C.M.S. Administration And Ministration, 1914-1934
By 1914, Christianity was permeating Urhoboland. The work was still fluid and infirm. The tasks of consolidation in the period before us still lay ahead. The period witnessed a major upheaval, resulting from an attempt to impose form and proper structure on the formless, haphazard pioneering work of Bishop Johnson’s agents. The conflict which later resulted might have been avoided if Aitken’s suggestion to the Niger Mission Executive Committee that the Urhobo-Isoko areas be constituted into a single district had been fully accepted and implemented. But as it happened, only the Isoko section was constituted into a district, leaving the Urhobo congregations in the lurch. Consequently these congregations continued to be administered by Bishop Johnson’s agents, ill-equipped as they were. The converts had continually to look up for leadership to Warri and Sapele, the major centres of Niger Delta Pastorate Administration in the area.
The relationship between Warri and Sapele in the Niger Delta Pastorate set up was, however, not clearly defined. It was not clear, for instance, whether Warri was the centre, and Sapele a sub-centre, or vice versa; or whether the two were standing at par in importance. But when Warri applied for a resident pastor in 1914, she stated in her letter of application the jurisdiction of the Vicar to-be would embrace Sapele, “the Christian Church at Forcados: “the prospective Church at Burutu”, and the outstation churches, fifteen of which were by 1914 affiliated to Warri, and the same number to Sapele.
The relationship between Warri and the outstations and that between Sapele and affiliated outstations, were also not clearly spelt out. Nor was there any indication given in the constitution of the Diocese of West Equatorial Africa (by which the Niger Delta Pastorate was governed) of what the relation between mother and outstation churches should be. In the absence of any laid down policy, what relationship existed emerged from the situation. Thus in practice, the outstations to Warri and to Sapele looked up to these centres for spiritual leadership. In that kind of situation, the initiative of men on the spot, like Omatsola, (as we shall see) counted much. It was their attitude and initiative which dictated the decisions of higher authorities like Bishop Tugwell. Thus it was the de facto motherly status already assumed by Warri and Sapele, even if forced upon them by men like Omatsola, that was to give rise to Bishop Tugwell’s suggestion that “local committees should be formed (in the outstations) of which the agent in charge at Sapele or Warri should be for raising and disbursing of moneys, rendering a quarterly statement of account to the parent committee in Sapele or Warri”. It was this awareness of responsibility for some, at least, of the outstations which made Warri include “the Sobo villages”, “Chapels around Warri” in the jurisdiction of the expected vicar.
Warri in the Era of Rev. Cole
1914 and 1920 the
Connected with this uneasy situation was the need to define what the relationship between Warri and the outstations should be. The Government had decided that all churches be registered like statutory bodies, in order to enable them to own property. Warri and Sapele churches had been so registered. The outstations connected with Warri needed to be registered with the Government by St. Andrew’s Church, Warri, in such a way that their satellite relationship to Warri could be legally recognized. But this end was not yet achieved by 1920 when Cole left on leave. Apparently, as a consequence of the views of a section of the Urhobo people, he did not return. Thus the era of Cole, which covered only six years, did not achieve very much, even if he saw the need to, and did, visit the outstations in their afflictions and persecutions, and attempted to meet some of their spiritual needs. Like all pioneers, his difficulties were many, and a great deal still needed to be done at the time of his departure.
Although Sapele did not have a resident pastor till 1916, the situation there would appear to have been somewhat better than at Warri. There was a management committee made up among others, of A. Omatsola, as Church Agent, G. Sunday as Hon. Secretary, and I. T. Palmer as President. This was the governing body of Sapele Church and adjoining outstations- Amukpe, Ugharefe , Ugbomoya, Idjerhe, Abraka, Obiaroku , Uhwokori, Eku, and Ovu.
These outstations, some of which, unlike Warri, had been registered by 1916, looked up to Sapele for spiritual leadership. Omatsola, who since 1909, had been chiefly responsible for planting churches in many of them had never relented his efforts at visitation and evangelisation of the outstations, sometimes even to the detriment of his work at Sapele, and to the discomfiture of Sunday, who on one occasion got the Committee to restrict Omatsola’s visitations to the outstations.
But such restriction hampered work in these stations, for as Bishop Tugwell’s letters were to reveal, many of the agents in the hinterland were little more than the blind leading the blind. For example, the man at Uhwokori, Jacob Oluwole, was not even baptised.
the time Omatsola’s activities in the outstations were restricted (1913-14)
progress there was retarded. For example, only Amukpe, of the outstations, sent
in her assessment for October 1914 whereas prior to the restriction the
outstation agents had been duty bound to attend the Church Committee meetings
at Sapele every first Saturday of the month, and during that time paid in their
assessment for the previous month. They were also then subjected to half-yearly
examination in “
structure of authority at Sapele had something to do with the way
answer to the
from reaction against foreign domination, the teething problem of monogamy was
apparently a contributory factor to this schism. The Baptist Mission had been
for some time now in
Transfer to the C.M.S.
The death of Bishop Johnson
on Ascension Day, 17th May, 1917 marked a milestone in the spiritual pilgrimage
of the Urhobo congregations and affected the administration of the Urhobo
Churches. For, with the death of him who had been almost the sole architect of
the NDP, that body became defunct. In the Warri P.C.C. a motion that “steps be
taken to have this church enrolled under Lagos Mission”
was unanimously carried. This decision was communicated to
this time the fate of
the occupation of the Igabo Country did not interfere with the proposed development in Udi, district they would
gladly undertake the Igabo work from
This decision of the Niger E.C. explains, as shown later, the transfer from Igbide of Aitken at a time when there was a crying need for him there.
letter endorsed an action of the Yoruba Mission in arranging for tentative
supervision of the
Koyeomokere aware epha?
So we are cut off in an island?
At the Isoko end, subsequent to the creation of “Igabo District” in 1914, Aitken was put in charge as superintendent, with headquarters at Igbide. Although he left on furlough the same year, the District continued steadfast in his absence. On his return, he did not only find that the converts at Owodokpokpo were still virile in their faith, but that their population had increased to about a hundred and twenty in spite, and in some ways as a result, of persecution. For the blood of the martyrs has often been the seed of the church. Aitken himself wrote in his letter of December 1915:
“They are people who’ve turned to God from idols, and many have progressed little further. Still, during this last year, we have been encouraged by the discovery of definite spiritual growth by many of the inquirers, both young men and women who are striving to ‘be holy unto the Lord.’”
Aitken complained of girls persecuted by their parents and unconverted neighbours because of refusal “to enter into temporary marriage relationships with men of their town”, a custom through which the parents, especially mothers, derived financial benefits. He also wrote of the victory of the gospel in abolishing twin killing and saving tabooed children. There were other victories. At Uzere, according to Aitken, many deaths had occurred from poisoning; but the situation was altered when the chiefs
“Sent all the professional poisoners to church that they might ‘learn to
love and not to poison other people’; and these men now attend
the services of their own accord and have given up their old profession.”
The 5,000 Igabo converts and inquirers…without any resident European
Movement towards Christianity which is in progress.
ill-timed transfer of Aitken from Igbide, whatever the reasons, meant a severe
setback on the Isoko work, especially since the persecution of the converts was
just then on the crest. In their plight, an Isoko delegate went to
this plight, those Isoko (from Isoko inland) who had been connected with Warri
continued to look up to St. Andrew’s for help. Thus, Cole’s itineration
embraced this area which included Iyede, Enhwen, Emevor, Owhe, Ozoro and Oleh.
In 1916 when the church at Acheowhe, a
Thus, while Isoko waterside (Igbide, Uzere, Araya, Ikpidiama etc.) were hard hit by Aitken’s transfer, Isoko inland was administered from Warri. But even in the former case, Proctor, based at Patani, proved to be of some assistance. As the C.M.S. Report puts it.
One of Mr. Proctor’s tours carried him to the Igabo country,
the station opened at Igbide in 1912 being without European
Proctor’s itineration of the area was inevitable because converts from Isoko waterside “literally swarmed” to Patani to attend a daily instruction class in preparation for baptism. Nearly two hundred of them were said to have learnt the “church catechism and a scripture catechism” translated by Proctor with the assistance of a young teacher. “4 very old women” were also baptised by Proctor in one of the towns he visited.
By 1918, Aitken was transferred back to Isoko, and through him the Isoko work was reinvigorated, especially as he was apprehensive of the Roman Catholics who were just then arriving in Isoko. The R.C.M. provided teachers in profusion. The C.M.S. thus stood to lose if they failed to redouble their efforts at providing education for their converts. The presence of the Roman Catholics should have led Aitken to change his policy of depriving prospective evangelists of book knowledge for fear that they might deflect to Government service. But it did not. Since no teachers had been initially prepared, their services were difficult to come by. Aitken was thus hoisted on his own petard, a fact attested to by the C.M.S. report which records: “The lack of teachers was sorely felt…around Igbide in the Igabo country… [where] there was ‘a real soul hunger’ among the people.
The lack of teachers notwithstanding, the work surged forward. “As many as 12,500 attended the services, nearly 300 were in the classes for inquirers and more than 2,300 in baptismal classes, and 328 had been baptised by the end of November 1918.
results are overwhelming, especially since for more than a year the District
was not only without a resident missionary, but also witnessed severe
persecution. The results might not have been so considerable but for the
assistance given to Aitken by “ten baptised lads who visited towns in the
district and passed on what they remembered of addresses which they had heard…” These
“lads” also assisted in the examination of candidates for baptism. An interview
with one of the men who did this revealed that a very large area of Isoko was
reached through this method. The teachers gathered in a town, where they were
taught by Aitken or Latham for a month and sent out the following month to
towns like Oleh, Aviara,
Through this system of itinerant evangelism, the Isoko country was far more effectively handled by the C.M.S., her converts better taught, even if only in the oral message and catechism, than was the case in the Urhobo section. This was made possible by the presence of white missionaries there, which was in turn consequent upon the creation of “Igabo District” in 1914. Apart from the earlier influence of Proctor and Reeks from Patani, Aitken had by 1920 other missionaries, like Gerrard and Latham, working with him in Isoko. Gerrand, who arrived in 1919, worked for about 18 years in Isoko country.
The C.M.S. 1920-1934
Up to 1920 the work of the C.M.S. in Urhobo had been based largely on Sapele and Warri. Enough has been said to make it clear that Warri and Sapele were not sufficiently equipped to cope with the need of the Urhobo churches. Eku, therefore, became an off-shoot of Sapele.
Another major problem was inadequacy of personnel. To meet this inadequacy, the Urhobo congregations affiliated to Warri sent two of their sons to St. Andrew’s Primary School, Warri, with the intention of sponsoring them to St. Andrew’s College, Oyo. This plan proved abortive since those sent deserted the Church. In 1923, there was a major breakthrough in search for personnel. The first Urhobo gained admission to Oyo. He was none other than Agori Iwe, later to become Bishop. Born at Okuama, about 1906, he attended the village school from where he went to St. Andrew’s, Warri, in 1920. He completed standard six there in 1922. At the end of 1923 he was selected to train as teacher/catechist in St. Andrew’s Oyo. He completed the course in December 1927. His return marked another milestone in the history of Christianity in Urhoboland in respect of evangelisation of the people, proper organisation of the churches, and translation of the scriptures.
Indeed long before Agori Iwe went to Oyo, preliminary translation work had been on in the era of Cole, as Tugwell’s letters indicate. One W.A. Tadaferua was at Idjerhe, urged by T. Emedo, the pioneer of Urhobo literature, to join Adult Education class. When he moved to Warri in 1920, he was appointed as an instructor in Urhobo Bible class, and got others interested in Urhobo literature. Together with others –Ikimi Waghoregho, S. Magi (an Ijo teacher at Ekiugbo), and to some extent, Oghenekaro, Tadaferua worked in a translation class that was later set up. St. Mark was translated by 1924. Agori Iwe’s return sped up the rate of translation.
preliminary translation work also drew inspiration from the neighbouring Yoruba
When Cole left Warri, Kidd, who had been appointed Superintendent of the Sapele-Warri Districts in 1918, visited Warri and outstations from Sapele. He had under him Revd. Ologududu at Sapele and Revd. Akande at Eku. But by mid 1924, Ologududu had to be discharged from his pastoral work at Sapele, because his interminable absences from his stations made his duties suffer. As a consequence of his dismissal, Warri, Sapele, and Eku with their adjoining outstations were left in the care of Kidd, assisted by only one clergy. Hence when Kidd was to go on leave, he expressed fear as to how all the Districts could be worked by Akande alone. But fortunately for the converts, in July 1924 Revd. J. Thompson was posted to Warri from Hausaland to be Acting Superintendent of the Districts in Kidd’s absence.
The one-and-a-half-year ministration of Thompson in the area was highly spoken of by the converts, though, not by enough attention to the financial aspect of his work. The converts, however, praised Thompson mainly because of his frequent visitations and his keen interest in music. Moreover, while Kidd was away, he was able to settle a disagreement at Eku in which Akande was opposed by people Thompson described as “malcontents”.
the absence of Kidd on furlough there was no other resident pastor at Sapele in
the second half of 1924, since Ologududu had been laid off. The
Ikomi, who joined the services of the C.M.S. some ten years before this time, was a product of St. Andrew’s College, Oyo. Despite his ten year service, he had received little or no increment. He had complained to the C.M.S. about this treatment on a number of occasions without eliciting any favourable response. In a letter to the Archdeacon at Oshogbo, Ikomi pointed out that he was still having to depend on his parents to subsidise his feeding; that he was anxious to get married but could scarcely do so in a situation in which he could not even feed himself. Apparently this letter did not produce any effect either. It was in this situation that Ikomi had an affair with a girl. For this reason he was charged with “immorality” and suspended from his post as Catechist.
It is quite clear from Ikomi’s case that the church was asking her servants to maintain high moral standards but subjecting them to temptation by her inability or unwillingness to provide these servants with the wherewithal to lead the ‘good’ life. Consequently a majority of her members who faltered were prisoners of circumstances. And their suspension adversely affected the numerical strength of the Church’s staff. So disturbed was the Church at Sapele by the lack of qualified staff that she wrote in anguish to Archdeacon Mackay stating her case for a pastor.
the face of acute shortage of staff at Sapele, Kidd had to make do with those
workers who showed signs of repentance. Thus, Smith who, after a year of
suspension, was preparing for holy wedlock, was reinstated in May 1926. But
without a resident pastor for Sapele the
Eku, the off shoot of Sapele, Akande’s ministration was profitable to him and
to the people until 1925, when he received some opposition from his members.
But the dispute was quickly settled by Thompson. A major crisis at Eku had to
do with the primary school in 1926. One Imoukhuede, from Ora, was posted to Eku
to head the primary school there. But according to Imoukhuede, Aganbi “the Sobo
untrained teacher who was helping,” was transferred to Sanubi, two and a half
miles away,. Aganbi was not only a son of the soil, but he also introduced
“Christianity and Civilisation” to his people. He therefore wielded great
influence. His transfer from
Here at Eku, as elsewhere, there was bitter rivalry amongst Christians, a result of each denomination struggling to have a foothold in the land. There were as many as five denominations at Eku, all contending to preach Christ and win adherents. While rivalry may be undesirable, it does sometimes produce good results. Here the Christian faith, as had happened before, was spreading through a process of division like some unicellular organisms which reproduce themselves by a similar biological process. Knowing what the Baptists have done in and for Eku and the Urhobo today, the theologian in retrospect may well recognise God’s presence in the confusion of the 1920’s.
The work at Eku dwindled by 1928.The inability of the C.M.S. to compete effectively with the Baptist at Eku as elsewhere can be accounted for by the perennial cry for funds and personnel. Added to this was a drift to Warri of the young educated for employment and trade, leaving the decrepit men and women who could not support the church financially. Akande had to leave Eku for Sapele in 1928, and was wholly responsible for Sapele after the departure of Kidd in 1931.
Warri, after the departure of Thompson in December 1925, continued without a resident Vicar till the end of 1926, when a new pastor J.C.C. Thomas, was secured for Warri from Sierra-Leone.
J. C. C. Thomas
Thomas arrived in October 1926 bustling with energy and brimful of hope. He left on November 1931 a broken and disillusioned person. His eventful tenure of office arose from his realistic approach to problems, and the resolution with which he tackled them. As a result, he suffered the fate of all reformers. All attempts to sew a new garment to the old, or pour new wine into old wine skins have always produced the prophesied rupture. Plato’s suggestion, consonant with Jesus’, was to have a clean beginning. But even such a step is not without its problems.
Early Period: His Ministry
When Thomas arrived at Warri, his first assignment was to arrange for that year’s harvest; he was as yet reaping the harvest of others’ labour. Shortly after the harvest, therefore, Thomas went into the field. His maiden tour of the outstations which commenced on November 22, lasted for eight days. So impressed was he that his heart jumped for joy.
I had a hearty welcome from the Sobos in every station and was very
favourably impressed with the keen zeal, the love and, above all, the
sincerity of these Sobo converts. There is undoubtedly a great future
for the church in Soboland.
Of Ebossa he says,
With the almost indispensable help of the energetic travelling
agent I conducted class meetings, services, and administered
the Holy Communion in all the important centres.
But this first impression stood in clear contradiction to what he was to say of them later.
Like his predecessors, Thomas felt the need for instructing the converts, destitute as they were of properly trained teachers. But unlike his predecessors, he did not only feel and express concern for the Urhobo, he attempted to translate his good intentions into action. Consequently he invited the Urhobo to a conference at Warri from December 15 to 17. This conference was attended by 78 persons. A wide range of subjects was discussed: “Registration, Finance, Visitation, Church Officers, Preparation of candidates for Baptism, and Confirmation, Need of qualified Teachers, Sunday Observance, Prayer, Evangelisation, Lectures, and periodical examinations”. It was agreed that the conference, rewarding as it was, be held twice a year, one about Easter, the other in November.
Of the situation in Warri itself, Thomas’ report was equally hopeful. The work of Fajemisin, the headmaster at St. Andrew’s School, was commended. Barimi, the second master, had just returned from Oyo to assist Fajemisin. The pastor therefore hoped that with Barimi there to assist, St. Andrew’s School, which they had long struggled to place on the assisted list, would now be worked to the position where the Government would accept it. To achieve this objective, the services of Fajemisin had to be retained; for “to allow him to go away means retrogression pure and simple.” But to the great displeasure of Thomas, Kidd had already informed the E.C. that Fajemisin, whose salary according to him had become too heavy for Warri, had to be transferred, even if that meant “retrogression pure and simple”.
the Warri Congregation, while Thomas praised their work, he expressed
dissatisfaction at their
If well begun was always half done, Thomas’ Ministry at Warri would have known better success. For after only two months there, he described the work as “interesting and encouraging” and religiously concluded his report with
While we are busy praying ourselves we earnestly solicit your
Prayers on our behalf that God may give us the adequate strength,
Grace and wisdom to meet up the need of the hour and that his
Work may be abundantly blessed in our hands.
His first report on his ministry at Warri and environs is interesting in its details and encouraging in its spirit, but to what extent it was “abundantly blessed in our hands” the years ahead were to reveal. His judgment was perhaps premature. But even after a year, he did not see the clouds that were gathering. His annual report for 1927, apart from a few regrets for the transfer of Fajemisin, had that same ring of encouragement and hope about it.
to him the
The conferences with the Urhobo converts were held as arranged in June and December “with attendance of 75 and 68 respectively”. Amongst the problems attended to “was the necessity of translating portions of the Scriptures and Special Services of the prayer book”. A translating committee was accordingly set up to begin work.
In December Thomas conducted examinations for six of the outstations school teachers who had been receiving two days monthly lectures. Two of them, David Egbebruke (who had worked with Aitken, and was at the time a teacher at Edjekota) and Johnson Emoefe, a teacher at Ovwo in Olomu, were successful. This was a mark of progress in the Urhobo congregations, since some of their sons were at last improving their minds through study and so were equipping themselves for the ministry. What was more, Agori Iwe had just returned from Oyo to the great pleasure of Thomas who prayed that Agori should help stimulate interest in the Urhobo youth to follow his suit.
Thomas’s prayer was apparently answered. For Ejaife and Ebossa’s son gained admission to Oyo at the end of 1927. Ejaife finished from Oyo in 1931 and taught at St. Andrew’s, Warri for a while. These early successes encouraged Thomas to look forward to a bright future “with an eye of faith.”
But after the return of Kidd from furlough in 1927, and his resumption of superintendence of the districts, Thomas’s importance diminished. Kidd had very little to say in commendation of Thomas. Evidently, he was not very satisfied with Thomas’s work; and indeed, by mid 1929, the latter had been reported to him by the Urhobo converts. In his report Kidd observed that Thomas was finding it difficult to visit the outstations since he could not ride a bicycle and had to be conveyed on a trailer. According to Kidd he visited the outstations only twice in the year. Thomas had evidently had his hey day. If indeed he visited the outstations only twice in the year, then he had developed cold feet. The storm was about to break. The outstation work was to pass through fire. But who was to bear the brunt of the failures of the work: R. Kidd, Thomas or Ebossa? From all indications, Thomas who had been more intimately involved in and concerned about the real welfare of the Urhobo was to be the victim. A majority of the people whom he had in 1926 lauded to the skies were in 1929 to be at enmity with him.
The Later Period
The later period of Thomas’s
ministry was characterised by conflict and bitterness with the Urhobo. Several
factors were responsible for the crisis. First, was the struggle for a mission
centre. Agori Iwe was sent to Otovwodo Ughelli, against the will of those
converts notably from Ekiugbo and Eruemukohwarien towns, and from Ughievwe and
Udu clans who preferred Ekiugbo, or better Eruemukohwarien. Secondly, it appeared
that Thomas further alienated the converts at Eruemukohwarien which had been
the de facto headquarters, by deposing Mukoro Kaghogho, the leader there, and
Igben Onajovwo, his second in command. According to their letters they were
deposed from office because they did not attend the bazaar on a fixed day after
they had obtained permission to palm nut collecting hitherto suspended but
which was to be resumed that very day. Umukoro
indicated in his letter that Thomas’s real intention was not only to depose
them, but to remove the headquarters from Eruemukohwarien. Oluku Adjarho of
Ekiugbo also wrote about his own grievances against Thomas. He said that
although he was trained under Cole, Thompson and Kidd, had associated with
Bishops Johnson, Tugwell, and Jones, and had been the acknowledge leader of
Ekiugbo, Agbarhaoto and other churches and was consequently recommended for Lay
Reader’s licence which he believed Bishop Jones had handed over to Thomas, the
latter would not give him his licence. He also complained of being debarred by
Thomas from Holy Communion without a just cause. The removal of “headquarters”
from Eruemukohwarien seemed, however, to have been the prime factor creating
disharmony between Thomas and many of the converts. The entire Eruemukohwarien
congregation wrote, decrying Thomas’s action which “actually baffled us . . . the
headquartership of our town has been removed by him to a town called Otobodo.”
They also referred to the fate of their deposed leaders, adding that when they
pleaded for forgiveness Thomas’s reply was “we can go to any church we like
What answered the name of the Sobo District Committee, C.M.S. Warri, also wrote against Thomas to the Bishop on this same issue, referring to the manner Umukoro, Kaghagho and Igben were deposed by one who had granted them permission and how some other communicants in the Urhobo interior were forbidden from Holy Communion because of their failure to attend committee meetings. The petitioners maintained that
These men (i.e. those in Urhobo Interior) were treated as ignorant
men hence such act was exercised over them which clearly tend to
further noted that Thomas himself had attended harvest service on Sunday at
bitter against the Travelling Agent and other Head Leaders of the
Churches in the interior Sobo deposing them from their respective
positions and propose to replace other new men. Declared enmity in
his actions towards the travelling Agent, A. Asedo, Umukoro Kaigho,
Lelegbel,e and Oluku.
Since he did not heed Kidd’s warning
We have decided not to have Revd. Thomas again as our minister. We now pray your worships help to instruct Revd . I. T. Akande of Sapele to be giving the Communicants the Lord’s Supper at intervals and his expenses to and fro will be paid by us.
They chose this alternative until another pastor would be sent to them, and they specifically asked for a European pastor who would serve under Kidd, if it was not possible to send Thompson back.
yet another letter, written this time to Thomas himself, the committee asked
for the receipts of the account of money to the tune of fifty-eight pounds
which they said they had sent to the bank and also for the account which Kidd
handed over to Thomas in respect of the Urhobo Churches. Finally, the Sobo
District Committee at Warri and the
To crown it all Ebossa wrote a scathing letter about Thomas to the Bishop, in which Thomas was accused of contravening Diocesan Regulations by baptising children not born in wedlock or whose parents were “heathen.” In this connection the accuser was obviously ignorant of the fact that it was the prerogative of a priest to administer baptism to anyone who asked for it, a request which should not be denied. Thomas was further accused not only of denying Ebossa and others the right to administer baptism to the sick on their deathbed, as had previously been the case, but also of refusal on Thomas’ part to bury the dead.
The foregoing might give the wrong impression that every one in Urhobo was against Thomas. Even if a majority of the old leaders were against him and had a large following, there were few who sided with him. They were those who preferred Otovwodo as a centre, and came from Otovwodo itself, Edjekota, Oviri Ogor, Agbarha (Agbasah), Uduere, Oteri, Iwreogbovwa, Afiesere, Ephrotor (Effuruntor), Iwremaro, and Odovie. Their preference for Otovwodo was partly motivated by its proximity to them as was also the case with those who preferred Eruemukohwoarie.
latter group recounted the good works of Thomas, which “is beyond description”
while describing the former petitioners as “back consulters” who when Cole went
on furlough, and desired to return, wrote “that they did not want any black
pastor, but white…and put before you as aforesaid.” Ikimi Waghoregho wrote on
This flood of letters directed to the Bishop through Thomas was forwarded to him by the latter with a covering note serenely penned:
forward you herewith under registered cover, letters from the Sobo District
Committee and would ask you not to be alarmed in the least, After reading them
through. I think you have heard and know much more the Sobos and their
characteristics as a people than I who have only had a few days with them…with
your kind permission I am taking him (Ebossa) with me to
the three persons appeared before Bishop Jones in
when Ebossa returned from
Knowledge is nothing in the Religion of Christ. Pastors and Catechists
may not enter the Kingdom. Those who do not take heed of this spirit
are infidels and shall have no part of the Kingdom.
This was Agori Iwe’s interpretation of the Ishoshi Erhi movement.
Phillip’s Commission of Inquiry
There was veritable schism in the church and like all such spirit movements, those affected overtly asserted their righteousness and adopted a “holier than thou” attitude. When Bishop Jones learnt of the confusion he despatched Canon S.C. Phillips from Ondo to Warri to investigate the case and forward his recommendations to him. Philips made a meticulous investigation in which he was able to convince many of the movement of its incongruity with the spirit of God, especially since it was characterised by orgiastic displays. Some of those “spirit filled” even committed offences for which some of them were imprisoned. Agori Iwe in tending his evidence showed that Egbo and Eruemukohwarien were hot beds of the movement; that at the latter place one of the “spirit-filled” bit a “heathen woman” for which the assailant was fined ten pounds in court, while two others who assailed a traditional priest were each jailed for six months.
While the investigation was on, a woman possessed by the spirit was actually raving in the parsonage. Were there no other evidence, this should have been adequate demonstration of the unscripturalness of the spirit movement. What was more, Masima Ebossa apparently denied none of the charges made by Agori Iwe. The spirit of God is indeed not of confusion, God being a lover of peace and of concord.
But we need to be particularly cautious before we condemn the movement. For the margin between the man excessively imbued with the spirit of God and one wholly demon possessed can be extremely slender. The evil spirit which tormented Saul when he fell out of favour with God was from Yahweh. (1 Sam. 16:14) And when Jesus went about proclaiming the arrival of the kingdom, a good many considered him mentally deranged. (Mark 3:21) And significantly it was the evil spirits who first recognised and proclaimed him the son of God most high. (Mark 1:24) The case of the divination damsel at Philippi during Paul’s ministration there would also be in point here (Acts 16:16ff) And did Paul not say that none could call Jesus Lord except by the Spirit of God; and that only the Spirit of God can understand, even search, the depths of God? (1 Cor. 2:10ff; 12:3)
What was happening in the Urhobo churches in 1929 had a close resemblance to the gifts of the spirit in the Corinthian church founded by Paul. What is enigmatic and uncomfortable in such situations is the tendency to schism, although as has been indicated, divisions may not always be evil -- more so since the evilness of evil as a result of the purpose to which evil can be put by God is in itself enigmatic.
What was happening in Urhoboland then was indubitably due to lack of proper instruction, proper organisation, and proper direction of the young churches. And if anyone should bear the blame, it is not only Ebossa, and certainly not Thomas, but the entire C. M. S. This is because, as has been pointed out, the C.M.S. had not been enthusiastic in their support and supervision of the Urhobo churches. In such situations where “the little children” were led astray or not led at all, the manifestation of the spirit in the particular mode it happened, was apt to cause confusion and division, as it had done in the past, invariably involving egocentricity on the part of those affected, and a derision by them equally suppress and stifle it.
Phillips made a four-point recommendation: the reorganisation of the work at
Warri; the need for properly trained agents; the position of Ebossa; and that
of Thomas. First, Warri, then comprising 67 churches according to Phillips,
needed to be organised as a separate district, directly under and responsible
to the Lagos Diocese. Secondly, properly trained and well instructed agents of
a higher calibre than the Ebossa group, who could impart the requisite
Christian instructions, were urgently needed for the Urhobo churches. Thirdly
Phillips recommended that Ebossa, evidently resentful both of Thomas’s methods
of administration and of the New Catechist, Agori, be posted immediately to
another area, the Kwale or Isoko section. For, according to Phillips, Ebossa
was unwilling to take the subordinate position meant for a scripture reader of
his grade. Phillips
noted that this unwillingness was chiefly responsible for Ebossa’s vain attempt
to start a new religious movement. Phillips fourth recommendation was that
Thomas be given a free hand in the administration of Warri district, instead of
making him a kind of sub-superintendent under Revd. Kidd. He urged that Thomas
be made chairman of Warri District, responsible only and directly to the Synod
in order that his interest in the work at Warri may be stimulated and sustained
and his tenure prolonged. Otherwise, he might wish to return to
The case, squarely decided in favour of Thomas and those with him, was a clear victory for the institutionalised Church which provided the judge. That Masima Ebossa felt insecure at the return of the new catechist no one would doubt. But that he should have expected a favourable verdict from the hierarchy he stood to oppose showed how ignorant he was of church politics. Moreover, it was palpable that Masima and his kind could more easily hoodwink white missionaries like Kidd, and even Bishop Jones than they could Africans like Thomas and Phillips.
After the return of Phillips, it took some exchange of letters between him and Bishop Jones to get the Bishop to accept all his recommendations about the Warri situation. Philips stressed the point to the Bishop that Thomas was not given a free hand by Kidd. He urged that Thomas be made a superintendent of his own district, and so become responsible directly to the Synod. It is true that Kidd had harped on Thomas’s inability to ride a bicycle. But Phillips emphasised that responsibility for working up the District should first be wholly given to him. For “without that, he will not wholly rise to the occasion because he will neither get the benefit of success in the work nor wish to take the responsibility of any failure”. If by becoming entirely responsible for the work Thomas found “that ability to ride a bicycle is a sine qua non to the carrying on the work” he would, argued Phillips, be compelled to do so. For, “no native who has any ability and self respect would ever do his best or continue to do his best when he feels he is in a position where the European Superintendent gets the credit of his hard work and success while he simply takes turn when some discreditable business comes along”. There was also exchange of letters between Thomas and the Bishop. First, the Bishop wrote to encourage him but took exception to Thomas’s uncharitable remarks about Kidd. Thomas therefore wrote back to apologise and withdraw them, but reiterated:
I have reason for using the remarks. Revd. Kidd told me we have no need to send boys to Oyo to be trained as Catechists etc. Only a few School Teachers are needed, and Mr. Masima and some of the leaders told me that Revd. Kidd had given them his promise that they will be responsible permanently for their work because the boys trained at Oyo are all corrupt, and by my special effort to send boys to Oyo I am upsetting his arrangements.
Kidd’s argument, according to Thomas, had been based on lack of money, but Thomas thought differently. The Urhobo Christians had money enough to support the work “if they are properly educated to it”. According to him, during the spirit movement £30 was spent in feasting—and this was money collected for church purposes.
is necessary to comment on Thomas’s and Phillip’s attitude in this matter
vis-à-vis the attitude of Kidd and Jones. The conflict of ideas between Ebossa
and Thomas, Kidd and Thomas, and on a higher level, Jones and Phillips,
reflects the general tendency of the period when white Missionaries felt that
Africans could not take full responsibility for running the Church in
On Kidd’s part it must be noted that the apparent zest with which Thomas earlier carried out his work might have piqued the former and made him feel rather insecure about his own tenure. This, and not the spurious reason of Thomas’s inability to ride a bicycle, will account for his lack of commendation of Thomas. This unfortunate lack of confidence in non-white missionaries affected West Indians also. For, as has been indicated, Thompson, a West Indian, who acted as superintendent in Kidd’s absence in 1925, was also not commended. Kidd’s uncomplimentary report on, and unsatisfactory treatment of, Thompson made the latter leave Warri and go back to Hausaland a disappointed man. Thomas suffered his fate to a much severer degree.
After the Spirit case had been decided by Phillips, supported by the Bishop, Thomas later visited the outstations to discover that although the Movement had subsided, secret meetings organised by Masima were nevertheless still going on. The churches particularly affected, and which continued to be stubborn were Egborode (Egbo I), Masima’s own station where the movement started, and churches in Ughievwe District, where Masima’s influence was particularly strong. When Thomas visited some of these stations and persuaded the members “to give p this false movement” the members stuck to their guns, on the ground that “they have been praying for this spirit”. Because of this stubbornness or firmness on the part of those who claimed they were under the spirit’s influence, Thomas held a conference at Okpari with the loyal Church Leaders and decided to replace “all those who are still stubborn over this deceptive Spirit Movement” with new teachers who have passed Government standard six. They would be regularly lectured and properly trained by Thomas. In return he believed work of the translation class would be sped up by these new teachers and the Catechist, all of whom were Urhobo.
The significance of Thomas for Future Work
After the crisis of 1929, Thomas served for two more uneventful years before he returned to Sierra-Leone, a broken man. But the significance of his ministry at Warri and amongst the Urhobo has not been fully appreciated. Many Urhobo, particularly those in the Erhi Movement, do not speak well of him even today. He is accused of partiality, and of being money minded. Some even accused him of making away with St. Andrew’s building funds. All these accusations may not have been groundless. But they should not blind us to the significance of his work, which is fourfold: Conferences, Organisation and Evangelisation, Training, and Translation.
It will be recalled that from the reports of the work at Warri he was the first to summon delegates from the hinterland churches to Warri for conferences which were aimed at discussing the problems of the young churches -- the problems of organisation, of Evangelisation, of Translation and Training of personnel. The conferences infused life into the churches, and should have been continued by future leaders.
It was his organisational foresight which led him to choose Otovwodo of Ughelli as the headquarters for the C.M.S. in the hinterland. This choice, happily supported by Evwaire, was a mark of clear foresight on Thomas’s part. Otovwodo was the seat of the Ovie of Ughelli, and is a stone’s throw to Iwhreko, which later became Government headquarters. The Roman Catholics later on also moved to Otovwodo and built a central school there, as did the local Council, (formerly called Native Authority).
Thomas’s concern for proper organisation also made him deprecate the blissful ignorance in which the Urhobo converts groped. He did not wish to see them continue perpetually in that state -- a state which did not seem to concern Kidd much. Thomas attempted to translate his concern into action through the regular lectures he gave to the school teachers and through his special efforts to get Urhobo youth sent to Oyo.
It was to get youth qualified for Oyo that he gave regular lectures to the primary school teachers. This system of having teachers prepared for higher studies was continued later in C.M.S. schools. Qualified personnel would enhance the work of evangelisation and of translation of the Scriptures.
The fourth significance of Thomas’s work was his keen interest in translation. After removing the old leaders who refused to recant the Spirit Movement, he replaced them with graduates from the Government Schools. This, as we have shown, took place at Okpari. He encouraged and supervised their translation of the Scriptures. It was under this patronage that Agori Iwe translated the Fourth Gospel in 1929.
Reflections on C.M.S. Work in Urhobo and Isoko
If Thomas’ alleged faults were many, so were his good qualities. His evil should therefore not have been allowed to live after him, to the exclusion of his good. The judgment of Ikimi, was that Thomas threw out “the light into our darkness”. This light may have been beclouded, but it will not be extinguished.
the crisis of 1929 two salient conclusions may be drawn. First, the Urhobo
congregations had from the beginning been sadly neglected. This may be due to
the fact that the C.M.S. in taking these congregations over from the Niger
Delta Pastorate did so very reluctantly. Secondly, a majority of the converts
themselves, for reasons best known to them, preferred white missionaries, who
were in fact reluctant to come to them. Consequently the few of their own men
who were trained were looked at with distrust as those who had come to oust
them. This conclusion is legitimate, although Masima never gave this (and could
not have) as a reason for his action either before Jones in
Had all those who were in the movement retraced their steps after Phillips’s investigation and recommendations, as a majority did, the schism would have been averted or bridged. But a few of the members -- Ije ( a woman of Edjekota), Oriunu, a man from Edjekotoa, Edjederia a man of Okpavuerhe, Onoyovwere of Eruemukohwarien, and Ogegede of Ovwo -- stuck to their guns; they broke away completely to found Ishoshi Erhi. Similarly, and perhaps understandably, Okpe Churches (Masima’s own area) did not return with the rest of the Urhobo Churches which Agori Iwe under the supervision of Thomas reorganised. The churches in Okpe clan were consequently adversely affected, a set-back from which they have never really recovered.
the meeting at Okpari, various regular schools, as contrasted with the former
irregular (“bush”) ones, were started by Agori Iwe. This process received
impetus from Isoko where between 1929 and 1931 James Welch embarked on an
elaborate educational project and founded many schools including I.C.S. (
This was from 1918 onwards when Aitken was sent back to them. Although Aitken did not completely change his attitude to education in the face of the presence of the Roman Catholics, he embarked on monthly instruction of teachers who went out to disseminate his teachings. Some of these teachers graduated from the school at Patani under Proctor. This continued till 1923, when the practice was dropped.
Aitken and M. C. Latham, assisted by one Eloho, worked indefatigably in organising and evangelising the Isoko, whose interests he represented at the Niger Dioceses Executive Committee. Under the supervision of Aitken, Eloho translated the Four Gospels and later also Acts into Isoko as well as composing an Isoko Prayer Book. St. Mark which was the first to be translated was published in 1920. And the Four Gospels together were published in Isoko in 1922.
local congregations themselves were headed by men devoted to service, and were
fortunate to have missionaries and Ibo pastors
The buoyancy of Isoko C.M.S. at this period is attested to by the C.M.S. Reports:
The class fees for Christian instruction are paid twice a year sometimes as much as £60 a week is taken. About 20 C.M.S. rest houses in the district facilitate travelling. Some of the district churches are attended by over 1,000 people daily, and there are 200 or 300 at school in the afternoon. At night they sit in their compounds and repeat the catechism to one another.
During his visit to Isoko, Smith was so stunned by the rate of converts to Christianity there that he wrote:
Nothing that I can say will give adequate idea of what is going on among the people who have come out of idolatry in thousands to serve the living and true God. The women in many congregations outnumber the men, and to meet with congregations of from 500 to 1,000 every morning and evening, consisting of the majority of the population, was an experience never to be forgotten.
M. C. Latham, the Missionary Priest working with Aitken in Isoko, reports that during his visits to each town, he was equally beset by 200 or more people waiting to be examined for baptism. Where he could not complete examining all of them within a scheduled time in any one particular place, some of the people followed him from town to town for two or three weeks -- all wanting to be baptised.
Aitken himself had to marry 63 couples after baptising 80 adults in the same day. All this was apart from 500 or 600 persons outside his lodging, waiting to be examined for baptism. The overwhelming numerical strength of the Isoko converts is further indicated by the sales of the Gospel of Mark. In 1921 alone, 5,000 copies of this Gospel newly translated and published, were sold.
The hold which Christianity had on the Isoko at this stage was also evident from Latham’s observation at Aviara. During his visit there on a Sunday which happened also to be the market day, Aviara Market, normally attended by from 1,500 to 2,000 people, was attended by only 50.
The marvellous conversion to Christianity in Isoko was not at first properly channelled in the right direction. Aitken, as we have reiterated, initially denied the Isoko book knowledge for fear that they might deflect to Government services. According to the C.M.S. Report, about twenty men were being trained as evangelists, but they were still being trained only in things necessary for evangelists to know; “that is to say, they are not taught writing since that would give them the opportunity of obtaining secular work”. It was not until the advent of Welch in 1929 that this attitude was revised.
In Isoko, Welch was the chief missionary pioneer of education. What schools there were irregular until his arrival, the only exception being that at Uzere. One Ifode, (later Revd. Ifode), was the head teacher at Uzere until 1925 when he entered Awka in 1926 to train as a Catechist and was succeeded at Uzere by Apena, who was also to enter Awaka in 1920, with Ockya. When the three of them returned from Awka, they assisted the reinforcement of white missionaries dispatched to the Isoko country in the early 30’s.
1930/31 there were no less than three white missionaries (one with his wife) at
Oleh: O. N. Gerrard (and wife) J.W. Hubbard and James W. Welch. At the same
In 1931, Kidd retired from Sapele District. Before his departure, the Urhobo congregations presented a petition to the Yoruba Mission through him, asking to be included with the Niger Diocese so that they could be administered with their Isoko brethren, who as had been indicated, had at the time no less than five white missionaries and Ibo pastors serving them.
urged that the request be granted, and admitted that it was an experiment
joining the Urhobo to the Yoruba, and since for the past twelve years, no
effective missionary work was done in their midst, the experiment failed. Provided
the Niger Mission agreed to receive them, the Yoruba Mission would gladly hand
them over. After all, Jones had complained that
As from 1932, therefore, Urhobo interior was administered with Isoko, James Welch came to reside at Ughelli in 1932. Warri and neighborhood, where Thomas was succeeded by Sabine in 1932, continued the dying link, until 1934, when it was separated from Yoruba. But Sapele District, where Akande took over from Kidd, never did.
The period 1914-34 for the Niger Delta Pastorate and C.M.S. in Urhobo was a period of struggling, of disappointed hopes, and of groping in “blissful ignorance”. As has been reiterated, Isoko, which the Niger Diocese through the instrumentality of Aitken took over, enjoyed effective supervision and evangelisation; whilst the Urhobo did not. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that Anglican Christianity is even today more firmly rooted in Isoko than in Urhobo.
The remarkable thing about the whole situation, however, is that despite the conflicts for instance between Ebossa and his retinue on the one hand, and J. C. C. Thomas with is supporters on the other, there was no return to the traditional religion. If there were breakaways from the C.M.S., they were no lapses into Urhobo Religion. It was only another brand of Christianity, and indeed one which claimed to be more Christian than institutionalised Christianity, one which claimed that it was going back to pristine Christianity, that emerged.
But because of the neglect of Bishop Johnson’s converts, when other denominations came they made successful inroads into Urhobo giving rise to splinter groups or secessions from the C.M.S. in Urhoboland, a pattern that could not be achieved with as much success in Isoko.
One of the consequences of the C.M.S. neglect of the work in Urhobo was the emergence of myriads of denominations. First were the Roman Catholics, through a resuscitation of the moribund Roman Catholicism at Warri. Warri became a springboard from where R.C.M. Fathers and workers plunged into Urhoboland. A common effective weapon was the campaign that the Roman Catholic was the only truly Catholic Church. The ignorant converts of Bishop Johnson’s agents who did not know what “Catholic” meant were often convinced that by repeating “The Holy Catholic Church” in the Apostles’ Creed without belonging to the Roman Catholic Church, they were contradicting themselves.
Second were the Baptists. At
first they evinced a capacity to tolerate much of Urhobo culture, like the
apparent condoning, if not obvert “baptising” of Esemo worship, and acceptance
of polygamy. Both these practices, as has been indicated, could not easily be
repudiated. Their acceptance or toleration therefore made the
later rise of three splinter groups, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the God’s
Kingdom Society, and later still, some Pentecostalists, was consequent upon a
one-sided emphasis and interpretation of scriptures. But they did not take as
many members from the C.M.S. as did the Roman Catholic Mission, the Baptists
 It should be noted that the C.M.S. did not actually take over the work until after 1917.
Obaro Ikime, “The Coming of the C.M.S.,” loc. cit., p. 213. See also C.M.S.
 St. Andrew’s P.C.C., Minutes 31, December, 1917.
 See C.M.S. Report 1914-15, p.46.
 For more details about the NDP and its relation to the Diocese of West Equatorial Africa, see (I) D.C. Crowther, Delta Pastorate Church (printed by C.M.S. Bookshop, Lagos; 1916) pp.2-5; (ii) E.M.T. Epelle, The Church in the Niger Delta (C.M.S. Niger Press, 1955) pp. 33-62.
 Rev. C.
F. Cole of Benthe, Sherbro, was sent to Warri from the
was a Saro who lived at Warri and worked under the P.W.D. at the turn of the
nineteenth century, and early in the twentieth. Like many in his days, Solade
Solomon was a mason, but he played a leading role in the church at Warri, and
was throughout a very active member of the P.C.C. for Warri. After the death of
Bishop Johnson he led the Warri delegation to
 See C,M.S. (Y) 2/2.14: Ughele District C.M.S. Warri to Bishop Jones, 12 May 1929. Some of the Urhobo, we are told in this letter, did not desire the return of Cole.
 During his itineration Cole was conveyed from town to town in a hammock by the Urhobo converts.
 Cf. The Serampore Mission Resolution.
 Interview with Okitlpi, 16 April 1971. The letter is said to have concluded with the words: “We are not divided, Onward Christian Soldiers”.
 St. Andrew’s P.C.C. 17 August 1917.
Y 1/1; Manley to F.M. Jones re
 C.M.S. (Y) I/I: Manley to Smith, 19 September, 1919.
 The Urhobo area was treated as a no-man’s land. Consequently C.M.S. work was much more firmly rooted in Isoko than in Urhobo whose fate swung pendulum-like from the Niger Delta Pastorate to Yoruba Mission, and then to the Niger Mission.
 InteviewithAdeda,17 December 1969.
 Although there was no actual bloodshed, yet the privations and hardships the converts suffered could have discouraged many. But they did not.
 C.M.S. Report, 1915 – 1916, p. 41f
 C.M.S. Report, 1915 – 1916, p. 41-42.
 C.M.S. Report, 1915 – 1916, p. 41-42.
 This means that 54 people joined the church that Sunday.
 C.M.S. Report 1915-1016, pp.41-42.
 St. Andrew’s P.C.C. 24 March 1916, and 5 April 1916.
 St. Andrew’s P.C.C. 21 January 1918.
 C.M.S Report: 1917-1918, p. 28.
 See C.M.S Report: 1917-1918, p. 28
 C.M.S Report: 1918-1919, p. 33.
 C.M.S Report: 1918-1919, p. 33.
 Interview with D. Egbebruke, an Ex-Catechist, c.70, 12 December 1969, at Ughelli, Egbeburke, and Urhobo, was taken as a boy to Patani by his parents, where he later attended school and was taught by Proctor and Reeks.
 Thomas Emedo translated the first Urhobo Primer, c. 1920
Interview with Bishop S. C. Phillips, aged 90, on 20 March 1971, at
 Ofodidun’s translation was predominately in Okpe dialect and so was difficult to use all over Urhobo.
 At the
time of his appointment, he was reluctant to move his family from
 In his time St. Andrew’s Choir was highly organised and became increasingly competitive to join.
 In his time St. Andrew’s Choir was highly organised and became increasingly competitive to join.
 C.M.S., Y 2/2.14: Sapele Report, June 1925, by Kidd.
were as many as five denominations each with a Primary school, at Eku by 1926.
See C.M.S. Y 2/2 14: Imoukhuede to the Secretary, Yoruba
 See Philippians 1:15-18.
 At about the same time that C.M.S. work at Eku declined, that of the R.C.M. also dwindled. Father Kelly left Eku for Sapele in 1925 according to Umurie, in 1927 according to Biakolo.
 See The
 C.M.S. Y2/2/15: Thomas’ short Report on work at Warri, January 1927.
 Kidd often referred to the need for trained personnel, especially a pastor for the outstations in his reports. But he took no positive step to improve the situation by recommending people for training at Oyo.
 C.M.S. Y2/2:14 Thomas Report, January 1927.
 Thomas Report: January 1927.
 See C.M.S. (Y)
 District Annual Report 1927 by J.C.C. Thomas.
 C.M.S. (Y) 2/2. Kidd’s Report on Sapele and Warri Districts. January-June 1929.
 See C.M.S. (Y) 2/2.14: Igben to Bishop F.M. Jones 23 April 1929, and also Mukoro Kaghogho to Bishop F.M. Jones 26 April 1929.
 Ibid. Sobo District Committee C.M.S. Warri to Bishop F. M. Jones26 April 1929.
 It is noteworthy that the new Catechist was not in this “Sobo District Committee”
 C.M.S. (Y) 2/2.14: Sobo District Committee C.M.S. Warri to Bishop Jones 27 April 1929.
 C.M.S. (Y) 2/2.14, op.cit.,26 April 1929.
 C.M.S. (Y) 2/2.14: Thomas to F. M. Jones 6 May 1929.
 C.M.S. (Y) 2/2.14:Agori Iwe (Catechist) to Revd. J.C. C. Thomas 16 August 1929.
 What is remarkable, to my mind, is that none of the affected members who later recanted, and whom I interviewed between 1969 and 1971, denied the genuineness of the spirit. Some of them believed that it was not properly directed by the church’s hierarchy.
 Ebossa’s unwillingness to submit to Agori Iwe may also have to do with the typical African concept of seniority which had strictly to be determined by age.
 Had he and his henchmen secured a European Missionary as Judge of the case they might have fared better.
 C.M.S. (Y) 2/2 14: Canon S. C. Phillips to Bishop F..M. Jones, 30 October 1929.
 C.M.S. (Y) 2/2.14” Thomas to Jones, 19 December 1929.
 The Government headquarters were moved from Ase to Ughelli in 1932.
 Interview with Bishop Agori Iwe, c.64, Bishop of Benin Diocese, 16 April 1971
 Interview with Efeturi, one of the earliest priests in Isoko, aged c.60, at Warri,25 August 1970; and with Ven. Apena, at Oleh.
Asiku arrived at Ozoro in 1924. The
 Interview with Aenas.
 C.M.S. Report: 1920-21, p.9.
 Smith’s words quoted in the C.M.S. Report of 1921-22.
 See C.M.S. Report: 1921-22
 See C.M.S. Report: 1921-22
 See C.M.S. Report: 1921-22.
 The Adam’s movement, popularly known as Usi Woma (Iyere Esiri) “Good news”, is now a very powerful and virile section of the Anglican Diocese of Benin, Adam himself holding the Bishop’s licence as a Diocesan lay Reader.
brand of Christianity now flowers in Pentecostalism -- the Aladura or
 See E..
A. Ayandele, Missionary Impact on Modern
 Ibid. pp.122ff.
 See Sunday Times, Sept. 26, 1971 p.10