TAC Origin in Old Eastern Region

Chapter 15

 

Origin and Expansion of TAC in the Old Eastern

Region of Nigeria:

African Indigenous Efforts and European Missionaries’

Participation

 

By

Samson  A. Fatokun

 

 

  • Cross River Territory: The Cradle of The Apostolic Church in the Old Eastern Region of Nigeria

The origin of The Apostolic Church in the old Eastern Nigeria is dated to 1931. In 1931, Evangelist Joseph Ayo Babalola extended the indigenous Pentecostal revival to Creek Town through the invitation of E.N.O.  Ene and some others who came into contact with him when he was imprisoned in Benin City[1]. He was lodged in the house of the father of E.O. Ene.

Figure 1: Pastor Ene’s father’s  house (formerly a

storied building) where Evangelist Babalola was lodged

during his revival in Creek Town in 1931

 

 

Figure 2: Pastor E.N.O. Ene’s Burial site in Creek Town visited in March on field research

 

 

Another family that received him was a Presbyterian family of the father of the Obong (later Elder) Edet Okon Itam – who by divine provision was the father of the first indigenous National President of TACN (Pastor Eyo Edet Okon). Among his pioneering works during his first visit included holding of special revival meetings which later resulted in the founding of three assemblies in that locality[2].

The house of Pastor E.E. Okon’s

father’s house – a family which equally

received Babalola in 1931.

 

 

 

Figure 3: TAC Creek Town – The first  church building of The Apostolic  Church Nigeria

in the Old Eastern Region of Nigeria, built in 1933

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 4: TACN Creek Town Field Headquarters

 

There were said to be few members of the Faith Tabernacle Congregation in existence in Calabar in 1931 – though with no trace of any link with the indigenous Pentecostal movement that had its origin in 1918 (hitherto discussed)[3]. This group was under the leadership of Pastor John Ubok Udom (later an ordained Pastor and the first indigenous Apostle of  The Apostolic Church) who arrived with his family in Calabar on transfer from Ibadan in the year, (10 March 1931), as an Assistant Entomologist Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture to take charge of the Government Botanical Garden. The early members of Faith Tabernacle Congregation included Emetanjo, one Ebube, and Mr. Asuquo (a staff of  Marine Department). They were meeting at first in a small store owned by Mr. Victor Yellow Duke (near Bassey Duke’s Effigy). Through J. Udom’s evangelical activities, in the Town of Calabar, Mr. Jonah Ettefia and his cousin John Ettefia, were won to the Faith Tabernacle.

Pastor Udom had earlier written to the Lagos leaders of the Nigerian Faith Tabernacle, on hearing of the 1930 revival, requesting for Babalola’s visit to Calabar, which could not materialize. However, to his surprise, he later heard of an outbreak of a great revival through the same evangelist in Creek Town. He paid a visit to the place, and from their succeeded in inviting Babalola to Calabar, where a powerful revival was conducted.

After affiliation of the defunct Nigerian Faith Tabernacle with The Apostolic Church Nigeria Great Britain in 1931, the authorities of The Apostolic Church Nigeria contributed a great deal to the establishment and consolidation of TAC in the Old Eastern Region of Nigeria, through both indigenous and European missionary activities of TAC ministers from Lagos (National Headquarters of the church).

 

There is a claim in some quarters that Pastor Udom had earlier in 1931 written to invite the leaders of The Apostolic Church in Great Britain to come to Calabar for the establishment of The Apostolic Church in Nigeria. That The Apostolic Church in Bradford accepted the invitation with open arms. But that in September 1931, when the President, Pastor D. P. Williams, Vice President, Pastor Andrew Turnbull, and the Prophet, Pastor Jones W. Williams, visited Lagos, they could not visit Udom’s group in Calabar[4].

 

The historical validity of the above claim cannot be substantiated, as there is no mention of any such connection between Calabar and TAC International Missionary Centre in Bradford by the British delegates of TAC United Kingdom during their visit to Lagos, Nigeria in 1931 for affiliation with the Nigerian Faith Tabernacle. Also, if Udom had previously written to Bradford as claimed, he would have been invited over to Lagos by the British delegates to join in the affiliation arrangement, just as Pastors Mensah and Macaulay (the leaders of Faith Tabernacle in Northern Nigeria, travelled down to Lagos, as could be seen in the previous chapter). Similarly,  Udom would have automatically been listed among the pioneer indigenous pastors of Nigerian Faith Tabernacle, formally called and ordained into the pastoral  office by the British delegates  as a token of affiliation of Nigerian Faith Tabernacle Church with  The Apostolic Church Great Britain on 15 November 1931. Hence, the fact remains that the origin of The Apostolic Church in the Old Eastern Nigeria, has its origin in Babalola’s evangelical activities, first in Creek Town, and subsequently in Calabar.

 

In 1932, Pastor George Perfect and Pastor Idris J. Vaughan, as part of their missionary tours round Nigeria as resident European missionaries of The Apostolic Church Nigeria, visited Calabar Province, as a follow up of the initial missionary expansion of The Apostolic Church to the Old Eastern Province through the Pentecostal revival activities of Evangelist Joseph Ayo Babalola. Subsequently, in 1933, the two leading Evangelists of TAC Nigeria – Pastors Idris Vaughan (the first National Council Prophet) and Joseph Ayo Babalola were simultaneously sent from Lagos to Calabar Province by T.A.C. Nigerian General Council for missionary expansion work.  Within few weeks, large numbers of people flocked to the services, coming under the mighty conviction of the Spirit of God such that hundreds of adults allegedly gave their lives to Christ[5]. With the unprecedented demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit, T.A.C.’s work spread so rapidly across the river to other parts of that land with roughly over two thousand people professing salvation out of which some one thousand one hundred were administered baptism by immersion and received into fellowship.

 

As reported by T.N. Turnbull:

In 1933 Pastor Vaughan was commissioned to return to Calabar, to strengthen the small group, and to pioneer work in Calabar. Special services were conducted and within a few weeks large numbers of people flocked to the services, coming under mighty conviction of the spirit of God, so that even hundreds of adults professed salvation. The revival fire spread across the river to Creek town, and to other parts. Altogether over two thousand in the area decided for Christ, and one thousand and one hundred were baptised in water and received into fellowship. For many months the work lived in the midst of a continuous, burning, melting revival. Christmas Eve 1933 was a glorious day for Creek Town when their first Church building was opened. Soon the Macedonian calls poured in from towns and villages, and many assemblies were opened[6].

 

Due to the rapid growth of The Apostolic Church in the eastern Nigeria, an administrative ‘Area’ (first called ‘centre’ in 1933) was created in 1936 by the resident European missionaries the same year with the three other leading centres before affiliation (Lagos, Ilesa, and Zaria)[7]. Pastor E.E. Okon later emerged as the first indigenous Area Superintendent. It late assumed the status of an administrative Field with the creation of more administrative Areas in the Eastern Region. Pastor E.E. Okon emerged as the first indigenous Field Superintendent.

 

 

Figure 5: Pastor E.E. Okon presiding over a Council  meeting in the old Calabar Field with the Council members including some resident European missionaries. .

Other European missionaries sent out by the International Missionary Centre in Bradford, who laboured in the Old Calabar Area included Pastor R.M. Kay (1935 – 36), Pastor V. Wellings – first European Area Superintendent (1937 – 42), Pastor W.E. Rhodes (1942 – 43: who died in service in Calabar), Pastor J.F. Phillips (1945), Pastor D.H. McGill (1945-1950), . Others included Pastor and Mrs A. Thomasen (from Denmark), Pastor and Mrs. Ford (1947 onwards), Pastor and Mrs. L. Derry (transferred in 1953 from the Igbo Area where they had served since 1948),  Pastor and Mrs G.P. Selby (arrived in 1948), and Pastor and Mrs. E. H Williams (1957).  As noted by T.N. Turnbull, all these missionaries blended with the African ministers[8]. The indigenous ministers who worked hand –in- hand with the European missionaries included  Pastors J. Udom, E.O.U Ituen, E.N.O Ene, J.A Ufot, C.B Ekpenyong, E.I Esshiet, C.E.O Mfon, M.J. Otu, B.U Umoh, A.C Henshaw, O.A Esien, E.E Okon, and D.E. Ufford[9].

From Calabar, The Apostolic Church spread to many places in the Old Eastern Region of Nigeria. This was through both indigenous efforts and European missionaries’ participation. This home  of TAC Nigeria in the Old Eastern produced the first administrative Area  in Eastern Nigeria – known as Calabar Area which later graduated through expansion to an administrative Field- Cross River Field, and finally, an administrative Territory, Cross River Territory (comprising of 5 Fields), with Pastor J.O. Arikpo as the pioneer Territorial Chairman, Pastor D.A. Efanga as the pioneer Territorial Vice-Chairman,  Pastor (Dr) Essien E. Edet as Administrative Secretary, and Pastor (Dr) Ekpe E. Offiong as Treasurer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 6: The Research Team at Creek Town  with TACN Creek Town Field Executive  Council (picture taken in March 2017)- Sitting- Pastor Hogan (Field Supt.), standing are the Field Executive members (Pastor Edet-  Deputy Field Supt. – (3rd left); The Research Team: Pastor Oyeleke (standing 2nd left), Professor Fatokun (4th left), & Pastor Adeleye (6th left)

 

 

 

Figure 7:  TACN Creek Town Field Council  during Pastor Edet’s Doctoral Degree Graduation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 8: The research team at TACN  Calabar Field, with the Field Superintendent, Pastor Efanga

 

 

 

Figure 9: TACN Calabar Field Headquarters, Cross River Territory

 

  • Brief History TACN, Igboland Territory

The Apostolic church came to Igbo-land in December 1931, and in the year 1932, Pastor Albert Emetanjo was sent to Igbo-land from Calabar to reside in Aba, to gather the existing stations and form them into Districts. In 1932 when Pastor George Perfect and Pastor Idris J. Vaughan arrived at Calabar, they

 

 

 

 

 

extended their visit to many places in Igbo-land, among which were Umuigu Oboro, Udo Ezinhitte, Oloko, Nbawsi, and Aba.[10]

 

Similarly,  in the month of March 1934, Pastor Cyril H. Rosser, Noah Evans and Mrs. Rosser visited Aba from Calabar. The first indigenous pastors in Igboland were subsequently ordained on 14 March 1934, namely John Epele (not the same person with E.T. Epelle –the Nigerian F.T. pastor over Umuaiah who did not eventually joined in the 1931 affiliation)[11] and Jacob Wank, while some were equally ordained into the office of  elder in Aba[12].

Between 1933 and 1937, The Apostolic Church had extended  Umuigu Oboro, Aba, Nbawsi, and through Ngwaland reaching Udo, Ife, Amumara in Mbasie; Obollo, Umuopara Ogboama, Ehime in Mbano; Amangwu, Umuzongbo in Bende/Arochukwu; then to Ogwashiukwu, Asaba in Western Igbo; and to Port-Harcourt, Ogoni Gokana in the present Rivers and Delta area, from Aba[13].   In the year 1937, the work in Igbo was divided into two Sections under two Sectional Leaders who were Pastor E.N.O. Ene at Port-Harcourt, and Pastor J.U.  Udom at Aba.

 

 

 

Figure 10: The research team with the National President (2nd left) & Territorial Secretary (2nd right) at the old garage constructed for Pastor Selby, the last resident European Missionary at  Amumara (TAC  Igboland Territory)

 

Between 1937 and 1938, The Apostolic Church in Igboland with both Ogoni and Port-Harcourt in the present Rivers State, became administratively carved out as a Sectional headquarters (Section VII of the Calabar Area[14]. Owing to the vast growth of TAC in Igboland, in August 1938, Port-Harcourt was called key to Igbo-land, Aba was called a Centre of Praises, Nbawsi was called Mount of Revelation through prophecy by Pastor Noah Evans[15].

Pastor V. Wellings arrived Ife (close to Amumara) from Calabar  on Thursday 18th January, 1940. The Mala of Amumara offered a large portion of land to the church and told Pastor Wellings to send an European to come and live with them[16]. Pastor V. Wellings toured all the districts in Iboland as preparation for Area creation.

In July of the same year (1940), for geographical and tribal reasons, Igboland was given an administrative Area (carved out of the Old Calabar Area) with seven Districts, and  some seventy Assemblies of Ibo-speaking people[17]. Pastor Idris J. Vaughan was sent to live in Amumara as the Superintendent for Igbo Area. However, in the same year, 1940, Pastor Joseph A. Anyahuru broke away carrying 115 assemblies, 60 church-workers and 6 pastors with him (possibly, partly in reaction to the appointment of a European as Superintendent)[18].

 

 

Resident European missionaries were successively sent to Igboland by the International Missionary Centre of TAC in Bradford. These European missionaries who labored in Igboland included Pastor W.H. Grabham (who died in active service in Enugu and was buried there), Pastors L.D. Derry, Noah Evans, C.T. Morris, F.H. Williams,  and G.B. Selby

 (the last European Missionary to Igboland) .[19] These missionaries worked hand in hand with indigenous pastors in Igboland for the consolidation of TAC in that place. Notable among these is Pastor Monday Mboko Anyachor, who was inducted as the first indigenous Field Superintendent in 1980.

By 1981 during the commemoration of the 50th Golden Jubilee anniversary of the church in Nigeria, Igboland  was already an administrative  Field, comprising of  10 Areas, 48 Districts, 250 Assemblies, 25,750 Members, 7 Apostles, 20,000 children, 55 Pastors, and 37 Church Teachers[20]. Pastor Robert Chikezie Nwabuko  succeeded Pastor Monday Mboko Anyachor  in 1999 as the second indigenous Field Superintend. He was in turn succeeded in 2010 by  Pastor Sampson E. Igwe as the third indigenous Field Superintendent.

However, between 2004 and 2011,  TAC in Igboland had some internal crisis in  what Pastor T.I. Igwe in his book, To My Next Generation: A Love Letter,  called ‘Field Creation Crisis’. This was consequent upon the proposal in December 2004 for the transition of Igbo Field to Igboland Territory of Fields. This proposal was submitted by Pastors S.O.B. Amaogu (the third Indigenous National Secretary of TACN)  and T.I. Igwe to the Field Council Chairman for consideration. The crisis was eventually resolved in what is called ‘The Benin City Accord of 4-5 May 2011.[21]   On 7 February 2012, Igbo Field, which during the crisis had been suspended from the National Executive Council (NEC) of TACN was re-absorbed,[22] and the following year,  on 8 December 2013, the Igboland Territory (earlier proposed in 2004) was formally inaugurated  at Amumara with eight (8) Fields, namely, Amumara,  Umuaiah, Enugu, Nbwasi, Umuzomgbo, Aba Metropolitan, Owerri, and Niger. Pastor Sampson Ekwutosi  Igwe was inducted as the first Territorial Chairman, with Pastor O.N. Arisa  as Administrative Secretary. The Territory covers seven States of Nigeria, namely, Abia, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, Delta, and Rivers.  The Territory has a theological institution called The Apostolic Church Theological Seminary, Amumara (affiliated to the University of Uyo).

 

Figure 11: The research team with the TACN National President (centre) and staff/students of TAC Theological Seminary in their campus at Amumara

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 12: The research team ( Prof. Fatokun (centre) & Pastors  Oyeleke & Adeleye (extreme left and right ) with the National President, Pastor Igwe (2nd left) &Territorial Adm. Secretary (2nd right)  at TAC Igboland Territorial Headquarters, Amumara

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Brief History TACN, Maritime Territory Field

 

Figure 13: Pastor G.G. Weeks and his wife

 

The Apostolic Church got planted in Bodo, the cradle of the work in the whole of the former Rivers Field, now Maritime Territory in the year 1935[23]. As narrated  by Pastor G.G. Weeks (the resident  European Superintendent in his report during the Golden Jubilee Anniversary of The Apostolic Church Nigeria in 1981:

 

It actually came about when Mr. Uranta, a petition writer from Opobo town brought news to the little group of worshippers in the Christ Army Church in Bodo, that a church was operating in Calabar in which the baptism of the Holy Spirit, spiritual Gifts and clapping of hands while singing were been practised. This little group, owing to their ascetic and devout way of life and worship, were experiencing bodily healings and visions in their midst and they also sang and clapped their hands, although they had not been properly indoctrinated and enlightened as to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the operation of spiritual gifts and the Apostolic order and sitting. The group then had some out-stations in Bonny, Dogoma and Andoni[24].

 

Upon request, in 1935, Pastor Noah Evans was sent by the Calabar Council to the group in Bodo to show them the Apostolic Vision and it’s attendant principles and practice.  In 1940, when Igboland was granted an Area Status, the Ogoni brethren were asked to join the Igbo Area, while Ogoniland  was made a Section (Section II (two) of the Igbo Area.

Early in the decade, beginning 1950, the work was growing and letters were sent to Bradford for a separate missionary to care for the work in Section 2. As a result, Pastor and Mrs. R.J Lewis came to reside in Bodo in January, 1955 and God further blessed and expanded the work. He worked in co-operation with other prominent Ogoni Pastors, who even before this time, under Calaber were being used mightily to expand the work. In this category are Pastors N.V Bobah, R.V Gbarato, B. Faara-Vigo, M.K Nyedah, F.N Philips and later on M.A Pirah, P.B Isaac, and a host of other workers, overseers and elders. Men like Moses Gima (late) and Daniel Awanon, worked and manned assemblies as overseers in the early days of the work in Ogoni.[25]

Between 1952 and 1966, the leadership of the work in Ogoni was in hands of Pastor G.P Selby and R.V Gbarato with other pastors assisting them. During the period of the Nigerian Civil War in late 1968 to early 1970, the whole assemblies in Rivers were administered as a unit under the leadership of Pastor B. Faara-Vigo and his colleagues.

In May, 1970 The Apostolic Church in Rivers was granted Area status with 15 Districts and 125 assemblies. Pastor G.P Selby was appointed as the first European Superintendent with his seat in Port-Harcourt. The Area Council members comprised of Pastors R.V Gbarato, B. Faara-Vigo, A.E George, F.N Phillips, N.V. Bobah, P.B Isaac, M.K Nyeda and M.A Pirah. In  1971, another European missionary, Pastor W.R Chivers and his wife and son, Stephen, were sent to reside in Bodo to minister in Rivers State, assisting Pastor Selby.

European missionaries who labored in Ogoniland in one way or the other (including those who came visiting to minister) included Pastors Joseph Philips, D.C Hopkins, D.H Macgill, George Perfect, I.J Vaughan (who came in 1948 to Nigeria for the second time in 1948), L.J. Darry, G.P. Selby, R.J.J. Lewis, W.R. Chibvers, G.H. Williams, and G.G. Weeks. Indigenous pastors from Calabar and Igbo pastors  who laboured in Ogoni, Port-Harcourt and Okrika include: Pastors E.E Okon, C.E. Mfon,   O.A Esien,  Henshaw, E.E Itta and Asama. Indigenous visiting ministers included E.N.O Ene, J. Udom, and J. Thomas. The indigenous pastors of the church included Pastors N.V. Bobah, R.V. Gbarato, M.K. Nyiedah, B. Faara-Vigo, F.N. Philips, A.E. George, M.A. Piirah, and P.B. Isaac[26].

 

In 1979, Rivers Field was created. By 1981 during the 50th Anniversary of the adoption TAC as a denominational name  in Nigeria, the administrative

Field comprised of  6 Areas, 10 sections with 135 assemblies, 10,811 members and 1833 adherents[27].

 

 

 

Figure 14: The proposed TACN Maritime Territory Convention Complex

 

 

 

Figure 15: The research team at Rumuomasi in Port-Harcourt with TACN Maritime Territorial Vice-Chairman,  Pastor Ogbonna (centre)

 

 

Figure 16: The research team at TACN Maritime Territorial  Headquarters at Bodo, Rivers State

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 17: The research team at one of the Areas’ headquarters in TACN Maritime Territory, with Pastor Gokana, the Eleme Area Superintendent (second left)

 

Pastor G.P. Selby left the Superintend-ship of Rivers Field in February, 1980. He was replaced with Pastor Gordon G Weeks who had arrived in the Field since  December 1979, being  sent by the International Missionary Council in Bradford  to take up the Superintendency of the Rivers Field. He was also commissioned to help Nigeria in the work of formulating her Apostolic Church

 

National Constitution in order to move into national autonomy as soon as possible[28]. Pastor  G.G. Weeks remained the European Superintendent of Rivers Field till autonomy in 1981. From 1981 to 1997, Pastor (Dr) Faara-Vigo emerged as the first African Superintendent for Rivers Field. He was succeeded by Pastor F.N. Philips between 1997 to 2002[29].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 18: The Resident European Missionary’s family with some indigenous leaders and members.

 

 

Figure 19: European and indigenous leaders with Pastor Faara Vigo (immediate left to the European missionary)-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 20: Pastor Faara Vigo (centre) with  the pioneer indigenous executive members of old Rivers Field after the autonomy in 1981 (from left: Pastors Philips, Aeba (secretary), Brown and Isaac (Council Prophet).

 

The Territory has a theological institution, called The Apostolic Church Theological Seminary (Affiliated to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria) for the training of ministers. It opened on 23 September 1978 with Pastor B.A. Zorasi as pioneer Principal.

 

In 1998, there was a change in name from Rivers Field to Maritime Field. In 2015, Maritime Field assumed the status of administrative Territory, covering TAC assemblies in the present Rivers and Bayelsa States of Nigeria. The Territory is currently composed of 10 Zones, 44 Areas and  143 Districts[30]. The present Territorial Chairman of Maritime Territory is Pastor (Dr) A.N. Aeba (2002 till date), with Pastor L.O. Ogbonna as Territorial Vice-Chairman, and Pastor E. Henry as Territorial Administrative Secretary[31].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4)    Brief History TACN, Akwa Ibom Territory

           Through the evangelical activities of Pastors  l. J. Vaughan from Britain and Joseph Babalola from Western Nigeria  at Creek Town and Duke Town in the former Calabar Province, The Apostolic Church extended to the interland of the other Provinces such as Uyo, Eket, Oron, and lkot Ekpene.[32]

The growth in this work gave birth to 12 Areas in the Mainland part of the former Cross River State. Consequent upon the astronomical growth of the work under the leadership of Pastor E. E. Okon, (first indigenous National President) a separate Field was carved out from the then Cross River Field in 1982, and inaugurated in 1983, under the Name, Mainland Field  with  headquarters at Uyo. The pioneer superintendent was  Late Pastor E. I. Esshiet[33].

Figure 21: Pastor Esshiet,

Pioneer Indigenous Superintendent

In 1987, when the Federal Government created Akwa Ibom State, the name  ‘Mainland Field’ changed also to the present Akwa lbom State Field. In 1993, at the demise of the pioneer indigenous superintendent of the Field, Pastor E. I. Esshiet, Pastor B. U. Umoh became the Field Superintendent. At the death of Late Pastor B. U. Umoh, the National President, Pastor E. E. Okon, became the Supervisor of the Field for a period of Four (4) years.

Meanwhile, the Field has metamorphosed into a giant community of believers with 30 Areas and about 240 Districts. In December, 2000, three additional Fields were created from Akwa lbom.

Akwa Ibom State Territory of The Apostolic Church, Nigeria  was inaugurated on Tuesday, December 8, 2015 by the then National President of The Apostolic Church, Nigeria, Pastor (Dr) G.O. Olutola. The first and current Territorial Chairman is Pastor A.O. Udoiyak, while the Territorial Administrative Secretary is Pastor  Samuel Isaiah[34]. At the inauguration in 2015, the Territory comprised  of five Fields of The Apostolic Church Nigeria in Akwa Ibom, namely, Uyo, Eket, Ikot Ekpene, Oron and Ikot Abasi.

Figure 22: The research team at TACN Uyo Field Superintendent, Akwa Ibom Territorial (centre- Pastor George)

 

 

Figure 23: The research team at TACN Oron Field Headquarters with Pastor E.O. Uye  (centre) the Field Superintendent

Figure 24: The research team at TACN, Eket Field, Akwa Ibom Territory with the Field Superintendent – Pastor Dr. U.S. Ukpong (second left)

 

  • Brief History TACN, Andoni Field

The Apostolic Church spread to Ngo Town, headquarters of  the present day Andoni Field in the year 1960. The church was planted in Ngo – the administrative seat of Obolo nation  by the then Cross River Field through Ibekwe

via Opobo. The prominent pioneer members include: Late Deaconess Dorcas Ogbudu, Late Elder Solomon Ali, Late Deaconess Jemimah Jacob, among others, who whole-heartedly embraced the new faith[35].

 

It started as a prayer house fellowship in residential houses through the activities of Late Presiding Elder Thomas Akpito. The pioneer minister sent to Ngo was Late Pastor J. U. Udomah. He was  followed by Late Pastor Umoreh (1970-1972). Next was Late Pastor Matthew Jaja (1972-1974), followed by others numerous to mention.

 

In 1970, the church commenced the great commission of evangelism
and witnessing of Jesus Christ in the neighbouring towns and villages in Andoni
and planted churches in nine (9) communities, namely,  Okoloile and Agwut-
Obolo (1970), Asarama, inyon-orong and Ilotombi (1971), Egbormung and
Oronija (1972),  and,  Ibotirem and Ataba (1974)[36].

 

With the growth of The Apostolic Church in Obololand, Ngo  was granted a  District status under the then Cross River Field in the year 1974, with ten (10) assemblies. However, in 1978, during the nation-wide States’ boundaries adjustment exercise by the Federal Government of Nigeria, Ngo District was moved from Cross River State to Rivers State. Consequently, the District sent a four-man delegate  to liaise with the then Rivers Field Council in Bodo. The delegate comprised of   Elder Z. S. Warigbani (now an ordained Apostle and the Andoni Field Superintendent), Elder R. G. Awajimijaana (now an ordained Apostle and Opobo Area Superintendent in Maritime Territory), Late Elder James Otoko and Elder G. I. Otuokwun (now an ordained Apostle and Oyorokoto Area Superintendent in Andoni Field.

In 1981, Ngo District was granted an Area status with
headquarters at Ngo by the then Rivers Field Council, the area was known
and addressed as Area Five (5) consisting of Ngo District, Opobo and Bonny
Districts. However, Opobo and Bonny Districts later boycotted the newly
created Area due to Marine transportation difficulties. However, the Area
continued to labour in establishing more assemblies.

By 1993, Ngo Area had expanded so much that a group of Areas had been carved out from the one Area of 1981. These Areas were put under  the
leadership of Late Pastor Nelson Ogudire (an Apostle),  and later headed by the National Executive Council through supervision of Pastor Z. S. Waligbani. Consequently it was granted a  Sub-Field status by the National Executive

History and distinctiveness of The Apostolic Church Nigeria, 1918-2017

 

 

Council (N.E.C.) of The Apostolic Church Nigeria, under the approval of Late Pastor E. E. Okon. Pastor Z. S. Warigbani (an Apostle) was thus appointed as the first indigenous Sub-Field Supervisor.

On 12 November, 2014 after seven (7) years of successful operation as a Sub-Field operation, the National Executive Council  granted Andoni a full Field status with an elevation of her Supervisor, Pastor  Z. S. Warigbani to a Field Superintendent. The Apostolic Church in  Andoni commenced operation as a. Field on 1 January 2015, and became officially inaugurated on 21 March,
2015 at Ngo by the National Executive Council of TACN’s  delegates led by Late Pastor B. E. Duke – the then National Secretary of the church.  The Apostolic Church, Andoni Field has produced Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers,  and a good number of other church officers and congregational members.

 

 

Figure 25: TACN Andoni Field  Headquarters, Ngo

 

Andoni Field created in 2014 presently has seven Areas, 22 Districts and 73 assemblies[37]. The names of the Areas are as follows:

  1. i) Ngo Area (with Pastor Z.S Warigbani as Area and Field Superintendent.)
  2. ii) Ataba Area (with Pastor N. Zebulon as Area Superintendent.)

iii) Agwut-Obolo Area (with Pastor Z.S Warigbani as Are Superintendent.)

  1. iv) Oyorokoto Area (with Pastor I. Otuokwun as Area Superintendent.)
  2. v) Egbormung Area (with Pastor J. Joshua as Area Superintendent)
  3. vi) Okoloile Area (with Pastor N.N. Zebulon as Area Superintendent)

vii) Ogbogoro Area  (with Pastor I.E. Etim as Area Superintendent)

 

 

 

[1] Tim Igwe (2016), To My Next Generation: A Love Letter, Owerri: Complete Life Publishers, pp.220-221

[2] See S.G. Adegboyega (1978), Short History of The Apostolic Church in  Nigeria, Ibadan: Rosprint Press, p. 71;  See also T.N. Turnbull (1959),  What God Hath Wrought (A Short  History of the Apostolic Church), Bradford: The Puritan Press Ltd.,  p. 81

[3] See  Adegboyega (1978), Short History of The Apostolic Church in  Nigeria… ; Turnbull (1959),  What God Hath Wrought (A Short  History of the Apostolic Church); J.A. Ademakinwa (2012) History of Christ Apostolic Church-The Faith of Our Fathers (New Edition), Lagos: The Battle Cry Christian Ministries,

[4]Bassey Ekwe (2016), The History of The Apostolic Church in East of the Niger, Calabar: Harvey Jayie Press,  pp. 18-21

[5] Turnbull (1959),  What God Hath Wrought (A Short  History of the Apostolic Church)…

[6] Ibid.

[7] Adegboyega (1978), Short History of The Apostolic Church in  Nigeria…

[8] Turnbull (1959),  What God Hath Wrought (A Short  History of the Apostolic Church), p. 82

[9] Ibid.,  p.82

[10] N/a, (1981), The Apostolic Church Nigeria 50th Anniversary (Golden Jubilee), Lagos: Universal Press, p. 18; See also TACN (2017), TACN  Igboland Territory Diary, p.iii

[11] S.G. Adegboyega (1978), Short History of The Apostolic Church in Nigeria, Ibadan: Rosprint Industrial Press Ltd., p.7 ).

[12] Ibid. (N/a, (1981), The Apostolic Church Nigeria 50th Anniversary),  p. 18.

[13] Igwe (2016), To My Next Generation: A Love Letter, p. 221

[14] Ibid., p. 222

[15]Monday M. Anyachor (1981), “ Brief Outline of the Inception of The Apostolic Church in Igbo Field” in The Apostolic Church Nigeria 50th Anniversary (Golden Jubilee)Handbook,  p. 18

[16] Ibid., p.18

[17] Turnbull (1959),  What God Hath Wrought (A Short  History of the Apostolic Church) p. 82

[18] Ibid.

[19] TACN (2017), TACN  Igboland Territory Diary, p.iv

[20] Ibid., p. 18

[21] For details see Igwe (2016), To My Next Generation: A Love Letter, pp.226-268..

[22] Ibid., p. 269

[23] G.G. Weeks (1981),” Some Highlights of What God had Wrought in The Apostolic Church, Rivers Field, Since her Inception. 1935-1981” in The Apostolic Church Nigeria 50th Anniversary (Golden Jubilee)Handbook,  p.21

[24] Ibid., p. 21

[25] Ibid

[26] TACN (2017), TACN  Maritime Territory Diary, p. 6

[27] Weeks (1981),” Some Highlights of What God had Wrought in The Apostolic Church, Rivers Field… p. 23

[28] Ibid., p.24

[29] TACN (2017), TACN  Maritime Territory Diary, p. 6

[30] Church Records, March 2017

[31] TACN (2017), TACN  Maritime Territory Diary,  p. 13

[32] www.tacuyofield.org

[33] Pastor A.O. Udoyiak, Interview Respondent, TACN Akwa Ibom Territorial Chairman. Interviewed in May 2017.

[34]  “Akwa Ibom  Territory of The Apostolic Church, Nigeria for Inauguration Tomorrow” in The Pioneer Newspaper –Akwa Ibom State Corporation  http://pioneernewsng.com/?p=4434. Posted Dec. 6, 2015

 

[35] Pastor Z.S. Warigbani, Interview Respondent, Field Superintendent, TAC Andoni Field, Rivers State. Interviewed February 2017

[36] Ibid.

[37] Church Records, TAC Andoni Field. January 2017

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