NIGERIA AT 50: 50 POST-INDEPENDENCE THEOLOGIANS WORTH CELEBRATING

As Nigeria celebrates its 50th independence anniversary today October 1, 2010; I thought it would be wise for me as a budding scholar to highlight few of our Christian Theologians who have help shaped the way theology is done in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. These scholars have made giant strides in their respective areas of specialization. It is therefore important according to Chuckwudi Anthony Njoku “for us to pay tribute to them for putting the name of Nigeria on the international scene as a result of their great works.” (Chuckwudi Anthony Njoku, Religion, History and Politics In Nigeria: Essay in Honor of Ogbu Kalu. Edited by Ogbu Kalu et al.; Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 154-5). Njoku adds that Nigerian Theologians both home and in the diaspora have contributed in varying to the development of theological enterprise in Nigeria; and the economic and  socio-political condition of the country must have must have being a catalyst” (Ibid).  This is why it is very appropriate for us to say something brief about them at such a time as this with the aim of encouraging the up coming generation of young people. The list includes names of theoreticians and practitioners. I am however aware that Nigeria is blessed with several outstanding theologians and as such the list below is not exhaustive in any way. Note also that I have not listed them hierarchically. The list is therefore based on my personal opinion and I take responsibility for that. At this time that some Nigerians are reflecting on whether there is a reason to celebrate, may I call your attention to the fact that the men and women below are worth our celebration:

  • +Prof. Bolaji Idowu. No serious scholarly work can be done on Africa in the fields of Africa Tradition Religion(s), Theology, Religious Studies, Sociology, Literature, Yoruba Language, Culture, Missions and History without a reference to the massive scholarly contributions of  Bolaji Idowu. He is undoubtedly one of the most cited Africans of out time. In spite of the fact that he is no more around with us, his works continues  to be a force to reckoned with in the world of scholarship today. More…
  • +Dr. Byang Kato (ThD Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary). According to HighBeam research, “almost thirty years since his premature death cut short an outstandingly promising ministry, Byang Kato’s contribution to the growth of African evangelical Christianity remains unique. His book Theological Pitfalls in Africa, translated into French as Pieges theologiques en Afrique, still provokes comment and controversy, as it has done since its publication in 1975. In recent years the Africa Journal of Evangelical Theology has published accounts of his life and work by Christina fireman (1996) and Yusufu Turaki (2001). The Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology named its chapel after him, as did the Faculte de Theologie Evangelique de Bangui its library, appropriate recognition of his role in the foundation of both institutions. The idea that he was “the founding father of modern African evangelical theology” is no exaggeration, readily justified by an appraisal of recent African church history.” More…
  • Prof. Osadolor Imasogie is no doubt one of the fathers of modern Evangelical Theology. His work, Guidelines for Christian Theology in Africa remains one of the fundamental books for anyone who seeks to know how to do theology that will matter in Africa and to Africans. Wikipedia describes Imasogie as “the first Nigerian president (now President Emeritus) of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, Nigeria; former Vice-President of the Baptist World Alliance.” His biography can be found in Who’s Who in Africa, Who’s Who in Commonwealth and International Book of Honor among several others.
  • Cardinal Dr. Franscise Arinze. According to David Loyn  of the BBC, “in the history of the Church, there cannot have been many candidates for the papacy who come from as poor a background as Francis Arinze – certainly none who have traveled so far, either in distance or in the journey of their faith.” Suolair reports that he was of the few and the first African that was shortlisted to succeed Pope John Paul II. Arinze is undoubtedly one the great men and women who have put the name of Nigeria into a global limelight for the right purpose. More…
  • Prof. Cornelius Olowola (ThD Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary). Professor Emeritus of Theology and African Traditional Religion. Also former Provost ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja, Nigeria; and the immediate past President of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA, formerly Evangelical Church of West Africa and Sudan Interior Mission, SIM respectively) with its headquarters Jos, Nigeria. More…
  • Prof. Oyin Abogunrin (PhD, University of Ibadan). He is Professor Emeritus of New Testament in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ibadan. Abogunrin has published extensively both locally and international. He is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant New Testament scholars on the continent of Africa. He was for several years the leader of the Nigerian Association for Biblical Studies. More…
  • +Prof. Ade Dopamu (PhD Religious Studies, University of Ibadan)
  • +Dr. Tokunboh Adeyemo (PhD Theology and PhD Philosophy at Dallas Theological Seminary and University of Aberdeen respectively). He was for 22 year the General Secretary of the Association for Evangelicals in Africa (AEA) and the Chancellor of the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology. More…
  • +Prof Ogbu U. Kalu (PhD,University of Toronto). According to Kevin L. Howard, “Kalu was the Henry Winters Luce Professor of World Christianity at McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago.  He published 18 books and over 180 articles in journals and as book chapters.” In the words of C.R. Clarke, ” Kalu has been at the forefront of scholarly research in African Christianity for almost thirty years and was probably the most accomplished Christian scholar in North America” ( Clarke, Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, Vol. 32; No 1; 2010, 108). More…
  • Prof. J.A. Ilori (PhD, North Texas State University Denton, Texas). He has published extensively in the areas of Foundations of Education, Methodology Foundations of Education and Educational Research Methodology. He was several years a teacher at the famous Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria and a former President of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary.
  • Prof. Omosade Awolalu. He was at the Department of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan in Nigeria for many years, and is the author of books and articles on African religious traditions, and particularly those of the Yoruba people.
  • Arch. Bishop Peter Akinola is the retired Primate of Nigerian Anglican Communion. Besides being a brilliant theologian, Akinola is socio-political analyst that has the admiration of Nigerians. More…
  • Archbishop Sunday Coffie Mbang was the fourth indigenous leader of the Methodist Church Nigeria. More…
  • Prof. Jacob K. Olupona (PhD, Boston University). Olupona is a Professor of African Religious Traditions, with a joint appointment as Professor of African and African-American Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Harvard. More…
  • Prof. Yusufu Turaki (PhD, Boston University). He is a Professor of Theology and Social Ethics at the Jos ECWA Theological Seminary (JETS) and Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion, Church and Society (CRCS). He holds a Ph.D. in Social Ethics from Boston University, and a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Yale Divinity School. He was the General Secretary of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA), is a former National Vice-President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and worked with the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA) and the International Bible Society (IBS) in Nigeria and Kenya (Yusufu Turaki, Tainted Legacy. Nigeria, 2010, Back Cover)
  • Prof. N. Y. Nabofa (PhD, University of Ibadan). He is a Professor of Religious Studies with specialization in African Traditional Religion in the Department of Religious Studies of the University of Ibadan. More…
  • Prof. (Fr.) Justin S. Ukpong is a Professor of New Testament, Formerly of Catholic Institute of West Africa, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Currently the Vice-Chancellor, Veritas (The Catholic) University of Nigeria, Abuja.
  • Prof. Yusuf Obaje (PhD, University of Edinburgh). He was the former President of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary and the former Chaplain of Aso Rock- the home and office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
  • Dr. Ademola Ishola is currently the General Secretary of the Nigerian Baptist Convention. More…
  • Prof. Matthews Ojo (PhD, University of London) Professor of Church History in the Department of Religious Studies at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. An excellent scholar and writer whose work is enjoying wide readership in Nigeria, Africa and world over.
  • Prof. Ukachuckwu Chris Manus (PhD, KU Leuven, Belgium), is a Professor of African Christian Theology at the Department of Religious Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He is the author of Christ, the African King: New Testament Christology, (Frankfurt/Main, Peter Lang, 1993) and Intercultural Hermeneutics: Methods and Approaches, (Nairobi, Acton Publishers, 2003). Professor Manus has published extensively in his field in many national and international journals. He is currently engaged in orientating his research on gender, sexuality and theological education in the context of HIV and AIDS in Africa (Manus, Nordic Journal of African Studies 16[2]: 244–260 [2007], 280).
  • Prof. David Tuesday Adamo (Doctor of Religion and PhD in Biblical Studies at the University of Baylor). Adamo is an outstanding Professor of Old Testament and currently, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Kogi State, Nigeria. “Adamo’s is an international scholar who has published scholarly articles in every continent of the world” (Adamo, 2005, Back page).
  • Prof. J.O. Akao (PhD, University of Glasgow). He is a distinguished Professor of Old Testament with high international repute. He was for many years a teacher in Biblical Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ibadan. Currently, he is currently the Bishop of Sabongidda-Ora Diocese of the Nigerian Anglican Communion. More…
  • Prof. Victor Cole (PhD,Michigan State University). He is a Professor of Educational Studies and currently Head of the Department of Educational Studies at the School of Professional Studies (SPS), a constituent school of Africa International University, Nairobi, Kenya. Cole was formerly a Curriculum Consultant for African Leadership and Management Academy in Zimbabwe. He was also the former Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, Nairobi, Kenya (Adeyemo: 2006, xiv). Cole is a brilliant and a widely traveled scholar whose expertise is in high demand globally. More…
  • Anthony Olubunmi Cardinal Okogie
  • Prof. Dzurgba, Akpenpuun is a Professor of Religious Studies and the Head of the Religious Studies Department of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. More…
  • Rev. Fr. Dr. Matthew Kukah (PhD, University of London). According to Word Forum, Matthew Hassan Kukah is a Catholic Reverend Father and Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat in Nigeria. In May of 1999, father Kukah was appointed by Nigerian President Obasanjo to the Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission to investigate the human rights abuses of past military regimes. Father Kukah is a rigorous scholar and respected commentator on such issues as religion, ethnicity, civil/military relations, and human rights. He is a prolific writer and has authored a number of books on these issues, including the critically acclaimed work, Religion and Politics in Northern Nigeria Since Independence.
  • Rt. Rev. Dr. John Olorunfemi Eniayekan is currently the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). More…
  • Prof. Raphael A. Akanmidu (PhD, University of Birmingham). He is a Professor of Philosophy of Religion in the Department of Religious Studies, University of Ilorin, Nigeria. Akanmidu’s scholarship is enjoying wide readership locally and internationally.
  • Dr. Gideon A. O. Oshitelu (PhD, University of Ibadan). He is a Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Christian Theology at the University of Ibadan. He has published extensively both locally and internationally in the areas of Philosophy of Religions, Church History and Systematic Theology.
  • Dr. Afe Adogame (PhD in History of Religions Bayreuth University). He teaches Religious Studies and World Christianity at the Divinity School of the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. More…
  • Prof. M.F. Akangbe (PhD, University of Ibadan). Akangbe is a distinguished Professor of New Testament in the Department of Biblical Studies at United Missionary Church of Africa Theological Seminary. He was formerly the Provost of the College.
  • Prof. Deji Aiyebgoyin (PhD, University of Ibadan). Aiyegboyin is a brilliant Professor of Church History and Christian Theology in the Department of Religious Studies of the University of Ibadan. He is currently the President of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, Nigeria. More…
  • Dr. J. B. Lawal (PhD, Trinity International University). Lawal is the charismatic leader of ECWA Theological Seminary Igbaja where he also teaches Christian Ethics and Apologetics.
  • Dr. Pandang Yamsat (PhD, University of Aberdeen) was formerly the Provost of Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN) where he teaches the New Testament. He is currently the President of Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN).
  • Prof. Samuel Waje Kunhiyop (PhD, Trinity International University). Samuel Waje Kunhiyop is Head of the Postgraduate School, South African Theological Seminary. He was previously the Provost and Professor of Theology and Ethics at Jos ECWA Theological Seminary (JETS). More…
  • Prof. Kore Danfulani (PhD, North Texas State University). He is a Professor of Biblical Counseling and  Education at ECWA Theological Seminary, Jos, Nigeria. More…
  • Prof. Dapo Asaju is a professor of religion at the Lagos State University, Nigeria. More…
  • Dr. Akintunde E. Akinade (PhD, Union Theological Seminary). Akinade is a Professor of  Theology and World Christianity in the Department of Theology at Georgetown University. More…
  • Dr. Dorcas O. Akintunde
  • Dr. Eunice Oluseun Abogunrin (PhD, Trinity International University). She is an Adjunct Professor of Theology at ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja, Nigeria.
  • Dr. Caleb O. Ogunkunle (PhD, University of Ibadan). Ogunkunle teaches Old Testament and Christian Theology in the Department of Religious Studies of the University of Ilorin. More…
  • Dr. Tersur Aben (PhD, Calvin Theological Seminary). He is a distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology and the Provost of the Theological College of Northern Nigeria, Bukuru-Jos, Nigeria.
  • Dr. Olufemi I. Adeyemi (PhD, New Testament, Dallas Theological Seminary). He teaches New Testament at Liberty University, USA.
  • Dr. Richardson Ade Oyediran (PhD, New Testament Dallas Theological Seminary). He is an Adjunct Professor of New Testament and Theology at ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja and the Deputy General Overseer of Salem Gospel Church, Ibadan, Nigeria. More…
  • +Dr. T.B. Ogunrinu (ThD Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary) was an outstanding Professor of Systematic Theology at the UMCA Theological College, Ilorin and ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja, Nigeria before he passed on.
  • Dr. Bulus Galadima (PhD, Trinity International University). He is an Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Philosophy,and  Historical Theology at ECWA Theological Seminary, Jos, Nigeria. More…
  • Dr. Samuel Peni Ango (PhD in religious education at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, Nigeria). He teaches Theology and Christian Education at UMCA Theological College, Ilorin, Nigeria. He was the immediate past Provost of the same institution. More…
  • Dr. Lasisi, Lawrence Adeniyi
  • Dr. Zacchaeus  O. Apata teaches New Testament Greek at ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja and now the Chaplain of the University Chapel of  Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
  • Dr. Olusegun Noah Olawoyin (PhD, University of Ibadan) teaches Philosophy of Religion at the University of Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria.

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+= Rest in Peace