Sunday, March 17, 2013

History of Ife Anglican Diocese and The Establishment of the Church

Rt. Rev. OLURANTI OLUWOLE ODUBOGUN,
Bishop of the diocese of Ife
FIRST ADVENT AND EARLY GROWTH OF CHRISTIANITY IN IFE

It was recorded in history that about the middle of the 16th century the Oba of Benin, who had embraced Christianity brought by the Capuchin Monks (of the Roman Catholic Church) who had accompanied the Portuguese traders to Benin, ordered some of the Priests to be sent to Ile-Ife, his ancestral home, to introduce the new religion to the Ooni of Ife.


The Ooni accepted the religion and was baptized as "Thomas John Ooni". The religion thrived so much that almost the whole town became Christians and a big Church was built at Oke-Ileri. The traditional priests who were enraged at finding their religious practices seriously threatened started to plot against the new religion. Soon after the Ooni's death, Ife people renounced Christianity because it did not help them in their divination. Many early Christians were slain and others fled the town.

The Church was pulled down and on the spot the people took a solemn vow never again to embrace Christianity. The place was named "Oke-Ileri" since then. The location in Ilode Quarters where the first meeting for the revolt was held has since then been called "Igbo Itapa" i.e the place where the resolution to kick was taken. Since then, no news of Christianity was heard anywhere in Yoruba land or elsewhere in Nigeria until Christianity was again brought through Badagry to Abeokuta by Thomas Birch Freeman of the Methodist Mission and Henry Townsend of the Anglican Mission (The Church Missionary Society) in December 1842.


SECOND ADVENT OF CHRISTIANITY

In 1859 Christianity was re-introduced to Ile-Ife for the second time by Revd. David Hinderer and a great Ife man from Oke Esho named Labosinde who was then resident at Ibadan. Having invited some evangelists from Sierra Leone, Rev. Hinderer transferred Henry Thomas to Ile-Ife, T. Williams to Modakeke and three others to Osogbo, Iwo and Ilesa. The man at Ife worked seriously and built a Church at Lagere, but they were later driven away by the heathens. The site of the Church is where John Holt and Sons Limited stands today.


THIRD ADVENT OF CHRISTIANITY

The third time that Christianity was again re-introduced to Ile-Ife was in 1898 and this time it took firm root. That year John Adelaja, a descendant of Ife (whose mother was an Ife woman and his father a native of Ijebu-Ode), who paid frequent visits from Ijebu-Ode to Ile-Ife in connection with his rubber trade, was in the habit of preaching Christianity at Oke-Esho in the house of one Adeetu with whom he always put up. Before the end of that year, an educated man and musician, Daniel Lawani Amodu Ologbenla, came from Okeigbo to join him in holding divine services every Sunday in the house of Chief Efunluyi Onile-Aran.

Early in 1899, the congregation made up of 20 Ifes and 120 Modakekes invited Bishop Charles Philips from Ondo to visit them and this he did. Soon after, they were visited by Rev. R.S. Oyebode from Ilesa, (4th March, 1899), Rev. E.M. Lijadu from Ondo, Rev. T. Harding from Ibadan and Mr. Atandaolu from Ilesa, who was ordained soon after. At the beginning of May 1899, and in response to the congregation’s request, Bishop Charles Philips transferred a Schoolmaster/ Catechist Mr. E.A. Kayode, to them .He arrived on 23rd May, 1899, and took up residence in Adelaja’s house at Ijugbe.

The Christian community now approached Oba Adelekan Olubuse I, the Ooni of Ife, for a piece of land at Itakogun to build a Church in the heart of Ife City. This was rejected on the grounds that Oranfe would not allow and that it was only in Modakeke and thereabouts that such strange practices could be tolerated. He then sent Chief Omisore, the Yegbata, to instruct Ogunsina the Baale of Modakeke to allocate a piece of land at Iyekere. The land was cleared immediately and Bishop Phillips dedicated it. Among participants in and witnesses to, the above were Jacob Opanusi (later Baba Egbe of the African Church), Daniel Adedeji (later of C.M.S. Ayetoro), Isaac Oguntola and James Awosope (later of C.M.S.), Ezekiel Adegbesan (later of C.M.S., Modakeke), John Adelaja, Samuel Oki, Daniel Amodu Lawani Ologbenla, Adeetu, Joseph Olopade (then the Asaaju), Aja, Eluitan, Aderoba, Oguntoke, Joseph Ogunsola, and the following from Modakeke: Abraham Olatunji, Daniel Ijadu, Ogundiran, Odewale, and Johnson Oyinade.

The first Church measuring 25 ft by 15 ft was built, followed by the building close to the Church of a small mission house for the Catechist. In this small Church, on 18th February 1900, Bishop Phillips first baptized 4 men and 3 women, namely: Samuel Adeyefa (father of late Rev. S.A. Adeyefa), Jacob Akinbo, David Fondeyi, Joseph Olopade, Comfort Ote, Jane Majekogbe and Maria Dada. On 21st April, 1900, Rev. R.S. Oyebode baptized two adults and two infants.

The Christian congregation grew by leaps and bounds and this necessitated the building of a more spacious Church. The foundation was laid on 22nd October, 1900, and it was dedicated on 11th October, 1901 by Revd. R.S. Oyebode, as Bishop Charles Phillips was away in Lagos. Revd. Oyebode chose his text from Exodus 20:24.
“Make an altar of earth for me, and on it sacrifice your sheep and your cattle as offerings to be completely burnt and as fellowship-offerings. In every place that I set aside for you to worship me, I will come to you and bless you."(Good news Bible).

The new Church could accommodate between 300 and 400 worshippers, and it was also used as a school. In this Church, Bishop Charles Phillips conducted the first confirmation service on 26th January, 1901, for 7 members who had earlier been baptized on 18th February, 1900. After the dedication of the second Church building, Bishop Phillips constituted the first Church Committee under the Chairmanship of Mr. E.A. Kayode. The members who were to meet every month were Joseph Olopade, David Fondeyi, John Afolabi, David Mamadelo, Jacob Akinbo and Josiah Eluyera. Mr. J. Lanihun, a schoolmaster was secretary.

Between 1900 and 1904, the political bitterness between the Ifes and the Modakekes rose to a climax. The five Chiefs under the Baale of Modakeke, who were richer than the Baale, had refused to be subservient to the Ooni Olubuse. Cases of Modakeke men taking Ife men as hostages were also frequent. This development adversely affected the Church at Iyekere. In September 1904, the Ooni Adelekan Olubuse summoned nine Ife elders of Iyekere Church to his place where, with kolanut touching their heads, he solemnly forbade them from entertaining Christianity thenceforth, since they were not born under the auspices of the worthless paper leaves bound together and called “Bible”. He urged them to return to the traditional gods of their fathers.

The men left the palace silently and straight-away proceeded to inform Mr. E.A. Kayode of the incident. The latter reacted in such a derisive manner that the elders angrily departed from him and returned to the palace where they told the Ooni that much as they loathed returning to idol worship, they were prepared to abandon worship at the Iyekere Church if only the Ooni would give them an alternative site for building another Church.

The Ooni was so pleased with their resentment towards the Iyekere Church that, not only did he gladly grant the site at Itakogun which had earlier been denied them, but he also promised to embrace Christianity.

This solution would have put an end to the matter but for the sermon preached on Sunday by Mr. E.A. Kayode based on the text John 6:67 “will ye also go away?” which further enraged the Church elders whose hearts were already wounded. As if this was not enough, Mr. Kayode, on the following Monday, wrote letters to the elders telling them to hold fast to their idol worship. The men there upon sent Mr. J.S. Adejumo, the school master, to bear their letter of grievances to the Bishop at Ondo. The Bishop counseled patience on the part of the elders, promising to come to Ife to make investigation. But before the Bishop came, the Church building at Itakogun had started.

When at last the Bishop came, he and the elders went to the palace to find out about what happened but the Ooni did not attend to them. The Bishop then led all concerned to Iyekere where after hearing the case, he reprimanded Mr. E.A. Kayode for his action, his impatience and his reprehensible sermon. The elders were happy at the Bishop’s judicious judgment, accepted his ruling that on Sundays, morning services be held at Iyekere and evening services at Itakogun.

However, when the Itakogun Church was completed Mr. E.A. Kayode refused bluntly to have anything to do with the Church built in revolt. This made the leaders at Itakogun resolve to keep their Church separate as African Church which it has remained till today. Soon after, however, John Oyayombo Fabunmi and David Ata (father of Rufus Awojodu) returned to C.M.S Church at Iyekere taking with them many people. Jacob Opausi then became Baba Egbe at Itakogun. Many people rejoiced when in 1905, Bishop Phillips ordained Mr. E.A. Kayode an Ife by birth as a Clergyman. He was placed in charge of Ile-Ife, Modakeke and the whole of Origbo.

In 1909, the smoldering embers of bitterness and antagonism between the Ifes and Modakekes burst to the open and Modakeke broke away on 27th March, 1909. From that year, the Modakeke could no longer congregate with the Ifes at the Iyekere Church. The crisis had led to the transfer of Revd Kayode to Ondo. The Modakekes having dispersed far away from Modakeke, the Church became a solitary building in a deserted area to such an extent that Mr. A.J. Williams, the Catechist who had just arrived, and the elders had to ask for an alternative site from the Ooni of Ife, Oba Ademiluyi. This led to the founding of a Church at Ayetoro. What now remains as a memorial of Iyekere Church is a monumental construction round which all Churches in Ife congregate annually on Good Friday to hold an open-air service.
DEVELOPMENT UP TO 1951

In Janaury 1903, Ondo / Ilesa / Ife District Church Council were inaugurated by the Rt. Revd. Charles Phillips, Assistant Bishop of Lagos stationed at Ondo. He presided over the first meeting held at Ilesa on 16th April 1903. Ife was represented by the following three members: Joseph Olopade, John Awofabi, and Daniel Memadelo.
In 1919 all the Anglican Churches in Ilesa and Ife Divisions were created into Ilesa / Ife District Church Council by Bishop Phillips under Revd. R.S. Oyebode as Superintendent.

During the period of Revd. J.S. Adejumo, progress was so rapid in Churches in Ife and Origbo that many Churches became Parishes. Thus the Diocesan Bishop approved of the separation from Ilesa D.C.C. of all Churches in Ife Division, that is Churches in Ile-Ife and District including Modakeke, and the whole of Origbo, which were now inaugurated into Ife District Church Council on 1st April, 1937, with St. Philip’s Church, Ayetoro, Ile-Ife as headquarters and Revd. J.S. Adejumo as the Superintendent.


GROWTH FROM 1952 TO 1974

In 1952, Archbishop L.G. Vining (Bishop of Lagos) split the old Lagos Diocese into four namely; Lagos, Ibadan, Ondo/Benin Dioceses and Missionary Diocese of Northern Nigeria. Rt. Revd. Alexander Babatunde Akinyele, an Assistant Bishop in Ondo became the first Bishop of Ibadan, and Venerable S.O. Odutola became Bishop of Ondo/Benin Diocese. The Diocese of Ibadan was inaugurated on January 25, 1952. The area of jurisdiction of the Diocese extended over the whole of Oyo and Ibadan Provinces consist of the former Western Region of Nigeria and Ilorin Province of the former Northern Nigeria, and thus it incorporated the following District Church Councils: Ibadan, Ilesa, Osogbo, Oyo, Ife, Offa/Ilorin and Oke Osun. The areas of the Diocese were created two Archdeaconries, Ibadan and Ilesa and placed under Archdeacons S.V. Latunde and S.D. Mafe respectively. Ilesa Archdeaconry covered Ilesa, Ife and Offa/ Ilorin District Church Councils.

Further reorganizations brought about the carving out of Offa/Ilorin Archdeaconry in 1960, and the joining of Osogbo D.C.C. with Ilesa Archdeaconry.

Because of the rapid expansion of Christianity in Ilesa Archdeaconry the number of District Church Councils had increased to six by the beginning of 1962, viz: Ilesa, Ife, Ipetu-Ijesa, Osogbo, Otan-Ayegbaju, and Okuku. The Chairman was Ven.(later Bishop) E.O. Idowu while the Secretary and the Treasurer were Chief S.O. Thompson and Revd. D. O. Olayinka respectively. However, on 8th April, 1962 Osogbo Archdeaconry was carved out of Ilesa Archdeaconry and it was made up of Osogbo, Otan-Ayegbaju, and Okuku Distirct Church Councils, with Ven. S.O. Olaitan as Archdeacon.


CHURCH UNION: ITS FAILURE AND AFTERMATH

As early as 1920, talks had begun in Eastern Nigeria on Church Union in Nigeria. In 1930 the Presbyterian, the Methodist and the Anglican Churches produced a scheme to fuse the three denominations into a Church of Nigeria. Western Nigeria was asked to join after 1948. Elaborate plans made for inaugurations in December 1965, however failed to materialize. The collapse of the scheme in 1966 coincided with the first military coup d’etats in Nigeria with their attendant disturbances.


ILESA/IFE PROPOSED DIOCESE

When Church Union collapsed in 1966, the idea of a Diocese based in Ilesa (as was proposed in Church Union Scheme) was mooted.

Meanwhile, on 29th June, 1966, Archdeacon I.G.A. Jadesinmi was appointed Assistant Bishop and had his seat in Ilesa until his retirement in 1971. A motion for the creation of a new Diocese was adopted by Ilesa D.C.C. and was submitted to Ilesa Archdeaconry Board and they accepted the motion by 18 votes to 5. This motion as adopted was submitted on February 4, 1967, to the Ibadan Diocesan Board which adopted it in principle. On 28th November 1969, the Ibadan Diocesan Board and Board of Finance at a joint meeting unanimously agreed that the request be forwarded to the Episcopal Synod due to meet in Ghana on December 10 to 12, 1969.

The Episcopal synod directed that the application be returned to Ibadan Diocesan Synod where it should be passed and from where it should be routed to the Episcopal synod. This was done and the application for Ilesa / Ife Diocese was adopted by the 2nd session of the sixth synod of Ibadan Diocese meeting in Ilesa in February 1970 (the first time Ibadan synod was held outside Ibadan), and was forwarded to the Standing Committee of the West African Provincial Synod. On 4th May 1970, it recorded that the Standing Committee had decided “That a new Diocese comprising Ilesa Archdeaconry be created provided that (a) an official residence be built for the Bishop and (b) a financial provision for running the Diocese is assured”

To fulfill these conditions, a Standing Committee of 19 members (made up of 10 from Ife and 9 from Ilesa) was set up, and arrangement was made for fund raising preparatory to reporting to the Provincial Synod in August 1970.
At this time there were two District Church Councils in Ife viz: Ife District Council inaugurated in 1937, and Origbo District Church Council created in 1965. Meanwhile, from 1968 Synod, relationship had become strained bewteen Modakeke Parish and Ife District Church Council over the issue of a District status for the former. Modakeke Parish had applied directly to the Bishop for a District Church Council and their representatives had withdrawn from Ife District Church Meetings. All efforts by the Assistant Bishop at Ilesa, the Archdeacon of Ilesa and Ilesa Archdeaconry to normalize the relationship produced no fruit until 1969, when the synod and the Diocesan Bishop directed Modakeke Parish to return to, and apply through, Ife District Church Council. This they did at the meeting of 25th June, 1969, where they submitted their application for a District. The application was adopted and was passed to Ilesa Archdeaconry Board which recommended it to the Bishop. Following the Bishop’s consent, the Diocesan Board approved of the creation of Modakeke Parish as a Provincial District Church Council with effect from 1st January 1970. The Provincial District Church Council was inaugurated on 25th January 1970, by the Rt. Revd. S. O. Odutola.

On preparations for Ilesa/Ife Diocese, plans were at an advanced stage for laying the foundation of Bishop’s court at Ilesa on 18th July, 1970, and invitation cards had been distributed. At the meeting of Ife District Church Council held at Saint Paul’s Church Ayegbaju, Ile-Ife on 8th July 1970, questions were raised on rushing of actions over the proposed Diocese and stampeding the people, and emphasis was laid on the need to brief the Parishes adequately. Resolution was there upon passed praying the Bishop to suspend action on approval and creation of the new proposed Ilesa/Ife Diocese. The motion was also passed, “That the proposed Bishop’s court and the Cathedral be equitably sited in Ilesa and Ile-Ife that is if the Cathedral is in Ilesa the Bishop’s court will be in Ile-Ife, otherwise the laying of foundation should be stopped”. Prince P.A. Ogunleye and Mr. J.A. Ogunfidodo were mandated to deliver the resolutions at Ilesa.

The following were appointed to meet and discuss with a likely delegation from Ilesa: Messrs C.A. Oragbade, S.M. Omotoye, Soji Oyebadejo, P.A. Ogunleye, J.A. Ogunfidodo, A.A. Adeyombo, Revd. D. O. Olayinka and Revd. S.A. Awosanmi. Ilesa in fact responded by sending a delegation which in August 1970, urged Ife to accept a joint Diocese on certain propositions, some of which were unrealistic.

Meanwhile the three Districts in Ife, Ife District Church Council, Origbo District Church Council, and Modakeke Provisional District Church Council applied for the creation of all the Churches in Ife Division into an Archdeaconry. At the same time, Ilesa asked for a separate Archdeaconry. Following an approval, Ife Archdeaconry was inaugurated by Rt. Revd. T.O.Olufosoye on 20th June, 1971. The first Archdeacon was Ven. S.A. Jinadu. At the first meeting held on 16th August 1971, the Diocesan Bishop addressed the Board during the Holy Communion Service preceding the formal inaugural meeting. He enjoined the Board to engage in vigorous mission work (evangelism), warning that the Archdeaconry must not be built on intrigue and party politics. The following were elected as officers: Mr. R.A. Tanimowo – Secretary, Revd. D.O. Olayinka – Treasurer.

On 31st August 1971, the first joint meeting of ten representatives each of Ilesa and Ife Archdeaconries met at Christ Church Ipetumodu, to reopen negotiation for Ilesa/Ife Diocese. The number of representatives was widened for the meeting of 14th March, 1972, to include all District Church Council Chairmen, Archdeaconry treasurers, Secretaries and seven others. Other meetings were held until 1973.

Similarly Rt. Revd. I.G.A. Jadesinmi and Rt. Revd. T.O. Olufosoye made efforts to resolve the issue but to no avail.
While these meetings were going on, meetings of all Parishes in Ife Archdeaconry were regularly held from 1972 to 1973 to brief the parishes and to collect their views on the proposed Diocese.

Finally, on July 5, 1973, at a meeting convened by the Bishop of Ibadan personally, it became abundantly clear that the Anglican leaders in Ife were no more interested in the proposed joint Diocese with Ilesa.

On July 12, 1973, Ilesa Archdeaconry Board met to review the issue and directed the four Districts within Ilesa Archdeaconry to meet, deliberate on the prospect of requesting for a separate Diocese for Ilesa Archdeaconry and to feed back the Archdeaconry on their views.

Receiving unanimous favourable responses from the Districts, the Board at its meeting of 2nd August, 1973, decided to forward an application to Ibadan Diocesan Board. This was done. By April 1974, the Bishop of Ibadan, Rt. Rev. T.O. Olufosoye announced the creation of Ilesa and Kwara Dioceses. Ilesa Diocese was inaugurated on 2nd November, 1974, and Rt. Revd. J.A.I. Falope, who had been consecrated on 27th October, 1974 was enthroned the first Bishop of Ilesa Diocese.


CHURCH OF THE PROVINCE OF NIGERIA

It will be out of place at this stage to make some reference to the inauguration of the Church of Nigeria considering the phenomenal growth of the Church of God since the inauguration of the Province.

The Synod of the Province of West Africa meeting at Lagos University on August 11 to 15, 1975, passed a motion on 14th August, 1975, approving of the creation of the Province of Nigeria.

The association of the Anglican Dioceses of Nigeria set up a Committee under Sir Louis Mbanefo to draft a constitution for the new Province. Following the conclusion of their assignment, the Standing Committee of the Province of West Africa resolved that:

(1)       the Church of Nigeria be inaugurated in February 1979;
(2)       the inauguration Committee (one Clerical and one Lay from each of the 15 Dioceses) be set up;
(3)       recommendations be submitted before 31st of March, 1978.

Sub-committees were also set up on Consultation, Finance, Programming and Hospitality.

On 23rd January 1979, Rt. Revd. T.O. Olufosoye was elected the first Archbishop of the Province of Nigeria. The Province was inaugurated on 24th February 1979, (Saint Matthias Day) and the Most Revd. T.O. Olufosoye preached the Thanksgiving sermon at Tafawa Belewa Square, Lagos on Sunday 25th February, 1979.

At inauguration, the new Province of Nigeria had 16 Dioceses. By April 1980, the number had risen to 19. However, by 1990 when Ife Anglican Diocese was inaugurated, the number of Dioceses had increased to 39.


PREPARATIONS FOR DIOCESE OF IFE

The years 1975 to 1978 did not witness significant preparations for a Diocese in Ife Archdeaconry. There was a concentration on the growth of Churches and the founding of a few others especially in towns. Ife Archdeaconry Board however, exercised foresight in its development plans for which it kept separate Fixed Bank Accounts which were augmented with annual deposits. By 1973, Parish status had been approved for Saint John’s Church, Ilare.
At the Archdeaconry Board Meeting of 9th March 1974 a suggestion had come up to increase the number of Districts in Ife Archdeaconry by the splitting of Ife District Church Council into two or three. This suggestion was repeated on 11th August 1974 and 8th March 1975.

Towards the end of 1977 Moro and Edunabon jointly applied for a District Status. This was granted and Edunabon/Moro Provisional District Church Council was inaugurated on 29th January 1978, on behalf of Bishop T.O. Olufosoye by the Rt. Revd. T.I. Akintayo, who had been consecrated on 6th August, 1977.

In 1978, Ife Archdeaconry applied to Oranmiyan Local Government Area Planning Authority for allocation of land in Parakin/Obalufe Layout. An area of 5 acres for religious organisation was allocated and N4,000 was paid as deposit out of N8,225.

On 30th July, 1979, Ife District Church Council agreed to split into three, that is, Ayetoro District Church Council, Iremo District Church Council, and Ayegbaju District Church Council.

At a meeting of Ife Archdeaconry Board held at Christ Church, Ipetumodu, on 30th July 1979, it was resolved that an application to be made for the creation of Ife Anglican Diocese. A suggestion that Oke-Osun Archdeaconry be invited into a joint Diocese was considered premature. A Planning Committee consisting of the following members drawn from all the Districts was set up under the Chairmanship of Chief T.O. Obiwumi.

(1)       Mr. J.A. Odelana                 -           Ipetumodu
(2)       Chief T.O. Oloyede             -           Modekeke
(3)       Mr. ‘Bisi Olatunji                -           Ayetoro
(4)       Chief P.A. Ogunleye           -           Ayegbaju
(5)       Mr. M.O. Adetunmbi          -           Iremo
(6)       Mr. S.M. Omotoye              -           Ifetedo
(7)       Mrs. M.O. Ojeleye              -           Ipetumodu
(8)       Mrs. A. Awosanya              -           Modekeke
(9)       Mr. T.A. Adeyera                -           Ilare
(10)     Chief D.O. Igbekoyi            -           Moro
(11)     Mr. R.O. Opayinka              -           Archdeaconry Secretary (Ex-Officio)
(12)     Revd. D.O. Olayinka           -           Clergy
(13)     Revd. Canon E.O. Ogundana-      Clergy.

The first meeting of Ife poposed Diocese Planning Committee was held at Saint Philip’s Church, Ayetoro, Ile-Ife on 27th October, 1979. They were addressed by the Archdeacon – Ven. M.A. Olupona. Among other things it discussed the pre-requisite conditions for creation of a Diocese and appointed a three-man sub-committee (Chief T.O. Oloyede, Revd D.O. Olayinka and Mr. R.O. Opayinka) to produce a budget and suggest plans for financing the project.

At the Ife Archdeaconry Board Meeting held at Saint Stephen’s Church, Modekeke, Ile-Ife on 24th March, 1980, the recommendations of the Planning Committee were accepted. The following motion tabled by Chief P.A. Ogunleye and seconded by Mr. T.A. Adeyera was also passed: “That the Ife Archdeaconry as presently constituted, viz Ife District Church Council ( now to be constituted into Ayetoro District Church Council, Iremo Provisional District Church Council and Ayegbaju Provisional District Church Council), Origbo District Church Council, Modakeke District Church Council, and Edunabon/Moro Provisional District Church Council, be created a Diocese of its own out of the present Ibadan Diocese and be named “IFE DIOCESE’ and that this request be put before the next session of the Synod of Ibadan coming up in 1980.” Mr. T.O. Obiwumi was mandated to make the motion at the April 1980 synod. The following people were selected to work closely with him on facts and figures he might need to buttress his motion: Chief T.O. Oloyede, Chief P.A. Ogunleye and Revd. D.O. Olayinka.

However, the motion had to be shelved at the instance of the Bishop who gave indication of his desire for a joint venture for a Diocese with Oke-Osun Archdeaconry. On 11th June, 1980, Ife Archdeaconry Board chose a Committee of six headed by Chief T.O. Oloyede to make preparations for meeting the Archdeacon of Oke-Osun with a letter seeking for dialogue with Oke-Osun Archdeaconry Board.


PROPOSAL FOR DIOCESE OF IFE/OKE-OSUN

On 13th June, 1980, at the meeting of Ibadan Diocesan Board, the Archbishop, the Most Revd. T.O. Olufosoye expressed his favour for Ife and Oke-Osun Archdeaconries jointly request for a Diocese. The following day, the Oloyede Committee met the Archdeacon of Oke-Osun at Gbongan and delivered a letter requesting for this joint venture. The Archdeacon expressed his delight and promised to act on the letter.
When six months passed and nothing was forthcoming from Oke-Osun, a letter of reminder was forwarded to the Archdeacon, but this received no better treatment. For four years thereafter, Oke-Osun Archdeaconry remained irresponsive to all approaches and all efforts made on Ife side to make dialogue were not possible. All efforts made by the successive Chairmen of the Planning Committee and of successive Archdeacons achieved no end. In the Bishop’s Presidential Address to Synod in April 1983, he affirmed his proposal to create two Dioceses out of existing Ibadan Diocese and to incorporate the following Archdeaconries:

(1)       Ife and Oke-Osun Archdeaconries, and
(2)       Osogbo and Otan Ayegbaju Archdeaconries.

In May 1983, an application for a Diocese for Osogbo, Otan-Ayegbaju, and Oke-Osun Archdeaconries was stopped by the Archbishop who took strong exception to Oke-Osun merging with Osogbo and Otan-Ayegbaju Archdeaconries.

When during April 1983 Synod Chief T.O. Obiwumi and other Ife delegates met Oke-Osun delegates on the issue, the latter remained non-committal and promised to report back home. Finally, when Ven. J.O. Ogunlade, Archdeacon of Ife and the Archdeacon of Oke-Osun met Oke-Osun delegates in April 1985, the latter firmly asked to bother no longer about them as they had made their feelings known to the Archbishop. By now it was quite clear that any further overtures to Oke-Osun Archdeaconry would be a fruitless exercise.


SEPARATE DIOCESE FOR IFE ARCHDEACONRY

By 1980, full payment had been made for the 2 acre plot, (Plot 1, block II) allocated to the Anglican Church on Parakin/Obalufe Layout by Ife Area Planning Authority.

The suspense which Oke-Osun issue had imposed had forced a lull on Ife Archdeaconry activities regarding the proposed Diocese. Other occurrences now combined with this to constitute clogs in the wheel of progress.


IFE/MODAKEKE COMMUNAL DISTURBANCES

After the demise of the Oba Sir Adesoji Aderemi on 3rd July, 1980, and the ascension of Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II, Ooni of Ife, who received the Staff of Ife Office on 6th December, 1980, Modakeke people started to organize themselves for confrontation with the Ife. Their pent-up indignation burst out into open violence on 14th April, 1981 (Tuesday before Easter) when attacks were made on the Ifes and buildings belonging to the Ifes in Modakeke and the immediate surroundings were burnt down. The Ifes retaliated and some lives were lost on both sides. The government of Governor Bola Ige set up Ibidapo Obe Judicial Commission of Enquiry, on the report of which the government issued a white paper. Pursuant to one of the recommendations of the Commission of Enquiry, Government set up a Consultative Committee comprising of a few members drawn from the two communities. The Consultative Committee met twice or thrice with Governor Bola Ige presiding but a little or nothing was achieved as tension which was still high between the two communities engendered animosity and mistrust among the members. In order to reduce tension and restore peace to the areas occupied by the two communities a committee of 5 was set up to work within the communities and was charged with the duty of bringing about peace.

This committee proved ineffective and a new committee of a 8 members was set up comprising the following:

(1)       Chief T.O. Oloyede
(2)       Pa G.A. Ola                           )
(3)       Hon. O. Olarewaju               )           Modakeke Community
(4)       Mr. E.A. Akinrin
(5)       Dr (Chief) O. Eluyemi
(6)       Hon. (Chief) J.A.O. Aworeni           Ife Community
(7)       Chief Oyekanmi Faola    
(8)       Mr. S.A. Mayowa (Ayilara)

It will be observed that all but two of the above named were members of the Anglican Church.
The Committee succeeded in identifying the grievances of each community which were precisely as follows:
Ife Grievances:

That Modekeke people call Modakeke a town rather than a ward in Ile-Ife, and have backed this up with their conduct in many respects. This they found provocative.

Modakeke Grievances:

(i)         That a former Ooni (Abewela) founded Modakeke; so Modakeke is a town (not a ward) inhabited by a distinctly homogenous people;
(ii)        They demanded for a Local Government of their own with their kith and kin in Oyere, Famia, Okuu Omoni and Akinlalu. An enlarged committee of 10 from each community agreed on a number of points such as peaceful co-existence and removal of tension, but no solution was feasible on the claim of Modakeke being a town.
As far as Modakeke is concerned, politics and religion are inseparable in their relationship with Ife. The strained relationship between the two communities which led to open strife somehow affected the tempo of the struggle for Ife Diocese.

Throughout 1981, and most of 1982, action was slowed down on the issue of the new Diocese. Modakeke District Church Council had since April 1981 withdrawn from meetings of the Archdeaconry and of the Planning Committee while no funds had been forthcoming from her Churches. Approaches made to them proved fruitless. On 12th June, 1982, Ife Archdeaconry received at its meeting a letter from Modakeke District Church Council indicating that their Churches could not go on with the proposed Ife Diocese because of what they described as lack of funds. Since then they continued to boycott meetings.


ACTIVITIES FROM 1982 AND ORIGBO PROBLEM

Following pressures from Ife Archdeaconry Board the proposed Diocese planning Committee resumed meeting on 8th October 1982, and straightaway assigned some aspects of the preparations for the formal Application Booklet as follows:

Historical Preamble – Revd. D.O. Olayinka;
Map of the area concerned – Prince A. Adeyombo;
Detailed Particulars (statistics) – The Archdeacon and others.
Draft Constitution – Chief Magistrate T.A. Oyeyemi;
Diocesan Crest – Contents to be cleared with the Archbishop.

On funding, it was decided that N1.00 per baptized member be collected and paid in before 1st November 1982 and that fund-raising be organized. Then by 26th March 1983, the Archdeaconry Board shared N50,000 among the five active Districts, leaving out Modakeke District Church Council.

From 1982, there arose a misunderstanding in Origbo over the sitting of Origbo Archdeaconry seat at Christ Church, Ipetumodu. Saint Peter’s Church, Edunabon, had claimed that she was the first Church founded in Origbo and laid claim to the seat of the proposed Origbo Archdeaconry. However, on 28th October 1983, Origbo Archdeaconry was inaugurated at Christ Church, Ipetmodu which had been the seat of Origbo District Church Council, and Ven. J.D. Ajumobi was collated as the first Archdeacon. The Archdeaconry was composed of Origbo and Edunabon / Moro District Church Councils.

Saint Peter’s Church, Edunabon, boycotted the meetings of Origbo Archdeaconry Board. At the Synod meeting held in April 1985, the Bishop made statement on the problem of Origbo Archdeaconry and Edunabon Parish. He explained how he had appealed to Edunabon members of Synod and others for cooperation and stated that the sitting of the Archdeaconry seat at Ipetumodu was dictated by the fact that Ipetumodu had been the seat of the Chairman of the District Church Council. He cited examples where the seniority of a Church had not automatically made it seat of either a Bishop or an Archdeacon. He explained that Edunabon now had to name the Archdeaconry of her choice – Osogbo or Ife.

From 1982 to 1984 work proceeded on compiling materials for the formal Application Booklet. The Planning Committee was expanded by the inclusion of District Chairmen and 3 additional Laymen from each District. Although the Planning Committee continued to meet, no representatives had yet attended from Origbo in 1984.

On 17th March 1984, Ife Archdeaconry Board decided that plans for the proposed Diocese should be actively pursued irrespective of the attitude of Oke-Osun Archdeaconry, more so since the Dioceses of Akoko, Akure and Owo had been inaugurated between February and March 1983, their small sizes notwithstanding. It was noted that a delegation composed of Chief S.O. Olagbaju, Prince ‘Bisi Adeyombo, Chief G. O. Fatokun and Chief T.A. Adeyera had visited Origbo to intervene on the crisis there. It was resolved that the new Origbo Archdeaconry be now invited to the proposed Diocese Planning Committee.

On 4th May, 1984, Ife proposed Diocese Planning Committee was reconstituted for Ife Archdeaconry and Chief S.O. Olagbaju became the Chairman. Attendance at the meeting was 28. A letter was received from Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Ooni of Ife, expressing his full support for the proposed Diocese.
The following four sub-committees subject to expansion, were appointed.

A.        FINANCE

1.         Chief T.A. Adeyera
2.         Chief Magistrate T.A. Oyeyemi
3.         Chief(Mrs) A. Olagbaju (Wabodu of Ife)
4.         Mr. S.M. Omotoye
5.         Chief M.A. Adeyefa
6.         Chief Agboola Odeyemi
7.         Chief Ayo Afolabi
8.         Mr. J. Adewuyi
9.         Prince Adebisi Adeyombo

B.        BUILDING

1.         Prince A. Adeyombo, Chairman
2.         Chief G.O. Fatokun
3.         Chief Dupe Omisore
4.         Chief Olu Awofisayo
5.         Mr. Alade Ajibola
6.         Mr. A.M. Akinremi
7.         Canon J.O. Omonije
8.         Mr. J.A. Owoyomi
9.         Chief Iyiola Omisore

C.        PUBLICITY

1.         Mr. B. O. Omirefa,    -           Chairman
2.         Mr. Supo Olagbaju
3.         Mr. I. O. Olagbaju
4.         Mrs. A.A. Adeyemi
5.         Revd. T.I.O. Adu
D.        APPLICATION
1.         Chief C.O. Olatunji -           Chairman
2.         Revd. D.O. Olayinka
3.         Mr. ‘Soji Oyebadejo
4.         Chief Ademola Adetutu
5.         Mrs. E.T. Ogunsakin
By July 1984, the publicity sub-committee had made successful visits to and held talks with many congregations. It was decided that the Bishop’s court Building Plan be commissioned to Chief Dupe Omisore. On 15th September 1984, the Planning Committee decided to invite delegates from Origbo Archdeaconry to its meetings.

It had been decided that funding should be in two forms: (1) Levy on Churches and (2) Fund raising to which sons and daughters of Ife land should be invited. On 13th October 1984, the finance Committee reported the following income: Saint Paul’s Church, Ayegbaju, Ile-Ife N26, 500 (in place of N25, 000 levied); Saint Philip’s Church Ayetoro, Ile – Ife – N25, 000; Saint Peter’s Church, Ifetedo – N500; Mr. I.O. Olagbaju and Mr. Layi Akinbowale were appointed financial secretary and Assistant respectively to help with the collection of funds to assist the Treasurer, Revd. Olayinka who was now full-time vicar in Ibadan. An inter-church welfare committee of ten members to be led by the Chairman, Chief S.O. Olagbaju, was appointed to meet Saint Peter’s Church, Edunabon on their dispute with Origbo Archdeaconry. The work of this committee became more urgent. On 17th November 1984, at a meeting of the Planning Committee attended by a few Edunabon delegates and Ven. J.D. Ajumobi alone from Ipetumodu the latter complained of being side tracked when circulars for the Planning Committee meeting were sent direct to Edunbaon/Moro District Church Council. Later the Publicity Committee took up the functions of the Inter-Church Welfare Committee from which the latter left off.

By now the meetings of the Planning Committee were regular and well attended, due, in a large measure, to the enthusiasm of the Chairman, Chief S.O. Olagbaju, and the diligence of the new secretary – Mr. J.A. Adewoyin. At every meeting each of the sub-committees - Finance, Building, Publicity and Application, were required to, and gave progress reports. From then on, Churches were assessed periodically for preparations for the proposed Diocese. On 9th March, 1985, Churches in Origbo as well as Saint Stephen’s Church, Modakeke, were assessed with the Churches in Ile-Ife and the Districts. Saint Peter’s Church Edunabon had in fact paid N10, 000 by then.

On 30th March 1985, the completed building plans and the structural drawings of the Bishop’s court produced by Chief Dupe Omisore and Engr. Alade Ajibola respectively were delivered to the Planning Committee as the free donations of both of them to the proposed Diocese. The committee only paid N392.00 for printing the drawings. Mr. A.O. Oyebadejo was immediately chosen as the Quantity Surveyor. The Archdeacon, Ven. J.O. Ogunlade, the Chairman Planning Committee, Chief S.O. Olagbaju and the Chairmen of the four sub-committees were requested to deliver the plans to the Archbishop for considerations, and later to show the plans to the Ooni of Ife. It was also resolved that the completed Draft Application, copies of which were distributed to members, should be conveyed by Chief C.O. Olatunji to the Archbishop for consultation, and advice.

As mentioned earlier, delegates from Christ Church, Ipetumodu, had been absent from the Planning Committee Meetings since 1984 and had paid nothing. When Archdeacon J.D. Ajumobi, who attended meeting on 20th April, 1985, was confronted on this he affirmed that he attended the meeting on his own volition and that a letter from Origbo Archdeaconry had been forwarded on the issue. Ven. J. O. Ogunlade now disclosed the information he collected from the Archbishop that Origbo had written to the Archbishop accusing Ife delegates on the Planning Committee of employing “divide and rule” tactics against Origbo Churches, and supporting Saint Peter’s Church, Edunabon against Christ Church, Ipetumodu. The Archbishop’s statement at the last Synod had also confirmed this embracing but false charge. However, the Planning Committee delegated Ven. J.O. Ogunlade, Chief S.O. Olagbaju, Chief B.O. Omirefa, Chief T.A. Adeyera, and Mrs. A.A. Adeyemi to meet Christ Church, Ipetumodu on the issue the following day, and thereafter meet the Archbishop. The meeting did not produce much fruit and by July 1985, the Planning Committee decided to suspend further action on Origbo affair to allow their feelings cool off.

By now the levies collected from Churches stood at N103, 805.35. At the meeting of the Planning Committee held on 19th April, 1986, which was attended by both Ipetumodu and Edunabon delegates Christ Church Ipetumodu, was found not to have made adequate efforts to break the impasse between them and Edunabon. Each section was required to delegate 5 people to meet the Chairman on the issue.

On 13th September, 1986, Chief I.O. Olagbaju was elected Treasurer to relieve of the post of Revd. Canon D.O. Olayinka who was now Chairman of Inalende District Church Council in Ibadan where he also had busy assignments. His resignation had earlier been rejected twice.

The building plans of the Bishop’s court were on 8th October recommended by Mr. G.F.K. Santos, the Diocesan Architect, to the Archbishop who promptly approved of them. The Archbishop however directed that the area of the proposed Diocese should include Origbo and Modakeke on the map.

During 1986, Moro Provincial District Church Council was constituted out of Edunabon/Moro District Church Council leaving out St. Peter’s Church, Edunabon as Parish Standing alone. Saint Peter’s Church, Edunabon, complained about this to the Archbishop in a letter written to him.


EVENTS FROM 1987

Considering the quick succession of occurrences from 1987, it will suffice to indicate chronologically the events which transpired thenceforth.

17th January, 1987:     It was resolved that Saint Philip’s Church, Ayetoro, Ile-Ife, be designed as the Cathedral of the Ife proposed Diocese.

14th March, 1987:       The Application for creation of Ife Diocese was unanimously accepted by the Diocesan Board sitting at Ibadan and passed on to Synod.

28th March, 1987:       A delegation made up of Chief S. O. Olagbaju, Chief C. A. Oragbade, Chief D. A. Omidiora, Chief T. A. Adeyera, Chief (Mrs) A. A. Adeyemi and Mr. S. M. Omotoye, visited Christ Church, Ipetumodu, after this date, held useful discussions with representatives of the Church and left with them an appeal to send delegates to the Planning Committee.

11th April, 1987:         The Tenders Board met and sent the Bills of Quantity to the Quantity Surveyor for advice.

Three firms had tendered as follows:

(1)       Ade Centre Nigeria Limited – N736, 542.00;
(2)       Allied International Construction – N1, 112,382.00; and
(3)       Goal Construction (Nigeria) Limited – N585, 060.84

Following the advice of the Quantity Surveyor upheld by the Tenders Board, the Planning Committee awarded the contract to Goal Construction (Nigeria) Limited.

20th June, 1987:          A letter was received from Origbo Archdeaconry saying that because of financial constraint they would join the Planning Committee at a later date. A three-man delegation composed of the Chairman (Chief S. O. Olagbaju) the Archdeacon (Ven. J. O. Ogunlade), and Chief C. A. Oragbade was dispatched to Origbo District Church Council and Moro District Church Council on the issue with mandate to obtain their signature on the Application Forms as proof of their readiness to join the proposed Diocese.


SUFFRAGAN BISHOP

12th September, 1987:            At this meeting, the Chairman reported a rumour of a plan to appoint a Suffragan Bishop for Ife. On 24th August, 1987, the laity had, at a meeting, reacted by sending a petition to the Archbishop of the Province rejecting such a proposal. This was followed up with a longer letter dated 7th September, 1987, drawing attention to the constitutional implication of appointing a Suffragan Bishop, which requires the occurrences of the synod. The letter quoted instances of other Diocese where the opting out of certain section of the area intended for a Diocese did not invalidate the application for creation of such Diocese. It was signed by the Pastor’s Wardens and the People’s Wardens of the Parish Churches in Ile-Ife, Ifetedo and Edunabon.
The rumour dampened the spirit of members and attendance at sub-committee meetings became poor.

26th September, 1987:       It was resolved that no Parish Churches should pay anything to Ibadan until the issue of a Suffragan Bishop was cleared
.

THE STRUGGLE CONTINUED

24th October 1987:     Fund raising was launched and N48 289.00 was realized.

The synod held in April 1987 had approved of the application for Ife Diocese for transmission to the Provincial Synod. But before it reached the Province Origbo Archdeaconry, excluding Saint Peter’s Church, Edunabon, opted out. Modakeke District Church Council also refused to join the Diocese, and so the proposal had to wait.
Meanwhile the Bishop’s court building had been roofed, the ceiling had been completed and electrification was in progress. Saint Peter’s Church, Ifetedo, and Churches in the environs were created into a Provisional District Church Council.

Following the retirement of Archbishop T.O. Olufosoye on 31st March, 1988, the Most Revd. Abiodun Adetiloye, Bishop of Lagos was elected Archbishop on 7th June, 1988. The Rt. Rev. G.I.O. Olajide, Bishop of Ilesa was translated to the Diocese of Ibadan in August 1988, and was enthroned on 18th October 1988.

18th June, 1988:      The Secretary had written to the Vicar of Saint Stephen’s Church Modakeke, requesting the members to allow discussion preparatory to their re-joining the Planning Committee. They responded through their Vicar who told Archdeacon Ogunlade that they were not yet ready for a dialogue. Another delegation sent to the Archdeaconry of Origbo returned with hopeful news of a change of heart on the part of Origbo Anglican Christians.

23rd July, 1988:        It was reported that Oba Okunade Sijuwade who visited the site of the Bishop’s court was pleased with the progress so far made.
During his Episcopal visit to Ife Archdeaconry in November 1988, the Rt. Rev. G. I. O. Olajide, Bishop of Ibadan, visited the site of the Bishop’s court. He expressed unhappiness that Modakeke and some Parishes in Origbo had made no contributions to the Planning Committees projects. He advised acquisition of more land and the founding of more Churches.

18th February, 1989:           A delegation of Chief S. O. Olagbaju, Mrs. A. A. Adeyemi and Prince A. Adeyombo went to Origbo but did not meet Ven. Ojo, but met Chief Akinyanran and Prof. Akinjogbin, both of whom assured the delegation that much had been achieved by way of pacifying the people of Origbo. In fact three members from Origbo attended the Planning Committee meeting of 22nd April, 1989. At this same meeting the fourth levy on Churches was approved and announced.


21st July 1989: INVOLVEMENT OF HIS ROYAL MAJESTY OBA OKUNADE SIJUWADE

The news was broken that His Royal Majesty Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Ooni of Ife, had promised:

(1)       that he would pay the Bishop’s salary for ten (10 years);
(2)       that he would puchase the Bishop’s Robes; and
(3)       a cheque for N25 ,000.00 from him was submitted.

Pa Chief J.A. Adegbite, a delegate from Saint Peter’s Church, Iremo, Ile-Ife, was so happy and impressed by the Ooni’s gesture that he too donated N500.00.


LEVIES FOR ORIGBO CHURCHES

Churches in Origbo Archdeaconry pleaded for exemption from the first three levies, so they would pay that of 1989. This was referred to the Finance Sub-Committee which recommended that they should pay the 1st and the 4th since they participated when the first levy was decided upon. However, this was reversed on 15th September, 1989, when Origbo Churches were given the concession to pay only 1989 and future levies, all in the interest of fellowship and the overall goal of the Planning Committee.

At this stage it was announced that Prince ‘Soji Oyebadejo had been appointed the Assistant Registrar for Ibadan Anglican Diocese.

Meanwhile Saint Peter’s Church, Edunabon, had been raised to the status of Chapelry.
The Planning Committee meeting of 20th October 1989 was attended by 50 members including delegates from all Origbo Churches.

3rd November 1989: This meeting recorded 63 attendants including three Clergy from Modakeke. The Ven. J.O. Ogunlade, Archdeacon of Ife, brought completed copies of the Application for preparation for signature.

A Tactical Committee of seven members was appointed to go into the Modakeke affair again. The members were Ven. J. O. Ojo (convener) Ven. J. O. Ogunlade, Prof. I. A. Akinjogbin, Chief J. A. Odelana, Chief S. I. Fayemi, Mrs. C. O. Ariyo and Mr. E. O. Amusan.


MEETING WITH THE BISHOP

At 11.00 am on this day, the Rt. Revd. G.I.O. Olajide, Bishop of Ibadan held a meeting at Saint Philip’s Church, Ayetoro, Ile-Ife, with members of Ife and Origbo Archdeaconry Boards, Edunabon Chapelry, Modakeke District Church Council, all synod delegates, all Church Wardens and all members of Ife proposed Diocese Planning Committee. He declared that the purpose of his visit was to ascertain the true situation of the proposed Diocese being asked for.

On the request of Modakeke for Archdeaconry status, the Bishop directed Modakeke District Church Council to pass their application through Ife Archdeaconry to make it valid.

Roll call showed the following:

1.         Modakeke District Church Council                                  -             9 members
2.         Ipetumodu District Church Council                                 -             12 members
3.         Moro District Church Council                                          -            11 members
4.         Edunabon Chapelry                                                            -             6 members
5.         Iremo District Church Council                                           -           14 members
6.         Ayegbaju District Church Council                                     -             8 members
7.         Ife District Church Council                                                -           14 members
8.         Ifetedo District Church Council                                         -           12 members

The Bishop directed that photocopies of Bank Account be forwarded to the Bishop’s court at Ibadan. He advised gradual flooring of the Bishop’s court, acquisition of more land and building of a guest house.

He supported the view that the new Diocese be divided as follows:

1.         Ayetoro - Cathedral
2.         Iremo Archdeaconry
3.         Ayegbaju Archdeaconry
4.         Modakeke Archdeaconry
5.         Ipetumodu Archdeaconry
6.         Ifetedo Archdeaconry
7.         Edunabon / Moro Archdeaconry

2nd December 1989:          The second Launching for fund raising took place and was successful. The proceeds amounted to N100, 774.50k. While expenditure came to N9, 521.15k. Pledges were N10, 350.00. But by February 1990 total donation had reached N133, 296.50k.

16th February, 1990:           The building sub-committee undertook to work on fencing and sinking of deep well to supplement pipe-borne water.

1990:               Levies on Churches were approved: it was the fifth.
The meeting of the seven man Tactical Committee appointed on 3rd of November 1989, and which met the members of Saint Stephen’s Church, Modakeke achieved nothing.

2nd March, 1990:              
APPROVAL OF APPLICATION FOR DIOCESE OF IFE

The joy knew no bounds when on 2 March, 1990, it was announced to the Planning Committee that the Application for the creation of Ife Anglican Diocese had been approved along with that of Egbado by the Provincial Standing Committee which met at Abeokuta in February 1990.

FENCING
The fencing of the Bishop's court was decided to be by direct labour. Mr. S. M. Omotoye, Chief J. K. Omidiora and Chief J. A. Adewuyi volunteered to help with supervision.

On 27th April, 1990, Logistics Sub-Committee earlier appointed, reported that its leader, Mr. D.A. Adeniji, had compiled items of furniture and furnishings for the new Bishop’s court and the staff complement.

25th May, 1990: FENCING:
It was remarked that the two site supervisors, Chief J. K. Omidiora and Mrs. M. Omotoye had done satisfactory work.
29th June, 1990: The building of Boys Quarters was directed to commence immediately by direct labour. Plumbing work (provision of water) was awarded to Adedapo Plumbing Services.

By 23rd October, 1990, work on the main building was completed. Furniture items were ordered from Ibadan and Telephone was already installed

VEHICLE:

It was agreed that a Peugeot 504 Station Wagon be procured because of touring purposes

CONSECRATION:
On 1st November, 1990 (All Saints’ Day) The Ven. Gabriel Babalola Oloniyo was consecrated Bishop at the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter, Ake, Abeokuta.

ENTHRONEMENT:
On 4th November, 1990, the Rt. Revd Gabriel Babalola Oloniyo was enthroned as the first Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Ife.

APPENDIX

LIST OF CHURCHES AT THE TIME OF CREATION OF DIOCESE OF IFE (1ST NOVEMBER, 1990)

A.        IFE DISTRICT CHURCH COUNCIL

1.         St. Philip’s Church, Ayetoro, Ile-Ife
2.         St. John’s Church Amukegun
3.         St. Peter’s Church Okoro-Isaiah
4.         St, Michael’s Church Aba-Iwo
5.         St. Stephen’s Church Owena-Lakoro
6.         St. John’s Church Salami
7.         All Saints’ Church Abiri
8.         St. James’s Church Apamu
9.         St, Matthew’s Church Okoro-Elusoji
10.       St. Mattthew’s Church Bode
11.       Anglican Church, Atobatele
12.       St. Thomas’s Church Dewibe
13.       St. Paul’s Church Iyanfoworogi
14.       Anglican Church Elekolo
15.       St. Peter’s Church Baba-Eko
16.       St. Matthias’s Church Ondo Road, Ife
17.       St. Philip’s Urhobo/Isoko Church, Ayetoro
18.       St. Michael’s Church Ikeketu
19.       St. Saviour’s Church Isoya

B.        IFETEDO DISTRICT CHURCH COUNCIL

1.         St. Peter’s Church Ifetedo
2.         St. Paul’s Church Olode
3.         St. Matthew’s Church Amodo
4.         St. Thomas’s Church Aye-Oba
5.         St. Matthew’s Church Idera / Obaloran
6.         St. Luke’s Church Atere
7.         St. Paul’s Church Egbejoda
8.         St. David’s Church Sekunde
9.         St. John’s Church Ere
10.       St. Peter’s Church Elegberun
11.       Christ Church Arode
12.       St. John’s Church Olorombo

C.        IREMO DISTRICT CHURCH COUNCIL

1.         St. Peter’s Church Iremo
2.         St. Andrew’s Church Atowo
3.         St. Matthew’s Church Eleyele, Ile-Ife
4.         St. Paul’s Church Obalufetedo
5.         St. John’s Church Ologede
6.         St. Paul’s Church Ogbagba
7.         St. Andrew’s Church Toro
8.         St. Matthias’s Church Kilibi
9.         St. Paul’s Church Apata Oloko
10.       St. David’s Church Labata
11.       St. Stephen’s Church Obalara
12.       Ebenezer Church Bolorunduro
13.       St. John’s Church Abata-Egba
14.       St. John’s Church, Ikire
15.       Anglican Church Walode
16.       St. Peter’s Church Ibo Section Iremo.

D.        AYEGBAJU DISTRICT CHURCH COUNCIL

1.         St. Paul’s Church Ayegbaju
2.         St. John’s Church Ilare
3.         St. John’s Church Wanikin
4.         All Saints’ Church Apatalami
5.         All Saints’ Church Mefoworade
6.         St. Andrew’s Church Olomu-Aba
7.         St. Thomas’s Church Ajebamidele Lukosi
8.         St. Mary’s Church Eruku
9.         St. Michael’s Church Mokuro, Ile-Ife
10.       Holy Trinity Church Adeyera Layout Ife
11.       St. Mary’s Church Oluorogbo, Ife
12.       St. David’s Church Olomu-Oja
13.       St. Mary’s Church Obaloran
14.       St. Mary’s Church Ladugbo Ogunleye
15.       Anglican Church Area 4
16.       Anglican Church Idi Ogun Adedire

E.        ORIGBO DISTRICT CHURCH COUNCIL

1.         Christ Church, Ipetumodu
2.         St. John’s Church Ashipa
3.         St. Paul’s Church, Baakun Ayetoro, Ipetumodu
4.         Christ Church, Osi-Sooko
5.         Christ Church, Oyere Aborisade
6.         St. Stephen’s Church, Akinlalu
7.         St. Thomas’s Church Oyere Kereja
8.         All Saints’ Church, Ara Akinloye
9.         St. Jude’s Church Ara Oosa
10.       All Saints’ Church Iponrin Farotade
11.       St. Philip’s Church Aye Obafemi
12.       Christ Church, Kere Obaloran
13.       Christ Church, Oyo Onigbinde
14.       St. Matthew’s Church Atobaba
15.       Anglican Church Orisumbare
16.       Anglican Church Agalola
17.       St. Matthew’s Church Eyentanle
18.       Christ Church, Obeyin
19.       St. Peter’s Church, Okero

F.         EDUNABON CHAPELRY

1.         St. Peter’s Church, Edunabon
2.         Emmanuel Church, Edunabon
3.         St. Peter’s Church, Osi Araromi
4.         St. Peter’s Church, Ilaka
5.         St. Peter’s Church Alutierin
6.         St. Peter’s Church, Ayesan
7.         St. Peter’s Church, Olowookere
8.         St. Peter’s Church, Okusu Isale
9.         St. Peter’s Church, Okusu Oke
10.       St. Peter’s Church, Tonkere
11.       Anglican Church Elerin.

G.        MORO DISTRICT CHURCH COUNCIL

1.         St. Jude’s Church, Moro
2.         St. Stephen’s Church, Ipetumodu
3.         St. John’s Church Yakooyo
4.         St. Jude’s Church, Oyo Alape Moro
5.         St. Jude’s Church, Alapata, Moro
6.         St. Jude’s Church, Agbonkuta
7.        St. John’s Church, Obutu Yakooyo

H.        All Souls Chapel, at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile – Ife.




Church Establishment

ESTABLISHMENT OF SAINT PHIILP’S CHURCH, AYETORO

As mentioned earlier, the desertion of the Church at Iyekere made the Catechist and elders to meet the Ooni for an alternative site within Ife Township. In 1912 after the death of Ooni Olubuse, the representatives met Oba Ademiluyi (Ajagun) the Ooni of Ife and requested for sites for Churches at four strategic locations in the town, that is Ayetoro, Iremo, Ayegbaju, and Ilare. Oba Ademiluyi gave them a site at Ayetoro and one each at Iremo, Ayegbaju, and Ilare, on condition that the site in his family quarters at Ayetoro would first be built because he himself would like to be worshipping there on Sundays. This was accordingly done.

The organ ordered from Britain arrived in February 1914 and the Church building was dedicated in August 1914. That Church has given way for a massive, modern stone edifice, the foundation of which was laid by Rt. Revd. F. Melville Jones, Bishop of Lagos on 15th April, 1939, during the incumbency of Revd. J.S. Adejumo and which was dedicated in May 1957.

The following are some of the village Churches which sprang up under Saint Philip’s Church, Ayetoro:

C.M.S. Owena Lakoro 1932;
C.M.S. Luobe 1932
C.M.S. Abiri 1947
C.M.S. Iyanfoworogi 1948
C.M.S. Oyo 1936
C.M.S. Obaloran 1945
C.M.S. Kajola 1948
C.M.S. Osi Layade 1932
C.M.S. Aganran 1936
C.M.S. Ayepe Olode 1936
C.M.S. Eruku 1945, and
C.M.S. Ejipade 1945.


THE FOUNDATION OF SAINT PETER’S CHURCH, IREMO

In 1922, when the Ayetoro Church could no longer accommodate her teeming population, the worshippers from Iremo quarters of Ile-Ife, decided to build a Church. Under the leadership of Catechist A. Oyekanmi they sent a delegation to seek the permission of Ooni Ademiluyi to erect a Church building on the site earlier approved by him . Following an approval of a site at Odo-Ogbe in Iremo ward, a small Church 40ft by 20ft was built under the supervision of Revd. P.V. Adebiyi then stationed at Edunabon. He dedicated the Church building on 5th August, 1923. Catechist A. Oyekanmi was then placed in charge.

In 1927 when the Church was found to be too small for the increasing number of worshippers, a new building was started under the direction of a Building Committee made up of 23 members with Revd. M.D. Akinyemi as Secretary, Prince Titus Martins Aderemi (later Ooni of Ife) as Treasurer, and Daniel Omoworare as Assistant Treasurer. The building was dedicated by Bishop F. Melville Jones on 8th February, 1930, and in it the Coronation Service of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Titus Martins Aderemi was held on 2nd September, 1930.On 20th April 1947, the Church decided to erect a new vicarage and this was dedicated on 29th March, 1948.

Unfortunately the Church building dedicated on 8th February 1930, suddenly collapsed. A temporary building was immediately erected for services and this was used until 1950 when the present modern building was completed.


THE FOUNDING OF SAINT PAUL’S CHURCH, AYEGBAJU

Saint Paul’s Church, Ayegbaju, was built in 1923, when Christians in Ilode and Moore decided to build their own Church on a site earlier approved for them at “Igbo so” (the bush where people who committed suicide by hanging were buried), a dreaded bush believed to be the haunting ground of evil spirits. A hut was erected and Mr. B. Fafisibe conducted the first service in January 1923. Among the foundation members were Daniel Amodu Lawani Ologbenla, James Awosope, Ezekiel Adegbesan, Jacob Akinbo, James Fagbewesa, George Fasanya, S.J.M. Onitiju (later Chief Obaloran), Theophilous Adeyemi, Isaac Makinde, Lydia Oyewole, Hannah Eluyeju Sijuade and Maris Omisore.

The Church soon gave way to a new larger one which was dedicated on 27th February 1927, by Revd. J.S. Adejumo.On 23rd April 1962, the foundation of the present gigantic and imposing modern edifice, 210 ft long, 60 ft wide and 35 ft high with towers tapering to 67 ft in height, was laid. On completion, the Church was dedicated on 29th January 1972.


THE FOUNDATION OF SAINT JOHN’S CHURCH, ILARE

Saint John’s Church, Ilare was established in 1925, when the following people left Ayetoro Mother-Church: Samuel Elujoba, Daniel Awoola (who became the first Baba Egbe), James Elugbuji, Daniel Adewole, C.B. Awofesobi, Joseph Awofesobi, Emmanuel Ojo, John Odagbe, Samuel Domboro, and Maria Aderemi.


THE FOUNDING OF SAINT STEPHEN’S CHURCH, MODAKEKE

As mentioned earlier, the break-up of Modakeke on 29th March 1909, made it impracticable for Modakeke to continue to attend services with the Ifes at Iyekere. However, in November 1921, the Modakeke started to return and at the beginning of 1922 the following people started to meet for prayers at the house of Samuel Akande: Samuel Ogunwumi, Abraham Olatunji, Ezekiel Akinwumi, Joseph Oyeleke, Gabriel Olopade, Samuel Akande, Jacob Osunlana, Maria Oyeyemi Ogunwumi, and Titus Abiola. They held their first Harvest Service on 29th November 1922.

When the Christians increased in number, Catechist Oyekan and the elders approached the Baale for a site to build a Church and this was granted following the approval of Ooni of Ife. The first place of worship was opened for services on 14th February, 1923 at Itaasin.

When Rev. J.S. Adejumo arrived at Ayetoro in March 1925, Modakeke came under his supervision. He made D.A. Fabowale a Lay-reader and Mr. D.A. Akintehinwa was appointed catechist. Progress was so rapid that soon a new Church was built.

The Modakekes in the Districts now continued to flock to town. When Mr. Akintehinwa was transferred to Esa-Oke in 1937, Mr. S.M. Morakinyo took his place. The arrival of their first Clergyman Rev’d R.A. Fajemisin in June 1941, was a matter of great joy. He worked strenuously in developing the Church and the school and in 1945 the Church became a Parish.

In 1951 the congregation decided to build a big modern Church and the foundation was laid on 26th March, 1952 by Archbishop L.G. Vining. The Church was dedicated on Sunday 25th January, 1970 by Rt. Revd. S.O. Odutola.


THE FOUNDING OF SAINT PETER’S CHURCH, EDUNABON

Similar to Iyekere Church in Ile-Ife, St. Peter’s Church Edunabon was the first Church founded in Origbo through the initiative of the following Edunabon sons: Johnson Osunbiyi and David Sijuwade.  They were freed slave who had been baptized while serving as a slave during war days, and who returned to Edunabon when slaves were freed by the Bristish Government, David Sijuwade with his brother, Johnson Osunbiyi were baptized in Lagos, Samuel Ogunnike who had become a Christian at Ijebu-Ode and returned to Edunabon to become a leader at Sunday Services by virtue of his literacy, Daniel Fasanya, a foundation member of the Church at Iyekere, Ile-Ife. At that time all Christians in Origbo met in Samuel Ogunnike’s house for Sunday services.

As the Church grew, Mr. John Ogunbiyi (the Catechist) requested Revd E.A. Kayode to arrange for Christian elders to visit Edunabon to direct worship. Revd Kayode and the elders thenceforth decided to be sending to them David Fandeyi, Joseph Olopade, Joseph Owoeye, Daniel Memadelo, Josiah Eluyera, Samuel Kongi, Oloko Elutilo and James Awosope.

Early in 1903, Mr. M.M. Laleye was appointed the first catechist and put in charge of all Origbo. The progress at Edunabon made the Church Council decide in July 1903 to send workers or Evangelists to Ipetumodu, and then to Akinlalu, Egbe, Ashipa, Yakooyo and Moro.On 15th June 1903, Bishop Charles Phillips came from Ondo to conduct the first baptismal service for 8 candidates.

Mr. M.W. Laleye endured much suffering through persecution by the pagans. Once he was locked up by the Government and was only released at the intervention of Revd. J.S. Adejumo.

A big Church was built during the time of Mr. S.T. Oloyede and was dedicated in October 1915, by Bishop Isaac Oluwole, who also conducted the first confirmation service for the whole Origbo.
THE FOUNDING OF CHRIST CHURCH, IPETUMODU

The beginning of Christianity at Ipetumodu was at the initiative of an Ipetumodu son called Ogunbode Bakare of Sekete Compound who had been a Muslim but was dissatisfied because of his inability to understand the Arabic language.At that time when Ipetumodu was under the sovereignty of Ibadan, Ogunbode became a follower of Abon, a messenger of Ibadan origin who sometimes visited Mr. Fasina the Resident. Ogunbode followed Abon to the Ibadan war at Ikirun and when the British dispersed the warriors, Ogunbode proceeded to Epe and became a fisherman there. There, he became a Christian and learnt to read the Bible from his landlord.

On returning home, Ogunbode started to teach those who had wanted to be Christians but had no one to teach them. Thus Christianity started in his house in 1900. Among those who worshipped there then were Ogunbode’s relatives, Adejimi, Sowole, Oyadele, Faleti, Oke, Akinrinade, Oyewale, Oke Atogun, Amusan, Langbasa, and Ojobo.
Services proceeded actively except whenever Ogunbode was away to Epe for his fishing. A time came when Ogunbode faced difficulties and persecution at the hands of the heathens. Many parents expelled their children from home on the claim that the children no longer obeyed them by joining in idol worship. Ogunbode harboured such children.

In 1904, the worshippers approached the Apetumodu Oyewobi for land and this was granted. The first Church built near the market place was dedicated by Revd. E.A. Kayode in 1905. The plan made at Ile-Ife that Mr. W.M. Laleye, their first Catechist, should stay at Ipetumodu could not materialize due to the usual absence of Ipetumodu sons from home and the frequent absence of Ogunbode. Mr. Laleye therefore had to live at Edunabon.

The first baptism, that of Emmanuel Ola took place on 15th October 1905, followed by that of 6 men on 20th May 1906, at the hands of Revd. E.A. Kayode. The confirmation of the first set of 7 members took place at Saint John’s Church, Iloro, Ilesa on 6th November 1907 at the hands of Rt. Rev. I. Oluwole.

The second Church was built in 1907, while the third was consecrated on 9th May 1911 by Revd. R.S. Oyebode who named it “CHRIST CHURCH. The fourth Church was started in December 1919 and was roofed on 17th October 1921. Soon after this a dissension arose in the Church over divorce and remarriage within the congregation. The matter was settled by a panel of Revd. R.S. Oyebode, Revd. M.D. Akinyemi from Ile-Ife, Mr. Otolorin and the Catechist at Edunabon, but it led to the invitation of the Roman Catholic Church to Ipetumodu.

Between 1903 and 1915 four series of persecution by the idol-worshippers was experienced which led to arrests, detention, beating, court cases at Ibadan and Ile-Ife. Attacks with smallpox, burning of Ogunbode’s house and that of another Christian were sources of worries to Ipetumodu Christians but they got over them all.


THE FOUNDING OF SAINT JOHN’S CHURCH, YAKOOYO

In 1904 Christianity was brought to Yakooyo by Samson Arabode. At first the Christians in Yakooyo worshipped at Ipetumodu. Whenever Revd. R.S. Oyebode from Ilesa and Revd. E.A. Kayode from Ile-Ife visited Churches in Origbo, they usually visited the congregation as well.

In 1918, Catechist Ogunsanya from Ipetumodu laid the foundation of the first Church which was dedicated on 9th January 1919. Plans were made whereby the following people were sent to Ipetumodu to conduct services: - Ezekiel Abodunde, Gabriel Oyedele, Gabriel Olaniran, and Thomas Olori. In 1927, Revd. P.V. Adebiyi posted Jacob Olawumi as the first worker at Yakooyo.


THE FOUNDING OF SAINT JUDE’S CHURCH, MORO

Since 1902, Catechist E.A. Kayode and some elders used to visit Moro to preach the Gospel. Mr. John Babarinde was the first Moro son to learn under Catechist Kayode. On his return to Moro he arranged for his three popular friends, Joseph Layajo, Samson Oyetola, and Adebamiwa to start learning under Catechist M.W. Laleye at Edunabon as from 1903. The three always lodged with Mr. E.J. Oyewusi. Mr. Laleye would teach them how to pray and would lead them to preaching in town and in compounds. As they were popular youths, other men started to follow their examples to learn and to engage in services. Among the first Christians in Moro were John Babarinde, Samson Oyetola, Adebamiwa, Joseph Layajo, Gabriel Adeyinka, Samuel Babatunde, Jacob Igbekoyi, John Oyediran, Joseph Idowu, and John Ayansola.

When Christians increased, services were held at the residence of the Oosa Mr. J. Layajo or that of the Aro Mr. John Babarinde, both leading morning services, while Mr. M.W. Laleye would hold evening services for them many times. Later Mr. Laleye appointed Abraham Idowu Jones for them as preacher. Some Edunabon. Elders from Ile-Ife also visited them.

In 1906, the Christians obtained land from the Baale for building the first small Church. Later in 1912 they requested for a bigger piece of land for a more spacious Church and this was granted.

In 1916, James Oyeleke was sent to Moro as their first permanent worker under the supervision of Revd. A.J. Williams. That year their new big Church was plastered and Bishop Isaac Oluwole named it “SAINT JUDES”


FOUNDING OF SAINT JOHN’S CHURCH, ASHIPA

In May 1905, Revd. E.A. Kayode and Mr. Olaleye went to preach the Gospel at Akinlalu and the Church of God was founded that day when those who accepted the faith gathered together and started to hold services in the house of Mr. Oluyemi.

On 9th July 1905, palm-leaves tent was built in front of Mr. Ayodabo’s house, Mr. Olarenwaju led them in services until Mr. Oyekanmi (later Baale Akinlalu) and Mr. Olaniran learnt to read well. Thereafter, Mr. Olawuni gave his son – Olarenwaju to Mr. M.W.Olaleye, Catechist at Edunabon to educate him. Soon one Mr. Babatunde also gave his son, Ojo to Ogunbode of  Ipetumodu for similar help.

The idol-worshippers in Akinlalu ridiculed the new Christians and they became depressed and returned to paganism. However, in 1916, a man called Idini started to come from Gbongan to teach the people and Mr. Oyetade once again resuscitated Christianity. In 1917, when Mr. Oyetade left the town to sojourn elsewhere, the Church remained without a teacher until 1924. On 18th June 1924 a society was established under the leadership of Mr. Babajide. Madam Folorunso was appointed the Matron and services were now held in her house. Philip Amusan was now sent from Ipetumodu to visit the Church constantly.

The Church continued to grow under Mr. I.O. Ijitona who arrived at Ipetumodu in 1925, and later under Mr. Owotumi both of whom visited Akinlalu Church regularly.


THE FOUNDING OF SAINT PETER’S CHURCH, IFETEDO

Some serious misunderstanding which occurred in Okeigbo town in 1931 led a section of the population to leave Okeigbo in annoyance and to found a new town called Ifetedo, on the other side of Ooni river at the boundary between the territories of Ile-Ife and Ondo. Thus the people came under the sovereignty of Ile-Ife.
Since some of the people were Christians from Saint Luke’s Church, Okeigbo, they built a Church at Itamerin and later shifted it to Okesoda where it has remained until today.

The following were those whose enthusiasm led to the building of the Church: Chief Moses Akinwande (Baale Ijo), Chief Elijah Kolajo (Balogun Ijo), Samuel Oragbade, Daniel Fawole, and Samuel Akinbola (layreader from Okeigbo). Samuel Ogiri (later at Ifewara) contributed immensely as worker from youth.

On 8th October 1931, Revd. J.S. Adejumo, accompanied by some people from Ile-Ife, paid his first visit to the Church and chose his text from Isaiah 60:22. Attendance recorded was 370.

The Church authorities posted Mr. J.O. Fatiregun to the Church as the first Catechist on 27th January 1932, during his time the Church currently in use was built. The Church became a Parish in 1961.
























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