By Eric Teniola
ON Monday July 30, I witnessed the enthronement of the Right Reverend Dr. Humphrey Bamisebi Olumokaye as the 8th Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). It was a colourful ceremony held at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos and attended by sixty-two Bishops from all parts of the country and many clergy men from different denominations.
Bishop Olumokaye (49) is from Idanre, a hilly town in Ondo state. Like cocoa farming, Christianity is a way of life in Idanre. According to Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi in his book titled The First Century of Christianity in Akure Diocese, Christianity came to Idanre on May 4, 1895 when the late Reverend Charles Phillips (later Bishop) paid his first missionary visit to Idanre. The enthronement of the new Bishop of Lagos Diocese is the best thing that has happed to Christianity in Idanre notwithstanding that Idanre has produced Bishop Clement Agboola Akinbola who served in Ekiti diocese and Bishop Olasoji Makindipe of the Methodist Church.
The following have served as Bishops of Lagos: Rt. Rev. Melvile Jones (1919-1940), Rt. Rev. Leslie Gordon Vining (1940-1951), Rt. Rev. Adelakun Wihiamson Howells (1955-1963), Rt. Rev. Seth Runsewe Kale (1963-1974), Rt. Rev. Festus Oluwole Segun (1975-1985), Rt. Rev. Joseph Abiodun Adetiloye (1985-1999) and Most Rev. Dr. Ephraim Adebola Ademowo (2003-2018).
Lagos Diocese is one of three dioceses in Lagos state and it has one hundred and twenty-two churches. Lagos mainland diocese has its headquarters at St. Jude’s Cathedral Ebute Metta, Lagos and it is headed by Right Reverend Babatunde Colenso Akinpelu Johnson (52). Lagos mainland has eleven archdeaconries with fifty-three churches. It was inaugurated on the 23rd August, 2006 as the 95th diocese of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).
St. Jude Cathedral celebrated 150th anniversary in September 2017. The Cathedral has the most modern bell sound system and three 25m clock faces opal acrylic dials with raised metal numbers encased within an aluminum frame. The dials illuminate at night to signify the importance of the clock to the Ebute Metta community.
St. Jude’s Ebute Metta Cathedral was built in 1867 and the dean of the cathedral is Venerable Feyi Ojelabi from Oyo city in Oyo state.
Lagos West Diocese has its headquarters at Archbishop Vining Memorial Church at Ikeja, and is headed by the Right Reverend James Olusola Odedeji (49) from Eko Ajala in Ikirun, Irepodun local government area of Osun state. The dean of the Cathedral is Venerable Adegoke Oludare Agara (50) from Amusigbo Quarters, Ido-Ani in Ondo State. The diocese is motivated by brilliant entrepreneurs and with the blessing of Ikeja business district. Three rich churches of the diocese include Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral, Oba Akinjobi, Ikeja, the Church of Ascension, Opebi and the Church of Pentecost, Festac.
The oldest church of the Lagos diocese is St. Peter’s Church Faji, Lagos, established in 1853 by Catechist James White, Rev, Charles A. Gollmer and Rev. Ajayi Crowther (later Bishop). Reverend Gollmer spent few weeks with Catechist James White at Ebute Ero mission station before moving to establish the Breadfruit mission station at the former slave market in August 1852. The Breadfruit station served as a temporal abode for him, while he was building a new mission house at the Marina, locally referred to as Ehin-Igbeti. St. Peters Faji is the second oldest church in Nigeria of which St. Peters, Ake, Abeokuta established in 1842 by Reverend Henry Townsend is the first.
The following have served as Vicars in St. Peters, Faji: T.B. Wright (1887), R. Coker (1906), J.Ologundudu (1906-1910), E.J. Sowande (1910-October 1918), J.A. Cole (November 1918- 1924), S.V. Latunde (1924-1933), S.J. Gansallo (1933-1936), R. A. Ashley-Dejo (1939-1942), L.G.A. Jadesimi, W.R.B. 1945-1954), S.A.Oduneye ( 1955-1957), D.A. Olugbile (1957-October-Septempber 1961, S.B. Talabi (December 1963), S.A.F. Odunuga (January 1964- December 1964, A. O. Ayodele (Jan 1965-September 1965), S.B. Talabi October 1965- September 1970, S.A. Adewale (September 1970- August 1972), A.O. Adewale (October 1972- August 1973), S.A. Adewale (September 1973-June 1976), E. O. Folorunsho (July 1976-August 1982), S.S.O. Sodipe (September 1982- January 1987), A. O. Kuforiji (January 1987- December 1988), A.O. Adeniyi (January 1989-July 1990), B.O. Okunuga (August 1990- June 1992), B.I. Adewunmi (July 1992- November 10, 1992), S.B. Akinola (November 11, 1996- July 28, 2002), A. O. Soleye (August 4, 2002- 15 October 2005), S.O. Olaleetan (15th October 2005- , Venerable Tayo Adeloju and Venerable Caston Akingbesote (till date).
The headquarters of Lagos diocese is at Marina, Lagos. The church was dedicated on June 10, 1869 by Bishop S. Ajayi Crowther.
The present clergy at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos are Revd. Dr. Oluwaseun Adeyemi, Revd. Timothy Olusanya, Revd. Sunday Ogundipe, Revd. Canon Adekunle Ajado, Revd. Canon Dr. Ogheneruemu Eruenah, Ven. Niyi Agesin, Ven Gabriel Ezeanya (Canon Residentiary) and Very Revd. Adebola Ojofeitimi, the Provost.
Past and present provosts of the Cathedral are Adelakun Williamson Howells (1951-1960), Festus Oluwole Segun (1960-1970), Samuel Hugh Akinsope Johnson( 1970-1995), Adebola Olusegun Okubadejo (1995-1998), Thomas Akinola Jaiyeola Oluwole(1991-2002), Oluyinka Ibikule Omololu (2002-2009), Babatunde Colenso Akinpelu Johnson (2009-2016) and Adebola Ayodeji Ojofeitimi 2016 till date.
On January 19, 2003, ten ecclesiastical provinces of the Anglican Communion were created and ordained by the then Primate, the Most Reverend Peter Jasper Akinola. Most Reverend Adebola Ademowo from Odogogo village very near Ijebu-Ode in Ijebu North East local government of Ogun state was made the Archbishop of Lagos Province. Lagos diocese, Lagos mainland and Lagos West are part of Lagos Province. Presently,Lagos province is headed by the Bishop of Remo diocese, Archbishop Michael Olusina Fape from Ibogun, near Akure in Ondo state. He was consecrated Bishop on November 16 2003.
Other Archbishops installed on January 19, 2003 were the Most Reverend E. Maxwell, the province of Niger and Bishop of Awka, the Most Reverend Emmanuel Nglass, province of Niger-Delta and Bishop of Uyo, the Most Reverend Joseph Akinfenwa, province of Ibadan and Bishop of Ibadan, the Most Reverend Samuel A. Abe, province of Ondo and Bishop of Ekiti, the Most Reverend Josiah Idowu-Fearon(Kaduna), the Most Reverend Bennet Okoro (Owerri), the Most Reverend Albert Agbaje(Bendel), the Most Reverend Emmanuel Mani( of Jos province and the Bishop of Maiduguri) and the Most Revered Peter Jasper Akinola of the Abuja province and the Bishop of Abuja.
Before the enthronement, Bishop Olumokaye had served as Bishop in Osun North East Diocese with headquarters at Otan-Aiyegbaju. A member of the diocese Chief Kunle Adedayo from Ila-Orangun said the diocese will miss Bishop Olumokaye. In appreciation of his contributions, a street in Otan-Ayegbaju was named Bishop Olumokaye Street. His late father, Venerable Olumokaye served in the Anglican Communion for forty-three years before his death. Bishop Olumokaye was elected Bishop of Lagos diocese in Ilorin in February this year in succession to Bishop Ephraim Adebola Ademowo (70).