By Hon Femi Kehinde
Anglicanism is a church rooted in protest. It was founded in 1534 by king Henry VIII’s Act of supremacy, which pronounced the church of England independent of the Catholic Church in Rome.
The first phase of the Anglican Reformation (1531-1547) began over a personal dispute when King Henry VIII of England was denied Papal support for the annulling of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.
Today, the Anglican Church consists of more than 86 million members worldwide in over 165 countries. Collectively, these national churches are known as the Anglican Communion, meaning all are in communion with and recognize the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury. In the United States, the American church of the Anglican Communion is called the Protestant Episcopal Church, or simply the Episcopal Church. In most of the rest of the world, it is called Anglican.
Samuel Ajayi Crowther (1809 – 31st December 1891) was a clergyman, and the first African Anglican Bishop of West Africa, he also translated the English bible to Yoruba Language in 1843. He was also, a pathfinder that brought in the Anglican church and place it on a firm ground in Nigeria. He was born with the name Ajayi in Osogun, near Oyo in present day Oyo state, Nigeria. On a certain morning, his native town of Osogun was surprised and overwhelmed by slave captors. Crowther and his compatriots fled but “were seized by the enemies with a noose of rope thrown over the neck of every individual to be led in the manner of goats tied together.” In Crowther’s gripping narration, “a family was violently divided between three or four enemies who each led his preys away to see one another no more.”
On that tragic morning, the last view Crowther had of his “unhappy, comfortless father” was when he came to give his family the signal to flee.
Samuel Ajayi Crowther, the slave boy who became the first African bishop of the Anglican Church, was guided by the hand of God which turned the tragedy of violent enslavement into immeasurable blessing. In those harsh days of mindless savagery, men were displayed as merchandise in slave markets, tied and manacled, and exported to distant lands.
Crowther was an embodiment of a true Christian, a servant of God and His gospel, for even as bishop, he was constantly marked out for detraction; but he took it all in his stride.
In 1864, Crowther was ordained as the first African bishop of the Anglican Church; he was consecrated a Bishop on St. Peter’s Day in 1864, by Charles Longley, Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral, England. By 1857 the CMS was fully engaged in Nigeria and a diocese in 1864 with the consecration of Samuel Ajayi Crowther as the first diocesan Bishop.
Anglican faithful resident in North America took the Anglican faiths and models of practice and worship to America with the usual Nigeria rumbles and tumbles. The Church of Nigeria Anglican communion, is the second-largest province in the Anglican Communion worldwide, as measured by baptized memberships, after the Church of England. As of 2016, its membership has “over 18 million”, out of a total Nigerian population of almost 200 million.
Since 2002, the Church of Nigeria has been organized into 14 Ecclesiastical Provinces. It has rapidly increased the number of its dioceses and bishops from 91 in 2002 to 161 as at January 2013; and has certainly increased exponentially from that number. The administrative headquarters is located in Abuja, Capital of Nigeria. Archbishop Henry Ndukuba became its Primate in 2020 succeeding Archbishop Nicholas Okoh.
However, the acquit rumbles and tumbles in Anglican church in America has brought in despair, disdain, anguish and bewilderment to the entire members of a fully incorporated diocese – Anglican Diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT) in North America.
Anglican diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT) that had existed for well over 10 years was dissolved by fiat and reduced to the status of a Mission by His Grace, Archbishop Henry C. Ndukuba, Archbishop, Metropolitan and primate of the church of Nigeria. The announcement of the dissolution of the Anglican Diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT) by fiat at the Church of Nigeria (CON) general Synod held in Nnewi in September 2023 after eleven years of the ADOTT diocese existence cut the entire members of Anglican Diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT) in America completely off guard and flustered.
According to the elders, Laity, Diocesan members of Anglican Diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT) in their letter of protest dated 23rd October 2023 said, “As a diocese that was duly incorporated in America, we should have been consulted by the Primate before the General Synod, even if that decision was to be taken to the general house. The General Synod of the Church of Nigeria and discussion of the issue should have been after our own deliberations, which was not what happened. Perhaps the most egregious and disturbing part of this saga was that just before the General Synod a few highly placed clerics here in North America, who were privy to this premeditated conversation, boasted openly that once the Nnewi meeting was concluded, there would be no ADOTT Diocese! True to it, the Primate announced the dissolution of ADOTT without due consultation with members of this Diocese, particularly the House of laity. These remarks before the meeting suggest that deliberation was not a part of the proceedings; a final decision had already been made unilaterally, and the announcement reflected a process that is unfair to rank and file of our membership. It is also noticeable that while the General Synod in its wisdom gave a period until February 2024 in their recommendation for this dissolution, the Primate, in a hurry, dissolved the Diocesan Board, which has paralyzed its functions, while people here in North America were still pondering what the proposed dissolution would mean for them, their faith community, and their families. It is indeed a sharp sword because the Primate waited for the commencement of the three-day women’s conference to make his announcement, a conference for which they had prepared for months but was brought to an abrupt end. This of course expectedly was followed by heart-felt sorrow of women and mothers at the conference who did not understand this shocking pronouncement, and chaos ensued.”
The elders of ADOTT further said, “As a result of the dissolution, the Primate now began to give orders from the secretariat in Abuja to individual Clergy and Rectors and instructed them to act without the consent of their Diocesan Bishop. It was very disturbing to see the wife of the bishop and convenor of the Women’s Conference was almost forbidden from entering the Cathedral because of the order from above. While we recognize that politics and faith have been inextricably linked in our society, this action is antithetical to the governance of the Anglican Church. It is an unprecedented move.”
According to the elders, “We were thriving as a Diocese and the joyous celebration of our tenth-year anniversary showed our strength and success. Our book titled Anglican Diocese of the Trinity: – Formation and Building of a Church of Nigeria Mission’ clearly illustrated our history and God’s benevolence and grace in the mission of the church.
“The last Primate, His Grace Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, who paid several visits to us, was very understanding and supportive of our status, presence, and our growth in North America so much that on his retirement, he was recognized at a big reception by all of us hosted in Harvard where he was accorded the respect and honor that are normally given to a Head of state.
“The question then is why this letter to the House of Bishops and the Nigerian Anglican faithful? First, there is no record in the history of the Anglican Church in Nigeria or any part of the world where a well instituted and thriving Diocese would be suddenly disbanded and reduced to mission stations. As if with a military fiat without recalls to all democratic norms and practices and global best practices. The motive of the white-controlled Anglican Church that has always sworn to see us kicked out of America except we come under their authority and control, is the key to this crisis. As American/Canadian citizens, this runs contrary to the law of the land that fully guarantees freedom of worship to all. Second, by our faith, we believe in the word of God that says that God himself will not allow his community to meet in error. Therefore, we know that our diocese was not created in error, as we know that God does not make mistakes. On the contrary, we believe as true Anglicans that our Diocese was created in response to genuine cry for justice and freedom.
On May 31, 2020, Prof. Jacob Olupona penned a letter to His Grace outlining the serious concerns our community has had with Archbishop Foley Beach, the prejudicial way he has treated and spoken about our community, and how he and ACNA (Anglican Church of North America) have no right under US law to influence how our internal church affairs are run. The letter further stressed the importance of our status as a diocese, so it is important that all should know we have been deeply involved in this issue for many years and have attempted as much as possible to be active participants in the process.
Since we have made it clear that our status as a diocese particularly independent of the ACNA (Anglican Church of North America) is of the utmost importance to us and that we have well-organized thoughts and experience on the matter, we are hurt and troubled by the fact that we were never consulted about this decision.
To our surprise, our clergy have been ordered to provide a statement of their Assets; assets which through our commitment, hard work and faithfulness, we contributed to the coffers of the Church without receiving or asking for any financial support from the Church of Nigeria. We give glory to God for the passion of the Late Rt. Revd. Dr. Peter Adebiyi of blessed memory, pioneer Diocesan of Lagos West (DLW), regarded as a renegade, who was determined to see the survival of our mission. Through him, DLW rendered considerable help to the pioneering Diocesan Bishop of ADOTT in the early years and partly to All Saints Anglican Church, Hyattsville during their building project in 2010.
The elders of ADOTT further noted that “It is worth mentioning that the appointment of Bishop Felix Orji as Supervising Bishop of ADOTT was a deep trauma to the diocese. This caused unimaginable divide among the suffragan bishops and clergy! We are not aware of any other diocese where a diocese is left so shattered before the election of another diocesan, in the history of our Church. Of course, the Primate’s relationship with Bishop Orji was very tight until recently when things fell apart. Bishop Orji left the Church of Nigeria completely and joined ACNA (Anglican Church of North America), where he had always wanted to drag the rest of us to.
On July 24, 2021, the Primate came to Indianapolis, which is the headquarters here, to address the Church and he made a promise and said publicly that no diocese would be dissolved. He also said publicly and stated in clear terms that our diocese would not be joined with another diocese. What has now transpired runs contrary to his promise.”
The elders of ADOTT, further bewildered by the primate action said, “As we try to call the attention of a few Anglican Church leaders in Nigeria to this crisis, one thing that was clear from our conversations was that the Primate has not listened to anyone, but we hope he listens to God’s still, small voice and counsel to allow us to continue the good work He has begun in us.”
We are hoping that the House of Bishops and those who matter in the Anglican Church will put a stop to these happenings to prevent further escalation. We, as elders in the Anglican Church, are men and women of peace who believes in the integrity and freedom to practice in our sacred faith tradition. No number of abusive notes we have been receiving from the agents of the Church of Nigeria in North America, will dissuade us from the path of truth and justice, as outlined by our faith. We also believe it is important for us to consider the issue of precedence. If the Church of Nigeria were to bow to external pressure regarding how our ecclesiastical structure is established, it does not hold well for our global missions and operations. We do not believe the House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria would want to send the message that parishioners and congregants may, at any time, be subjected to ecclesiastical authority that they do not appreciate or of which they do not approve, although this is certainly the message that we have received.
We are troubled by the precedent set of a complete lack of consideration or dialogue of any kind before sweeping measures with massive implications for the clergy and laity alike are taken. If we are not careful, such precedent may undermine our ability to function as an effective mission and draw people away from our churches. Instead, we humbly request, that a precedent be set of clear, respectful, and honest communication in which the perspectives, experiences, and concerns of all in our diocese are taken seriously to inform a decision taken in everyone’s best interest, as we have previously come to expect from a venerable institution such as the Church of Nigeria.
This letter was signed on behalf of the Anglican Diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT) North America by some of His elders – Sir Festus Obafemi – Ajayi, Dame Dorcas Imasuen, Prof. J.K. Olupona, Folashade Awoola and David Oladele.
It is apparent that the bedrock of this crisis is rooted in financial evangelism and the church of Nigeria having not been financially responsible to the operation of Anglican diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT) North America, should allow ADOTT to stand, flourish and nourish in preaching the gospel of Christ through Anglicanism and continue to play a supportive role for its mother church – The Anglican church of Nigeria without fear of undue pressure, unjustifiable crisis and intimidation.
In fondest memories of the valiant and gallant effort of Anglican Bishops, Clergymen and Pathfinders of Anglicanism in Nigeria – Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther and the 4 subsequent Bishops after him; Bishop James Johnson, Bishop Phillips, Bishop Oluwole, Bishop Tugwell (who made peace with the Delta Pastorate and reconciled them with the CMS in 1898), Archdeacon Dandeson Crowther (son of Samuel Ajayi Crowther), Rev. David Hinderer, Rev. James Johnson, Rev. Henry Townsend, Rev. Thomas Davey, Rev. T. B. Macaulay, Archbishop Vining, Archbishop Akinola, Archdeacon H. Johnson, Bishop Alexander Babatunde Akinyele, Rev. J. J. Ransome Kuti, Bishop Timothy Omotayo Olufosoye, Bishop Scot, Bishop Odutola, Archdeacon Emmanuel Alayande, Bishop Seth Runshewe Kale, Archbishop Abiodun Adetiloye, Archdeacon Micheal Olupona, Bishop Awosan, Rev J. M. S. Adejumo, Canon Ogunbanjo, Canon Olunloyo and so many others would applaud in their graves, if the general synod of the Anglican Communion coming up on the 24th of February 2024 would revisit its Nnewi decision of September 2023 synod by allowing the Anglican Diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT) North America to stand with its full diocesan status in the spirit of Christ, Anglicanism and Evangelism. The general synod will certainly lose nothing by so doing.
Hon. (Barr.) Femi Kehinde is a former member, House of Representatives (1999-2003), representing Ayedire/Iwo/Olaoluwa Federal Constituency of Osun State.
Glamour, Glitz, Gifts Galore As Healthgarde Celebrates 30 Years Anniversary, Produces New Star of Africa
By Eric Elezuo
It was a distinct show of excellence, glamour and reward for achievement as a crowd of multilevel marketers attached to leading healthcare group, Healthgarde International, gathered to celebrate 30 years of wellness, empowerment and creation of happiness.
It was more of a gathering of champions, headliners and Nigerians, who has distinguished themselves in their fields of endeavours, having made the choice of partnering with the leading brand, Healthgarde.
Healthgarde International is a global firm proudly founded and run by African women for Africa, under the leadership of Nneka Nwarueze.
The grand hall of Highpoint Event Centre in the heart of Agidingbi GRA in Ikeja, was a beehive of activities as early as 10am on D-day with members and their families and friends already seated and networking in earnest just as the event anchor, Hyenana Comedian, Kick-started proceedings with the invitation of the chief host and Chief Executive Officer, Healthgarde International, Mrs Nneka Nwarueze.
In her opening remarks, Nwarueze went down memorylane to trace the developmental strides of the brand since its days as Swissgarde to the present, noting that in 30 years of existence, lives have been affected and destinies either changed or reversed for the very best.
She acknowledged that just like many distinguished brands, the journey of 30 years has been ‘rough, tough and challenging’, noting that as organizers, they are not breaking even byt sustained by the that gesture to ensure that thousands of members are well taken care of, and not told stories.
“We have an active base of over 12,000 distributors in Nigeria and in Southern Africa, over 20,000 of them. My experience in this business is over 30 years since Swissgarde. Our business network and networth is spread across the United States, Nigeria, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Ghana, Uganda, Botswana, and is still growing.
“Today, we are happy to celebrate our top achievers whose dedicated efforts continue to give our high-quality health products increasing market share. We also introduced into the global market today our new offering – the Healthgarde Relax Tea, which everyone here today received as gift in their souvenir bags. It is rich in antioxidants and boosts the immune system,” Nwarueze said.
She further encouraged the networkers never to relent as the business has consistently paid off for them, and proved to be a mainstay in today’s Nigeria’s economy.
“Our gathering today is to unleash the reward system for those who have done so well in the year under review,” she added.
Among an array of winners from various categories on the day was the Mrs. Benita Okonkwo, who emerged as the Star of Africa, coasting to victory as the member that made the best overall impact in the year under review.
Benita Okonkwo led the array of over 20 winners in different categories. She emerged a double winner as Business Leader of the Year and Star of Africa as the Lagos convention of wellness and gathering of multilevel marketing giants held.
Okonkwo who was obviously, but pleasantly surprised at her double win, had trumped the sales earnings and figures of every other Healthgarde consultant (as the firm’s salespersons are titled) within and outside Nigeria. Her crowning as ‘Star of Africa’ was done with pomp and pageantry with a blast of fireworks and confetti.
Other major award categories included Entrepreneur, Depot, Rising Star, Social Media Star, Staff, Top Performers and Recruiters of the Year, not to mention the series of lucky draw winners that spliced and spiced up the convention.
Other major winners on the day include Charity Ikedife, who emerged as the Staff of the Year, Oluwaseyi Funmi Hannah as Social Media Star, Bolanle Aina as Rising Star of the Year and Fatima Yusuf as Entrepreneur of the Year.
In an moment of excitement, so many women testified of how their multilevel marketing of Healthgarde products had upped their fortunes and mental wellness. Among them were Juliana Idakpo, Baba Ijebu and another, who used to hawk fairly used cloths (okirika). They won the awards as uplines and carted away several prizes including microwave ovens, refrigerator, washing machine, gas cooker, and flask.
Also at the event as its live wire, South Africa-based Chief Operating Officer, Healthgarde International, Lovelyn Bassey, explained: “Our products have deepened the global market and we are proud of the thousands of women who, despite growing economic hardships, spousal job losses, etc have been empowered to boost the wellness of Nigerians as well as create wealth to support their homes.”
The event was not without the spices that give every gathering the leverage that makes top notch as Dancerapy, a motivational dance led the audience into a dance choreography that was magnificent to behold.
Also, a special adviser to the Miniter of the Interior, Tunji-Ojo, was also on hand to give the guests a charge that inspired them into rooting for Healthgarde as a brand.
Responding separately to Point-blank.ng, both Mrs Nwarueze and Bassey called on the Federal government to give attention to multilevel marketing as it has proved to be reliable and rewarding.
“This is not ponzi scheme or what people know as MMM. It is a business venture that has stood the test of time, and been putting smiles on the lips of families. It is a Nigerian thing, and deserves the attention and support to the government to take it to greater heights,” the CEO and COO said separately.
Healthgarde, a first class health multilevel marketing organization, in 2020 stood on its own, away from Swissgarde. In those four years, the brand has held a reward for excellence gathering where the year is reviewed, and members made to smile home with mouthwatering prizes.
Fidelity Bank Extends Employment Contract of Its CEO, Onyeali-Ikpe, by Two Years
Fidelity Bank Plc has announced its Board of Directors’ decision to extend the employment contract of its GMD/CEO, Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, from 2024 to 2026.
This was contained in the company’s notice to the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), according to Nairametrics.
The statement signed by Ezinwa Unuigboje, the Company Secretary noted that the decision was taken at the Board meeting on February 12, 2024.
It added that the extension is in furtherance of the Bank’s strategic objectives and premised on Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe’s sterling performance since the assumption of office on January 1, 2021.
The statement reads:
“Fidelity Bank Plc (the Bank) is pleased to announce its Board of Directors’ decision to extend the employment contract of its GMD/CEO, Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, from 2024 to 2026.
The decision was taken at the Board meeting on February 12, 2024. The extension is in furtherance of the Bank’s strategic objectives and premised on Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe’s sterling performance since assumption of office on January 1, 2021,”
The Board noted that it is confident that the Bank’s performance will continue its upward trajectory under Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe’s leadership, and looks forward to working closely with her and the Executive Management Team on execution of various strategic initiatives including international expansion.
Healthgarde ‘Star of Africa’ to Emerge at Lagos Convention
Wellness and multilevel marketing giant, Healthgarde International, is revving up for its 2024 convention this weekend in Lagos, Nigeria and plans to celebrate its high achieving sales heroes with pomp and pageantry.
Previewing highlights of the convention in a media statement issued February 14, the Chief Executive Officer, Healthgarde International, Nneka Nwarueze, said: “We will recognize and celebrate our top achievers whose commitment and sales drive continue to give our high quality health products the marketing edge.
“We will be crowning a new ‘Healthgarde Star of Africa’ as well as launch a new product that we are introducing to the market at the Lagos convention. At Healthgarde International, our goal is to maintain a thriving direct selling company developed in Africa by Africans for Africa. Our passion is to keep making a difference in people’s lives by creating wealth through sustained wellness” Nwarueze said.
South Africa-based Group Chief Operating Officer, Healthgarde International, Lovelyn Bassey, who arrived Wednesday ahead of the convention, reviewed Healthgarde’s 2023 business strides for health journalists, and said: “Our products have deepened the markets in a few more countries, including Botswana.
“We are also happy to report that quite a few Healthgarde consultants from Nigeria qualified and enjoyed a well deserved, all expenses paid five-star holiday to South Africa last year, while some others won impressive cash prizes. Our 2024 celebration of excellence this Saturday, February 17 will be very colourful and exciting too,” Bassey said.
Healthgarde Nigeria has an active base of over 12,000 distributors, and in Southern Africa, over 20,000 active distributors. Its business network and networth is spread across the United States, Nigeria, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Ghana, Uganda and Botswana, and is still growing.