse Archdeaconry; St. Matthew’s Phase IV, Kubwa, Christ Church, Saburi, etc. A Multi-Purpose Hall and Conference Centre are also under construction at St. Paul’s Church, Nyanya. There are certainly many more other projects quietly going on all around the Diocese that may not have captured attention yet, but suffice it to say there are no dull moments in the Diocese of Kubwa.
Furthermore, something spectacularly great is happening to churches that have so far hosted the Synod within the period under review. It is the transformation that takes place in these churches after the Synod. So far seven synods have come and gone within the period. They are:
*1st session of the 1st Synod held in September 2009 at St. Andrew’s Church, Kubwa. It was the 1st session of the 1st synod because it was the very first synod held as a full-fledged Diocese having been weaned after its initial three years tutelage as a missionary diocese under the ‘motherhood’ of the Diocese of Abuja.
*2nd session of the 1st synod held in July 2010 at the Cathedral Church of St. Bartholomew, Kubwa.
*3rd session of the 1st synod held in July 2011 at St. Luke’s Church, Kuje. It is noteworthy that this happened to be the first synod ever hosted by Kuje in spite of being one of the oldest churches in the Diocese. It also marked a turning point in the history of this church.
*1st session of the 2nd synod held in July 2012 at St. Peter’s Church, Karu.
*2nd session of the 2nd synod held in St. Paul’s Church, Nyanya in July 2013.
*3rd session of the 2nd synod held in July 2014, at the Church of the Holy Trinity, FHA, Lugbe; and
*1st session of the 3rd synod held 23 -26, July 2015, at St. John’s Church, Lugbe.
On hosting the synod, the Bishop set a standard that ensures that the host Churches receive tremendous face-lifts. Obsolete facilities are replaced with modern ones. Some of the churches go the whole hog to install air-conditioning systems in the Church auditorium to make worship more pleasurable. Some rework their compounds with beautiful landscapes. In the final analysis, the Bishop’s insistence on standards becomes a blessing for Churches that host the synod, as the dividends accruing there from raise the market value of the Churches, standing them out as more befitting places of worship.
It is also noteworthy that setting timelines for the start and completion of projects, which has been one of the Bishop’s winning formulas, is clearly a more acceptable leadership style. For instance, the new St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral, the foundation stone of which was laid on 21st July, 2013, is billed for dedication on the 6th of February, 2016; 2 years and 6 months completion period. It has shattered the Anglican stereotype of our fathers and forefathers, which leaves a people building a church for twenty, thirty or more years without ever completing them in one generation. This is clearly a sign of blurred vision or painlessness or both. It is not acceptable in our time. What is acceptable to us remains the Primate (Emeritus) Akinola’s now famous mantra that “The Reward for Good Work is More Work!”
Compiled by Peter Akparanta
FROM GARBAGE BIN TO ULTRA MODERN CATHEDRAL
(Historical analysis of the evolution of the Cathedral Church of St. Bartholomew, Kubwa, from 1986 to date.)
The upwardly mobile Diocese of Kubwa is on the march again. This time, the new 5,000 seater ultra-modern St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral shall be dedicated unto God by the Primate of all Nigeria Metropolitan, Archbishop and Bishop of Abuja Diocese, His Grace, Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh, come February 6, 2016. The dedication of the Cathedral shall be the highpoint of the Church of Nigeria’s Standing Committee meeting hosted by the Diocese of Kubwa, February 1 – 5, 2016.
The stage for this epoch-making dedication was set July 21, 2013. On this day the foundation for the church building was laid by the Primate. Also on hand to lend more episcopal support to the unfolding history was the Primate emeritus, Most Revd. Peter Jasper Akinola, immediate past Primate of Church of Nigeria.
This day was unique for more reasons than one. It was on this same day that the lovely twin babies born to the family of the Bishop of Kubwa, Rt. Rev. Duke T. Akamisoko, were baptized and dedicated unto God. The timing of their birth (April 30, 2013) was interpreted by the bishop as the twins’ tacit endorsement of the cathedral expansion project.
The committee to plan and prosecute this assignment was sworn into office Saturday July 6, 2013 at St. Paul’s Church Nyanya at the Diocesan Board meeting. The committee was headed by Engr. Osita Anazodo. The initial mandate at the committee’s swearing in was for the new cathedral to be delivered on or before March 12, 2015, when the diocese would be celebrating her 10th year anniversary. But as the cathedral building project progressed in its beauty and splendor, a shift in date to February 6, 2016, became necessary to ensure that there was no compromise on quality on account of haste.
The story of the Cathedral Church of St. Bartholomew, Kubwa, is a classical case study in the proverbial rise from grass to grace; or more fittingly, from garbage bin to ultra-modern Cathedral. It started way back in 1986, according to available records, when the bulk of its pioneer members were made to relocate from St. Bartholomew’s Church, Giri, (now known as the University of Abuja Staff quarters, along Gwagwalada road in the Diocese of Gwagwalada) from 1985 to 1986. There were also other civil servants, private business people and construction workers who relocated and settled at the Phase 1, Site 1, (a.k.a PW) section of Kubwa.
Real church services began in the sitting room of Late Mrs. E. Obi, then a school teacher. It later shifted to the home of the Dadas in 1987. Then again it relocated to Kubwa 1 Primary School; and thereafter to a batcher in between the present location of CPM and ECWA Churches in PW, Kubwa.
In 1990, the church had its first full-fledged vicar in the person of then Rev. Canon I.K. Okpuno. He was succeeded in February 1, 1991 by Rev. Bitrus Baba Avong (now a Venerable with the Diocese of Dutse). It was within these periods that concerted efforts were made to secure a permanent worship place for the parishioners. This effort paid off in February 1992. The Church was allocated a permanent plot of land at the point known today as No.1 Oduduwa Street, Phase 2, Site 2, Kubwa. However, it was then substantially a huge refuse dump for the inhabitants around there.
To the amazement of all, and in the same mysterious ways our God is known to work, the then bishop of Abuja (who is now Primate emeritus, Most Rev. Peter Akinola) chose this ‘refuse dump’ of a site as venue for the diocese to celebrate Nigeria’s 150 years of the coming of the Church Missionary Society (CMS). The entire diocese gathered, sang and worshipped at this site. It was after they had finished singing what appeared like a prophetic hymn: CH 631: “God is working His purpose out,” that the then bishop Akinola declared that the ground had been consecrated to God, and that construction work for a new church building should commence immediately.
It was a tall order; a herculean task. As usual some hesitated, some grumbled, few others turned their back and worked away in protest, but the work of building God’s temple commenced nonetheless. The church broke into the first set of societies: Christ Morning Star, Christ Ambassadors, Band of Grace and Peace & Love. Donations were coming in cash and kind. This included His Lordship, the bishop of Abuja who inspired the rest of the willing parishioners with his pledge to provide all the window frames. Many others volunteered their expertise and time; and by April of that same year (1991), the church building had been taken to the level where it could begin to host normal services.
As this was happening, a major restructuring of the diocese was done. Some new archdeaconries were created. Kubwa Archdeaconry was among them. It comprised Kubwa, Idu-Karmo, Gwagwa and Bwari among other parishes.
In 1993, Ven. Akin Akindoyeni, assisted by the then Rev. Dauda Habu, assumed duty as Vicar and Curate respectively, and continued from where Rev. Avong had stopped. The Vicar, a professional architect, deployed his skill to design and build the first vicarage that gave way 2 years ago for the new Cathedral. He also pushed work to near completion in the church building. He had a specific vision then to draw back all run-away members, as well as few others who found the task of building a new church with such a haste too daunting, and so migrated to other churches. To the glory of God he delivered substantially on both tasks of completing work on the vicarage and drawing members back to the fold within his tenure that spanned 1993 t0 1994.
Full church activities went on and many priests took their turns in the new Kubwa Archdeaconry. But it was in 1997, when the then Ven. Samuel O. Oke (now Bishop of Ekiti West Diocese) assumed duty that the foundation for the demolished old cathedral building was laid. The feasibility report for the church was prepared and submitted by Engr. Godwin Azinge. It was for a church that should seat at least 2, 000 worshippers at a go. Engr. Azinge also became the natural choice to head the then building committee that carried out the spade work for the building project to take off the ground.
While this was on, the Vicar, Ven. Oke also moved fast to secure the boundaries of the compound and built a perimeter fence around it. The church building project received a boost with the visionary launch of a N5 Million appeal fund on November 21, 1998. The fund raising committee, then chaired by Engr. Olawoyin Olaniyan also had Dr. (Mrs.) Gloria N. Elemo as Secretary. It attracted such notable personalities as Prof. Jerry Gana as well as Gen. (Dr.) Yakubu Gowon, who was represented. Their participation saw to it that a substantial sum was raised to push the project to a significant level.
From the home front, very significant supportive roles were played by such notable members as Chief & Mrs. Frank Ogugua (VicPhranc), Sir & Lady C.U Ononiwu, Chief & Mrs. Enoch Onwudiwe, Chief (late) & Mrs, Angus Nmoh, Prince & Mrs. O Imasuen, MON, Nze & Lolo Sydney Moneke, Mr. & Mrs. Francis Nwosu, Dr. Michael A.O Obidoa, Dr. Ben Obi, Dr. & Mrs. Louis Ochei, Dr. & Mrs. Tony E.B Philips, Dr. J. Okpara, etc. These strong hands on the deck along with many others too numerous to mention, saw to it that work progressed rapidly on the new church building.
At a stage, leadership of the building committee changed hands. It was now Nze Sydney Moneke on the saddle as chairman. He was ably supported by Pharm (now Sir) Chuka Omoba Okoye, then the People’s Warden, Mr. Nath Augustine Kolo, the Pastor’s Warden, along with the hard working parishioners, the building was roofed. This was the setting when in May 12, 1999, the church played host for the first time to the synod of the Diocese of Abuja. Later in the year, Ven Oke departed to assume his new office as the bishop of the diocese of Ekiti-West, and Rev. Canon (now Ven Rtd.) Ihechi Dike took over as the new supervising priest. During his tenure, the wooden roof of the new church was discovered not strong enough to stand the test of time. The church courageously moved and brought the entire roof down and replaced it with the steel trusses that were standing till the point of demolition.
In August 2001, a new Vicar took over from Ven. Dike. He was Rev. Canon Martins Sunday Bello. He was an evangelist and hard worker per excellence. With a new team in the building committee comprising Engrs. Vincent Ugwuanyi, Ben Ileka, Adegunloye Edebowale, Sofodu, Mr. John Bello, Mrs. Adetoro Odunlami, Architects Oti and Collins Ahumibe, Surveyor Sam Okoro, Abiodun Olasiyan and few other tested hands in charge of the building project, it was made ready for dedication on August 24, 2002 by the Diocesan and Primate, Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola.
The growth of both the diocese and the Archdeaconry was also tremendously enhanced by the resourceful contribution of a think-tank group led by Dr. Tony E.B. Phillips. They acted with divine inspiration as the brain box that supplied the silent intellectual power that put both the Diocese of Abuja and the Kubwa Archdeaconry a step ahead of their peers.
There was also the Kubwa Archdeaconry Episcopal Reception Committee (KAERC), the brain child of the Supervising Priest, then Rev. Canon Bello. The sole responsibility of KAERC was to prepare the Archdeaconry for the annual episcopal visits of the Bishop of Abuja and Primate of All Nigeria. A substantial part of this report was supplied by the two-time Secretary of this committee (2002/2003), Mrs. Joan Oji. It was variously headed by Dr. Louis Ochei (2001), Dr. Michael Obidoa (2002), Mr. J.O Malomo of the Chapel of Grace, Law School, Bwari (2003), and Mrs. Nwando Ileka (2004).
There was another change of baton in July 30, 2004. Ven. Emmanuel A. Adekola took over from now late Ven. Martins Bello. It was variously opined that the new vision, vibrancy and administrative acumen, which Ven. Adekola brought to bear, coupled with the high standards already set with the work of the KAERC, positioned the Kubwa Archdeaconry for its choice as the headquarters of the new missionary diocese that eventually came to be. The new Archdeacon was ably assisted by another vibrant priest in the person of Rev. Samuel Akale. Their strength was hugely boosted by the quality assistance of the duo of Dr. (now Rev. Canon) Louis Ochei as People’s Warden and Barr. Bob Ezeh, who later handed over to then Mr. (now Ven.) Adamu Sabo as Pastor’s Warden.
In September 2004, the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria, in its meeting at Enugu, approved the formation of 9 new missionary dioceses. The Missionary Diocese of Kubwa was one of them with its headquarters at St. Bartholomew’s Church, Kubwa. It was carved out of what remained of the Diocese of Abuja, after the creation of Gwagwalada diocese.
Furthermore, the Episcopal Synod of the Church of Nigeria also called the House of Bishops, in its annual retreat at the Chapel of St. Peter, Ibru Centre, Agbarha-Otor in Delta State, January 2005, approved the translation of the then bishop of Gusau, Zamfara State, Rt. Rev (late) Simon Bala as the pioneer bishop of the Kubwa diocese. On Saturday March 12, 2005, the bishop of Kubwa was enthroned in his Cathedral, the Cathedral Church of St. Bartholomew, Kubwa.
Barely three years on the saddle as bishop, tragedy struck. The very young, amiable, hardworking evangelist of a bishop, Rt. Rev. Simon Bala was snatched by the cold hands of death, Sunday October 19, 2008. It was exactly seven days after his 44th birthday. The entire diocese, the Church of Nigeria, friends and family members literally moved heaven and earth to save his life from a strange and stubborn cancer. But his time was up as it seemed, and he graciously bowed to the divine call to eternal glory. It remains yet the darkest moment in the history of the young diocese in general and the Cathedral in particular.
However to help stabilize the ship of the diocese, the Primate announced the appointment of a Vicar General. He was Ven. Samuel Adekola, then the Cathedral Priest. He was to hold sway pending the translation of a new bishop to the diocese. This he did creditably well.
Twenty five days away from the 4th birthday of the fledgling diocese of Kubwa, precisely on Sunday February 15, 2009, the new bishop of Kubwa, the towering Rt. Rev. Duke T. Akamisoko was enthroned as the 2nd bishop of the diocese. He was translated from the diocese of Zonkwa, interestingly the home diocese of the late Bishop Bala.
The arrival of Bishop Akamisoko brought in its wake a new vibrancy, vigour, drive and dynamism that pulled the entire parishioners out of the haunting moodiness and stupor that came with the sudden demise of the pioneer bishop. This appears now to be the definition of his bishopric, that in 6 years of presiding over the affairs of the diocese, great transformation has occurred in all facets of its young life.
The Cathedral has continuously been blessed with very capable hands on the saddle at every point in time assisting the bishop in the building process. They include: Ven. Samuel S. Gomina and team – Rev’d. Obesike, Rev’d. Can Emeka Anyorah, Rev’d. Can Babatunde Oyesina, Ven Rex Moses Eze and team – Rev’d. Emmaneul Nwachukwu, Rev’d. Simeon Obesike, Rev’d. Can Francis Umegwuagu, Ven Gabriel Adelekan, Rev’d. Adefila, Rev’d. Solomon Esomu, Ven. Bitrus Habila team – Rev’d. Simeon Obesike, Rev’d. Can Hosea Dogo Shagi, Rev’d. Daniel Ozovehe and currently Rev. Canon (Dr.) Louis Ochei – Rev’d. Simeon Obesike, Rev’d. Can Hosea Dogo Shag. Moreover, between 2009 to date the following persons have taking turns in administering over the Cathedral as People’s Wardens. They include: Dr. Peter Ogbusu, Dame Joan Oji, KSM, Chief Chuks Odunze and currently Mr. Ukandu Ibekwe.
Furthermore, amidst many other gigantic projects, the bishop has insisted that every effort be made to raise the standard of the Cathedral to a level comparable to any other in the modern world. The Cathedral compound was rid of dilapidated structures. He continued to work and rework the compound to give the landscape a befitting facelift.
Now, under the strong supervision of Arc. Collins Ahumibe (the Cathedral Architect) and his team of Engineers and Builders, and in a record time of about 2 years and 6 months, a new and more befitting ultra-modern Cathedral is ready to be dedicated in the place of the old one. The 5,000 seater magnificent Cathedral is easily one of the biggest in the whole of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).
The people have been willing because the ‘captain’ is tested and trusted. He is good in the ‘cock-pit’ and has all the ‘navigational tools’ to land safely at destination and in good time too. For the good people of St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral, Kubwa and the entire good people of the diocese, we say “to God be the Glory, great things He had done!”
Compiled by Peter AKPARANTA
The Kubwa Community is one of the major suburban districts in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria.
The Kubwa Community has been in existence since 1990 as a satellite town of Abuja. It is part of the Bwari Area Council which is one of the area councils in FCT. The distance from Wuse Market to Kubwa is approximately 26 Kilometres. The Gwagi people were the original residents but Kubwa community became an entirely new and heterogeneous community as a result of government policy on relocation of the Gwagi people, having the three major ethnic groups Hausa, Yorubas, Igbos and other ethnic minorities as the main inhabitants of the community; they are mainly civil servants, businessmen and women, commercial motorcycle riders, artisans and entrepreneurs. Sustainable Actions of Kubwa Community
Generally, the Kubwa community has grown and developed sustainably; however, it has been observed to be slow compared to other fast growing cities in the world. Residents attribute that their new diversity of ethnicity and professions coupled to their new infrastructure of roads, markets, and supermarkets has created a durable base for their new community as well (remarkably) as doing so at relatively affordable cost. Specific drivers of financial sustainability are attributed to the various types of businesses ranging from operating supermarkets, shops, general markets (such as Kubwa Market, site 2-phase 1 Market, etc.) engaged by community members. Other drivers include the fact that above 60 percent of the residents are civil servants who work with the federal and capital territory government organizations/institutions. The remaining areentrepreneurs, private security agents, low-cost housing builders, truck pushers, commercial motorcycle riders and real estate practitioners. Also, the establishment of cooperative societies and huge investments by community members have had huge influence on Kubwa financial sustainability. The community-friendly investment flexibilities of the cooperative societies are main reasons for huge financial investment by community members which include monthly and weekly cash deposits, higher interest on investment as compared to other financial institutions, etc. Environmental Management and Conservation Sustainability
Kubwa community is known as a modestly clean community by visitors and neighbouring communities, and by residents. Some of the actions that have facilitated sustainable environmental management include: adhering to the monthly sanitation exercise as mandated by the government, the Thursday market sanitation, voluntary sanitation and cleaning activities by some individuals, and the truck pushers who circulate the community packing and disposing of household waste at very low cost.
Also noteworthy is the fine on deforestation. Deforestation is discouraged in Nigeria by the government and supervised voluntarily by community members — particularly for economically sensitive crops such as mangoes, cashew trees. There are also conscious efforts by individuals who live in the estates and neighbourhoods within Kubwa to organize themselves in ensuring environmental management and conservation.
Kubwa cultural identity
Due to the fact that the original occupants of Kubwa community were relocated by a government policy, the cultural identity of the present community was found to be highly dispersed. Therefore, the major occupants are immigrants and Nigerians from either the three major ethnic nationalities (the Igbos, Hausas and Yorubas) or the minority ethnicities, which have influenced the cultural identity and practice in the community. Some important events are organized to sustain these cultural identities, such the Igbo day celebration, Bwari day celebration, Yoruba Day celebration, religious organizations are also very active in this instance, such as the churches organize cultural days celebrations. These events encourage cultural dancing competitions, dressings, native language speaking and practices.
Other unsustainable lifestyles of Kubwa community include indiscriminate disposal of waste, dumping of waste along or into the canals, sewerage systems that are channels for water flows. This has also made the rivers unsafe for domestic uses. The community has witnessed regular deforestation and cutting-down of trees for the purpose of buildings, infrastructural development, and burial grounds without plans to afforest or plant trees. The government and non-governmental organizations are not doing enough to sensitize and enlighten community members on sustainable environmental management.
The cultural identities of Kubwa community have been affected by members who most of the times dress in foreign attires, majority of the community members speak in English language or pigin English language. The increased attention to western education was also identified as a major force to unsustainable cultural conservation.
Further Representative Cultural Features
Religion is the main factor driving sustainable livelihood of the community. Above 90 percent of Kubwa population belong to one religion or the other, and there are two major religions (Christian and Islam).
Football Viewing Centres is another feature that has brought Kubwa community members together. Many youths find themselves in most of these centres viewing football matches. Just as an average Kubwa resident will always mention ‘Football matches such as the English Premiership has brought real unity and friendliness in this community’.
Hanging Out Centres at Recreation Places is a rising phenomena in the community. And almost all of the relaxation gardens that were originally built for community members’ relaxation have now been converted to hangout centres, These issues/factors are some overarching issues driving the sustainable and unsustainable development of the community.