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HE People’s Prelate The year 2012, a leap year, ended with the sad death of many Nigerian public figures from all walks of life. Of these, I should mention two; the death of the Hon. Justice Kayode Esho, a brilliant and distinguished former Judge of the Nigerian Supreme Court, and that of the Most Revd. Joseph Abiodun Adetiloye, a former Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos, and Primate and Metropolitan, of the Anglican Church in Nigeria. He died on December 14, barely 11 days from what would have been his 83rd birthday. Justice Esho, at 87, was four years older. His death was the occasion for the outpouring of grief and sadness in the country. On account of his judicial integrity and erudition, many regard him as the best Chief Justice Nigeria should have had but chose not to have. For me, both deaths were very sad and painful as I knew both of them very well. Archbishop Abiodun Adetiloye, the subject of this tribute, succeeded the Rt. Revd. Festus Segun as the Bishop of Lagos in 1985. In 1988, three years later, he succeeded the Most Revd. Timothy Olufosoye, the Bishop of Ibadan, as the Primate Metropolitan of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria. Altogether, he had quite a remarkable career in the Church where his rise in the Church was both unconventional and meteoric. He was born to a humble family in Odo-Owa, in Ekiti, on Christmas day, December 25, 1929, in the most inauspicious of circumstances. He was only three years old when his father, a peasant farmer, died leaving him in the care of his poor mother at Ijero-Ekiti. After his primary school education at Ijero, he could not proceed to a secondary grammar school due to lack of financial means. But he was lucky and clever enough to enter Melville Hall, a theological college of the Anglican Communion in Ibadan, where he did not have to pay any fees. It was at Melville Hall that he received his preliminary training for entry into the priesthood, and showed the academic brilliance and mettle that was to open the doors for him to his subsequent glittering career as an Anglican clergy. He was made a deacon and ordained a priest in 1954, the year he left Melville Hall. In 1958, four years later, he entered the King’s College, University of London, on the sponsorship of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria to study Theology. In 1961, after three years, he graduated with an honours bachelor’s degree in Divinity (B.D.). At King’s College, he was the contemporary of Bishop Olajide and the classmate and close friend of the Very Revd. Sope Johnson, the former Provost of the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos, another brilliant cleric. In 1962, the year after he graduated from London, he arrived as a lecturer at the Immanuel College of Theology, Ibadan, famous for the training of Anglican priests. There he made his mark as a diligent, brilliant, and highly respected theologian. In 1966, after four years at Immanuel College, Adetiloye was inducted as the Vicar and Provost of the Cathedral Church of St. James, Ogunpa, Ibadan. The appointment was a rare feat as, before then, he had not been a Vicar in any parish church. It was there that he began to make his mark as an affable cleric. In 1970, after only four years at St. James’s Cathedral, he was consecrated as the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Ekiti. He had declined an offer of appointment as the Provost of the Cathedral Church of Lagos in succession to Bishop Festus Segun, preferring a bishopric in Ekiti. It


‘The opposition must also take note of the current culture of overpaid opposition legislators’ disingenuous deployment of parts of their disproportionate earnings that run into millions, to build schools, recreation centres, buy cars and motorcycles ostensibly to alleviate poverty of members of their constituencies’ JIDE OL UW AJUYIT AN OLUW UWAJUYIT AJUYITAN



Rev Joseph Abiodun Adetiloye (1929-2012)

•The late Rev Adetiloye

was from the Ekiti bishopric that, in 1985, he was consecrated a bishop at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos, in succession to Bishop Festus Segun. Initially, there was some objection from a few parishioners of the Cathedral to his appointment as Bishop of Lagos. Virtually, all his predecessors as Bishop of Lagos had been appointed from the diocese, or had worked there before. These critics wanted somebody from the Diocese of Lagos to be appointed Bishop. Bishop Festus Segun had been the Provost at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos, before his translation as the Bishop of Kaduna, from where he was transferred to Lagos as bishop. In fact, the matter was taken to court but later settled amicably. Adetiloye had not worked in Lagos before and was virtually unknown in the diocese. His appointment as Bishop of Lagos from the Ekiti diocese was controversial and marked a water shed, as it ended the domination of the Anglican diocese in Lagos by such ‘princes’ of


T should qualify as one of the most asinine fulminations any Nigerian politician has ever made. Though this column has not kept track of the public statements of Chief Olisa Metuh, National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), however, in rallying to the defence of President Goodluck Jonathan, whom he complained was unfairly and destructively criticised, the PDP chieftain took leave of logic, and perhaps a little more. In his fulminations, Metuh provided the closest insight we would ever get into the president’s regional aversions. The Southwest, two days ago, and in fact many months before, had deplored the Jonathan presidency’s marginalisation of the region. Now they probably know why. According to Metuh, Jonathan is heavily criticised by, in particular, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) because he comes from a minority tribe. “That President Jonathan is from a minority geo-political zone,” moaned Metuh, “should not be the reason the ACN and other opposition parties should be heaping insults and abuses on him in the name of criticisms. There must be a limit and we implore that we use the spirit of the New Year to say that enough is enough. The Presidency is the highest institution in the country and it deserves our collective respect. There should be a limit between criticisms and abuse…Let our criticisms be constructive on issues that will move the nation

the Church, as the two Bishops Howells, father and son, and the Phillips, all from distinguished ecclesiastical families in Lagos. Since the appointment of Irunsewe Kale as Bishop of Lagos, it was the first time a Bishop had been appointed for Lagos from outside the diocese. Before his arrival in Lagos, there had been a dispute over liturgy in the Cathedral. Bishop Adetiloye was able to restore amity and peace in the Cathedral. He remained the Bishop of Lagos until 1988 when he was translated as the Archbishop of Province 1 (Lagos) and Primate, Metropolitan of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria. He retired from this position in 1999 on attaining the age of 70, but remained in Lagos for a while until his health began to fail. As Bishop and Archbishop he made his mark in Lagos and in the Anglican Communion in several ways. First, he made the training of Anglican priests his top priority. In 1987, he established the Lagos Anglican Diocesan Seminary for the training of the clergy, opening its doors to other non-Anglican Churches. Second, he continued with the Kale policy of admitting professionals, such as engineers, medical doctors, architects etc, into the priesthood after training at the Seminary. Third, as Archbishop and Primate, he initiated an unprecedented programme of evangelism in the Anglican Communion in Nigeria. Between 1987 and 1997, he created 15 new dioceses in Northern Nigeria, another 15 in Eastern Nigeria and 13 in Western Nigeria. It was during his incumbency that the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) was divided into three ecclesiastical provinces. When he arrived in Lagos as Bishop in 1985, there were only 66 priests. When he retired in 1999, there were a total of 281 priests. In 1985, there were only 26 dioceses in Nigeria. Under his episcopacy, this

figure rose to 76. The four archdeaconries increased from only 4 to 15. Fourth, he initiated the system of directorates in the diocese as a means of promoting evangelism more vigorously in the diocese. These directorates, which included the Prison Chaplaincy, Evangelism, the Elderly Helpline, and Health and Welfare, brought the Church closer to the congregation as never before. He also started at the Seminary site, a secondary grammar school, the Thomas Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary, named after the Revd. Thomas Babington Macaulay, the founder and first Principal of the famous CMS Grammar School, Lagos, the first secondary grammar school in Nigeria. The Revd. Macaulay was the father of Herbert Macaulay, the great leader of the Nigerian nationalist movement in the 1940s. Archbishop Abiodun Adetiloye was a charismatic and vastly learned man, steeped in Theology. As bishop, he was humble and not given to any form of ostentation. He was a man of great spiritual strength, moral courage, and evangelical fervour. He was admired as a most inspiring preacher, often delivering his sermons without any notes at all. His sermons in the Cathedral were quite memorable and immensely enjoyable. In political matters, towards which all successful prelates must cock a sensitive ear, he was alert, well informed and, when occasion demanded, very responsive. He was a fearless cleric and spoke out strongly against social injustice under military rule in Nigeria. So strong was his persistent criticism of the repressive Abacha military regime that many people feared for his personal safety. The security agencies kept him under their close watch together with Bishop Gbonigi of Ekiti, another courageous cleric, he was tagged a “NADECO Bishop”. In those days, I met him often and had conversations with him concerning the disturbing political situation in our country. I admired his great courage despite some well known health challenges in his own family. A totally unpretentious, easily accessible, and humble bishop, he attracted to himself the admiration and affection of the diocese, including a few parishioners who had initially objected to his appointment as the Lord Bishop of Lagos Diocese. He was, indeed, a steadfast bishop in the mould of Bishop Leslie Gordon Vining, the last expatriate Bishop and Archbishop of Lagos (Anglican Communion). I join all his admirers in offering his family my condolences. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace. •Some of the material in this tribute was taken from my book, “A Venture of Faith”, an official history of the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos, first published in 2008. • For comments, send SMS to 08082036515


•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Such dreadful, partisan logic!

the difference. His mendacious statements remind us of Jonathan’s hyperbole before the 52nd Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in August last year, when the president said he was the world’s most criticised leader. Did Jonathan expect us to gently remonstrate with him on that offending exaggeration, when in fact he is probably the most powerful president in any democracy in the world and one of the least criticised? And what nonsense is Metuh saying about destructive criticism? Jonathan, in our opinion, has been lambasted fair and square because his ideas, actions and policies have been, to put it gently, largely inconsistent and misplaced. It is childish and silly to suggest the president is criticised harshly because of majorities’ contempt for minorities. Where Jonathan comes from is completely irrelevant. After all, former head of state, Gen Yakubu Gowon, is from a minority tribe, and minorities are thought to be even more detribalised than majority tribes. If Jonathan likes to read a little, we would like to constructively suggest to him Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2, where the conspirator, Cassius, was trying to persuade Brutus to join the rebellion against Caesar. Said Cassius: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” Let Metuh and Jonathan look inwards for their woes. It is not the fault of Nigeria that Metuh’s general is filled with awe.

forward.” In other words, neither the PDP nor, apparently, Jonathan himself views the criticisms against the president as fair comment. Worse, neither also sees the president’s statements, actions and policies as deserving of harsh criticisms. In the many years Hardball has been unhorsing political and business charlatans he has encountered bad logic, bad ideas and bad attitudes, and suffered many of them gladly. But to suggest that opposition parties are hard on the president simply because of his origins is like damning the president’s origins for his poor performance. It strains credulity to breaking point, and Hardball can no longer forbear. When the president recently confessed to slowness, could any commentator have praised him for the lack of speed and purpose? When the president denounced firm leaders as pharaohs and dictators, could anyone have flattered him for his vacillations? And when he sequestered himself within the precincts of Aso Villa for Independence Anniversaries and other national celebrations for fear of terrorists, could we restrain ourselves from condemning his spirit of surrender? Metuh tries to draw a line between constructive and destructive criticisms, as if he knows

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