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THE PLANTING OF CHRISTIANITY IN AKOKO-KUKURUKU AREA

By the end of this topic, you should be able to:
• describe how Christianity was spread to other parts of Akoko�Gbangiri by the Ogori people
• identify the benefits that were derived from Christianity by the Akoko- Gbangiri people.

3.1 The Planting of Christianity in Akoko- Gbangiri Area 

 
The Akoko-Gbangiri area comprises Ogori and Magongo in Ogori/Magongo Local Government in Kogi State, Bekuma, Lampese, Semolika, Ibillo, Enisan, Odagbala, Ojilami, Ikpesi, Ojah, Ogugu, 
Makeke, Umoga and Ososo in Akoko-Edo Local Government in Edo State. 
Between 1820 and 1860, Akoko-Gbangiri was administered as part of the Northern Nigeria by Massawa, the Emir of Nupe in Niger State of Nigeria, and Ikare-Akoko was made the headquarters of the Nupe Emirate. Before the coming of Christianity to the area, African traditional religion and Islam were the religions of the people.
Islam was introduced to the people by the Nupe Muslim traders around 1860. However, in 1865, the Royal Niger Company helped the people of Akoko-Gbangiri to chase away the Nupe warriors who were then terrorising them under the Emir Massawa of Nupe land. The Royal Niger Company took over Akoko- Gbangiri Area from the Nupe warriors. But in 1900, the British Government took over the area. Sir Fredrick Lord Luggard was made the Governor-general by the British government. He controlled Akoko-Gbangiri people and the Lokoja Areas. The presence of Sir Lord Luggard in the Lokoja Area brought freedom to the people of Akoko- Gbangiri. From 1890, some of Akoko�Gbangiri people who had run to other lands started returning to their 
various homes. Some of such returnees who had the opportunity to engage in trading with other people outside Akoko-Gbangiri, they came in contact with Christianity. According to Akande,(1999), many traders who were indigenes of Akoko-Gbangiri who hailed from Ogori were introduced to the Church Missionary Society by other traders in Ejirin near Ijebu-Ode area. Among the traders who were adherents of the Church Missionary Society in Ogori were Messrs Moses Anuwesi Egbadi, Daniel Akerele, Samuel Aiyebusi and Josiah Daramola. These people brought the people of Ogori together and they formed Bible reading groups in Ogori. In 1911, the Bible reading group of Ogori was turned into the Church Missionary Society. The Ogori people invited the late Joseph Okorogbo from Okpe in Edo State to Ogori in order to teach them how to read the Holy Bible. Okorogbo was a Roman Catholic faithful. He was probably educated by the Roman Catholic Missionaries who arrived at Benin in early 19b Century. This probably gave him the opportunity to educate the Ogori people. Adults who received formal education under Joseph Okoropo at Ogori joined the indigenous traders that brought Christianity to Ogori in Christian worship services in 1911. 
In 1913, these Christians at Ogori constituted Saint Peter’s Church, Ogori. In the same year, the Church trained many of her members as Evangelists. They became Roving Evangelists in Akoko-Gbangiri Area.
Samuel Aiyebusi was sent to Ososo to spread the Gospel in the area. As a result of the presence of Aiyebusi in the area, adherents of the Anglican faith in Ogori established a Mission Station in Ososo in 1920. 
They named the Mission Station Saint Peter’s Church, Ososo. In the same year, Mr. Isaac Tenabe was posted from Owo Mission station to Ogori by the Anglican Church in the area to formalize the presence of the Anglican Communion in the area. He was also made a teacher/catechist of both the Church and the Saint Peter’s school that was established by the Anglicans in Ogori. The school was founded by them in order to train their children on how to read and write in the Yoruba and English languages in order to boost their trades with other 
Christians especially in Yoruba land. However, many pupils that were trained in the school were engaged by the Anglican Mission to preach and train pupils in the Mission schools that were established by the Anglican faith members in Akoko- Kukuruku areas.
The catechist/ teachers used many strategies to convert the Kukuruku people. Among these were house to house evangelism, the use of open places for evangelism, class meetings, visitations and Sunday services to mention but a few methods.[Owolabi 2005 PP.90-101,112, 170, 179.] 
On 25th March, 1920, the Yoruba Mission Stations and Northern Nigeria th
Mission Stations were constituted into the Lagos Diocese. The Reverend Frank Melville Jones was its first Bishop. On the 29b of September, 1920, the Bishop posted Reverend Lackland Augustus Lennon to Ikare�Akoko. He took over Akoko-Ka a Mission Stations. In 1924, a Church Council was held at Ogori, the Council approved the elevation of 
Akoko, Ogori Churches together with Ka a Churches and Ebira Churches to the status of District Church Council under the 
superintendence of Reverend Lennon. Olagboye[2002] states that for easy administrative purpose, Lennon divided the area into five groups, as follows: Ikare Mission Station, 16 stations, 13 Schools; Ogori 33 Mission Stations, 17 Schools; Arigidi 32 Mission Stations, 18 Schools; 
Oka- Akoko 20 Mission Stations,14 Schools and Kaba, 28 Mission Stations, 16 Schools. The above named Mission Stations continued to spread the Good News in their areas. As a result, many people became Christians and also became educated Many of the adherents of the Anglican faith in the areas were engaged in trading, and other professions to earn their living and also spread the Good News wherever they went. 

SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 
Account for the role of Okorogbo in the spread of Christianity in Akoko- Gbangiri area of Nigeria.

4.0 CONCLUSION

In this unit, you have learnt about the traders who invited the Anglican Mission to take over the planting of Christianity which they brought with them from the Yoruba land as a result of their engagement in trading with some adherents of the Anglican faith. The adherents of the Anglican faith in Ogori planted Christianity in many towns and villages in the Akoko- Gbangiri area. Many Mission Stations and schools were 
established by the adherents of the Anglican faith in the area in question. The adherents benefited from Christianity that was introduced to them by some of the Ogori Mission evangelists that were sent out by members of Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, Ogori, between 1911 to 1960s to spread the Good News to other areas in Nigeria. Many people who received Jesus Christ as their Saviour were engaged in various trades, such as trading, teaching, preaching and ministering in Churches.

5.0 SUMMARY

In this unit, you have studied the strategies that were used by the indigenes of Akoko-Gbangiri to plan Christianity in the area. Among such strategies, mentioned could be made of the following; schools, trades, evangelism, and Church services to mention but a few.

6.0 TUTOR-MARKED ASSIGNMENT
1. The planting of Christianity in Akoko- Gbangiri was through the efforts of the indigenes of the area. Discuss.
2. State the role of Western education in the planting of Christianity in Akoko- Gbangiri Area.

7.0 REFERENCES/FURTHER READINGS

Akande, P.A. (1999). The Coming of Christianity to Ogori(1911-1999): 
A David Muga publication(place of publication not indicated).
The National Archives C. M. S. (Y) 2/2/20 Ibadan.
Owolabi, A.J. (2005). The Growth of the Anglican Church in “Akoko�Ka a District” of Nigeria. Thesis submitted in Fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Studies, Department of Religions, University of Ilori: Unpublished.
Ezekiel Komolafe [aged 90 years] Private Interview at Ogori on 7/8/2002.
Dr. Samuel Jemitola, [aged 70 years] Private Interview at Ogori on7/8/2002.

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