Synod is an annual ritual in the Anglican Church world over, but seen as a wonderful accomplishment whenever a diocese successfully concludes its synod every year.
Ikeduru diocese is one of the dioceses in the Owerri Ecclesiastical Province of the Anglican Communion. Like all other dioceses in the province and country at large, the diocese organized its 2020 synod which kick-started on Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 October, 2020, at the St. James Anglican Church, Amuzu, Amaimo Archdeaconry, Ikeduru, Imo state with the theme: Centrality of the cross as the root of endurance.
The synod was described by the host bishop, his brother bishops and all participants as hugely successful in all ramification, impactful and soul lifting. From the physical point of view, a synod in a village parish which grand finale was televised live on African Independent Television (AIT) could be said to be nothing but successful. The terrestrial television station was said to have been attracted by a member of the Diocese, High Chief Dan Nwanyanwu.
Ikeduru Diocese is rich in personalities who make it thick and one of the outstanding dioceses in the Owerri Ecclesiastical Province. The diocese parades personalities like Chief E. C Iwuanyanwu, who is said to be the brain behind and the builder of the diocese. The likes of the legal luminary, D.C Denwigwe, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a force to reckon with in Nigerian judiciary and the world at large. The likes of Senator Samuel Anyanwu (Samdady), Ambassador Uche Ogbuagu, member representing Ikeduru in Imo State House of Assembly, High Chief Barr. Dan Nwanyanwu, to mention just a few.
Imo State Deputy Governor, though not an Anglican, but an illustrious son of Ikeduru graced the occasion with his presence and expressed overwhelming joy at the elucidation of the bishops address, saying he had never had a comprehensive history of the Anglican Church in Ikeduru, the way the bishop elucidated it in his address. He felt happy he attended the synod and was more enlightened by the bishop’s address.
The Diocese is also blessed with a personality of Clan Chief Chimezie Kingsley, (Ebubemba Ikeduru), an Australian based international business mogul and renowned philanthropist. The bishop in his foresight chose this reputable son of Ikeduru as the main launcher of his address. Ebubemba Ikeduru who is not based in Nigeria sent a high powered delegation led by James Kalu, the Manager of his company Deking Group of Companies and Patricia Nwoye, Director of Operations, News Echo Newspapers, a subsidiary of Deking Group of Companies. Ebubemba as usual did not disappoint, as he supported/launched the bishop’s address with a donation which drew an audacious ovation from the synod congregants.
Delivering the message of Ebubemba who is also a worthy Knight of Ikeduru Diocese, Patricia Nwoye said, “I would like to appreciate the honour given to Ebubemba Ikeduru as the main launcher of the bishop’s presidential address and to grace this year’s synod, 2020. “I pray that all deliberations made at this synod will yield abundant fruits. On behalf of Ebubemba Ikeduru, a donation of N2 million will be gifted to support this great occasion and launch the bishop’s address” the Ebubemba representative concluded.
One of the most prominent features of every synod in the Anglican Church is the Bishop’s address, otherwise known as the presidential address. As the bishop would later explain while fielding questions from newsmen, synod is a period of stock taking a period when the bishop, with other clergy and elected delegates come together to review activities of the outgoing year and make plans/projections for the coming year.
Bishop Maduwuike in his address during this year’s synod was as detailed, elaborate and audacious as ever. He touched on various areas concerning the church, society, politics and governance. He did not mince words in advising and making demands from government both at the federal and state levels. He commended government leaders in the areas he felt they have done well.
Speaking about Nigeria, the bishop said, “I will cherish our old national anthem, Nigeria we hail thee, our own dear native land. Though, tribe and tongue may defer, in brotherhood we stand. We changed it to arise oh compatriots, Nigeria call obey, then things fell apart and disintegrated. The centre couldn’t hold at all in the highest populated and endowed black race. The labours of our heroes, they sang, shall never be in vain, yet every day we see the labours of our heroes gradually being dismantled and destroyed. Should we now sing Nigeria we hail thee or we have failed thee? Things that held us together are now things that are tearing us apart.”
The bishop of Ikeduru Dioceses, condemned the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), which he said is subject to mischief and abuse, the National Water Resources Bill which he said President Muhammadu Buhari must have some inexplicable motive for pushing it at all costs, insecurity/insurgency in the country and incessant killings of a particular segment of Kaduna state, with security agencies not seen to have done much to curtail the occurrences, even when they get prior notice of planned attacks. He also added the voice of the diocese to the call for the restructuring of Nigeria, and agreed with the General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adegboye that restructuring is the only panacea to prevent the disintegration of Nigeria.
On Imo State, he commended Governor Uzodimma on his move to rehabilitate roads in the state and build new ones. On the free buses he provided for Imo civil servants, he however said, “The heart of every Ikeduru man and woman was gladdened when we heard over the radio that plans were on the way for the signing of contract with Julius Berger for the construction of Owerri Okigwe Road, which passes through Ikeduru. Our beloved governor, we want to thank you, but remind you that any promise made to a little child is not forgotten easily”.
The bishop took it personal and went down memory lane to give detailed a history of St James Church in particular and the diocese in general, where he described St. James as one of the first churches in Ikeduru.
Opining that Governor Hope Uzodimma was known for capacity building before he became the governor, he reminded him that salaries and pensions of workers should be the first priority of any government and advised him to quickly resolve the disparity in salary payment. He made it clear that what citizens needed from the government is good roads, electricity, security of lives and property and regular payment of salaries and pensions. He wondered why government leaders find it difficult to fulfill these basic requirements of their offices.
“Why do most Nigerian politicians exhibit wickedness by withholding the basic needs of the masses”. He appreciated Governor Hope Uzodimma for choosing their son Prof Placid Njoku as his running mate/deputy, supporting their son Uche Ogbuagu to become the majority leader of Imo House of Assembly and appointing their sons and daughters into prominent positions in his administration. He however pleaded that the positions should be made to rob off positively in all round development of the area.
Other areas discussed by the bishop in his address, included; News from the diocese which highlighted activities embarked upon by the women organization including projects embarked upon by them. The diocesan council of knights, Anglican Christian Fathers Fellowship and Anglican Men’s Fellowship (ACFF/AMF), the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion (AEFAC) in the diocese, the Anglican Youth Fellowship (AYF), the Directorate of Mission and Evangelism, the Bishop’s Care and Charity Mission, the Diocesan 10th year anniversary.
Others included the joys/successes of the diocese during the year under review. Their sorrows/losses, news from Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, news about the Eastern joint Episcopal council of the church of Nigeria, Church of Nigeria matters, news about election and consecration of new bishops, news about the global Anglican communion, education services of the diocese, among other matters that attracted expatiation in the Bishop’s address.
The bishop, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chigozie Maduwuike took time to also expantiate on the theme of the synod, giving insight into the significance of the Cross in the Anglican Church in particular and Christianity in general. The synod attracted an array of bishops from within Owerri Ecclesiastical Province of the Anglican Communion and beyond. They included; Rt. Rev Henry Okeke, Bishop of Ideato Diocese, Rt. Rev. Dr. Edward Osuegbu, Bishop of Okigwe Diocese, Rt. Rev. Geoffrey Okorafor, Bishop of Egbu Diocese.
Others included; Rt. Rev. Geoffrey Chukwunenye, Bishop of Oru Diocese, Rt. Rev Dr Owen Nwokolo, represented by Ven. Dr Igwebueze Ihemtuge, among others.